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The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious (2017) movie poster The Fate of the Furious

Theatrical Release: April 14, 2017 / Running Time: 136 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: F. Gary Gray / Writers: Chris Morgan (screenplay); Gary Scott Thompson (characters)

Cast: Vin Diesel (Dom Toretto), Dwayne Johnson (Luke Hobbs), Jason Statham (Deckard Shaw), Michelle Rodriguez (Letty Ortiz), Tyrese Gibson (Roman Pearce), Chris "Ludacris" Bridges (Tej Parker), Kurt Russell (Mr. Nobody), Charlize Theron (Cipher), Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsey), Luke Evans (Owen), Elsa Pataky (Elena Neves), Kristofer Hivju (Rhodes), Scott Eastwood (Little Nobody), Patrick St. Espirit (DS Allan), Janmarco Santiago (Fernando), Luke Hawx (Miller), Helen Mirren (Magdalene Shaw - uncredited)


The enduring success of the Fast and the Furious series doesn't at all align with what we know about movie franchises
and audience interest levels. The line appeared to be done after 2006's threequel The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift introduced all new cast members and disappointed commercially. Then, it returned with 2009's Fast and Furious, an original cast-reuniting sequel which ignored any prevalent wisdom in movie titling. It was a bigger hit than the first two installments.

Since then, the movies have only gotten even bigger. 2011's Fast Five crossed the $200 million domestic and $600 M worldwide marks. Two years later, Fast & Furious 6 showed further growth. Then, 2015's Furious 7 grossed over $350 M in North America and a staggering $1.5 billion worldwide. Only three movies had ever made that much money before: The Avengers and James Cameron's Titanic and Avatar.

What began as just a summer attraction about car racing has evolved into something of a cinematic universe onto itself. The most recent sequel's numbers are among the biggest of all time and Universal has plans to release a new one every other April. You can't fault them from a business perspective. The robust returns indicate that there is enough global demand to support the steady supply indefinitely.

The saga was obviously not going to die with Paul Walker. The Fate of the Furious, the eighth episode in this interminable enterprise, is the first one without the actor since Tokyo Drift, but, though it sounds disrespectful, there's truly enough going on here that you barely notice he's gone.

In "The Fate of the Furious", Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) goes rogue and teams up with the cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron).

We open in Havana, where looking out for his cousin gets Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) into a street race against the local legend with his cousin's junker. Is there any doubt who will win, even if his heap is falling apart, engulfed in flames, and driving in reverse for the final stretch? The newlywed Dom seems happy with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), as they shoot loving looks towards one another and start talking about having kids together.

But soon, Dom crosses paths with a cyberterrorist known as the Cipher (Charlize Theron, sporting some punky thin braids). She demands his services and soon he is going rogue to set up his friend, federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), in Berlin before disappearing. Hobbs is sentenced to a high security prison (quick legal system), where a breakout occurs. Reluctantly, he and the rest of the Fast and Furious Crew -- tough Letty, tech guy Tej (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges), comic relief Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and British hacker/eye candy Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) -- are teaming up with Furious 7 nemesis Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and doing the bidding of covert agent Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell, also returning) and his young protégé, unflatteringly nicknamed Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) by the crew.

Our crew goes looking for rogue Dom and Cipher and after a tense encounter or two (one in New York, where nuclear security codes are lifted from a Russian official), the action shifts over to icy Russia, where World War III seems about to break out at a secret hijacked naval base as tanks and a nuclear submarine take chase after our heroes.

Dom's actions upset and bewilder his Fast and Furious family (Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Dwayne Johnson, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Michelle Rodriguez) and their new covert agent contact "Little Nobody" (Scott Eastwood).

I can't pretend I've been with this franchise from the start or seen even most of the seven previous movies.
Back when it began, I was still seeing movies strictly for leisure and car racing action has never interested me. But the films have ascended to respectability, despite the fact that the series is old and established enough that it seemingly doesn't have to try to attract moviegoers.

Fate of the Furious isn't great cinema, but nor is it trash. The acting and dialogue remain clunky. Diesel is no better a thespian now than he was when the series began back in 2001. He and his co-stars deliver hackneyed taunts, clichéd philosophies about their family, and transparent exposition. But as always, the film is more about the action than about the people carrying it out. Though racing is something primarily paid service to in an opening scene, action is still in abundance and much of it the automotive variety. Once again, that action is impressively staged with an agreeable mix of practical effects and tasteful CGI. There's that climax on the ice, the chaotic prison break where fists and rubber bullets fly, a shootout on a plane involving a baby wearing noise-cancelling headphones, and the big New York set piece where Dom faces off against his former (?) crew.

While Chris Morgan, the series' only credited writer since the well-received 2009 revival, returns, F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton, The Italian Job) takes over directing duties, following in the footsteps of Justin Lin and James Wan. Gray might be the reason why Academy Award winner Theron takes over villain duties here. An eighth installment of a car racing franchise ordinarily might be a step backwards for a director whose last film was on the fringe of Best Picture contention. But there is no shame to be found here, not when the likes of Helen Mirren can pop up and someone like Kurt Russell comes back for seconds.

Fate is not graceful, sophisticated, or particularly complex. But it overcomes an off-putting first act to find its groove as a competent, reasonably involving, mostly mindless action movie. It will make a bajillion dollars, narrowly appease critics, mostly satisfy the fan base that inexplicably has not outgrown it, and tide them over until the next one comes two Aprils from now and hopefully does the same.

Related Reviews:
Fast & Furious 6
Now in Theaters: Ghost in the ShellGoing in StyleKong: Skull IslandBeauty and the BeastGet Out
Directed by F. Gary Gray: Straight Outta Compton
Dwayne Johnson: Central IntelligenceFasterPain & Gain
Vin Diesel: Guardians of the GalaxyThe Pacifier | Jason Statham: The Mechanic

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Reviewed April 14, 2017.

Text copyright 2017 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2017 Universal Pictures, Original Film, One Race Films Productions.
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