Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast
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The Fast and The Furious franchiseÂ transformed itself from from films known for cheesy car chases, towards a mega franchise in a few years. But can it still stay afloat after so many instalments? Find out, as our Film Critic Jordan Samuel straps on his seatbelt for one last ride.
Film Review: The Fate of the Furious
Now that Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon and Brian and Mia have retired from the game-and the rest of the crew has been exonerated-the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of crime he can’t seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before. From the shores of Cuba and the streets of New York City to the icy plains off the arctic Barents Sea, the elite force will crisscross the globe to stop an anarchist from unleashing chaos on the world’s stage… and to bring home the man who made them a family.
I’ve been interested in The Fast and the Furious franchise for over the last 15 years, since it began with a little movie titled The Fast and The FuriousÂ back in 2001. It charmed people with performances by now superstar actors Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker, as they raced in some fast cars for DVD players. While it wasn’t a great movie, it built the universe going forward. From there, it was a bumpy road, as sequels 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Tokyo Drift (2006) and Fast & Furious (2009) all lacked some much-needed heart, but all was not lost for the series. The near-dead franchise was reborn with Fast Five (2011);Â which threw away all the baggage of the previous disappointments and gave us a proper heist film.
It was the drastic change needed for The Fast and Furious family to push away their troubled and tired roots, leading towards an eventual whopping $1.516 billion gross with Furious 7 (2015). This was, in part, due to the catastrophic death of Paul Walker (Brian O’Connor) during production; causing heartbreak for people around the globe.
2017 brings us the first ever movie in the series without Walker titled The Fate of the Furious, but does it fire up the right engines?
Being a new direction for the series, Fate of the Furious does many things right, with some of the best action set pieces and character development yet. But ultimately, the film loses any of the emotional interest seen in prior movies, as well as the grit found in previous endeavours.
Gary Gary (Straight Outta Compton) directs the film with a large emphasis on stylized action; packing in some memorable sequences. This movie just lacks the charm seen with previous Director Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond). Vin Diesel and his co-stars are all having fun in their roles, highlighted by some playful banter on screen. The Fate of the FuriousÂ might not top the previous films in charm, but F. Gary Gary takes us back to series basics with more car chases than most fans will be able to handle. The plot just fails in giving us a sensible storyline for the team to rally around.
While the script isn’t awful, Fate of the FuriousÂ suffers from Spectre (2015)Â syndrome, relying heavily on previous adventures in the universe, with the result that this episode lacks the needed gravitas.
Vin Diesel is Dominic Toretto, the bold former criminal and street racer who turns against his family after the villainous Cipher coerces him. Diesel has his work cut out in this instalment, as he’s alone for most of the run time: showcasing the dangerous side of his character. While not being his greatest performance, Diesel provides some heart-pumping action sequences and decent amounts of intrigue with Dom’s changed outlook. His role might be tired at this point, but without a doubt, I had fun with Vin Diesel’s portrayal.
The Fast Family (Michele Rodriguez, Chris Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Nathalie Emmanuel) returns and provide performances of varying quality. Â I’ve always enjoyed these actors in previous instalments, but did not feel any of their motivation in stopping Toretto from going rogue.
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) is Cipher, a criminal mastermind who coerces Dominic into going against his family. Theron turns in a solid performance, topping every villain in the franchise so far. I appreciated her stern and dark take on her character. Cipher is the most fleshed-out villain in franchise history, providing some solid sequences with the crew. A good choice by F. Gary Gary in bringing some fresh faces into the series.
I had issues with how Cipher was revealed, as it felt rather generic as the Spectre syndrome is infused into the backstory. Everything is heavily reliant on prior knowledge of the series, as Cipher references prior events with Dominicâs globetrotting crime family.
Like many of these films, The Fate of the Furious,Â can seem overly whacky at times, with plot points that are simply over-the-top.
Writers Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson, attempt to turn Dom into the main antagonist, but they fail in giving a sensible reason for the turn. Character motivations are weak, as they lack the sense of intrigue seen in the prior titles. The big reveals comes across painfully mediocre, as confusing ideas bog down despite the great action. It also all takes away the semblances of realism that are usually needed for maximum impact.
The Fate of the Furious features some pulse-pumping action, which – in the end – was perhaps what these movies were always going to be remembered for. IMAX 3D makes the car chases pop on screen with cinematography being well done as well. The PG-13 rating does dampen the close-combat sequences, limiting the outstanding prison scenes shown in the trailers.
The Fate of the FuriousÂ is a good addition to the 15-year-old franchise, pitting all the team against each other. Even with all of the deficiencies, this is certainly the first big summer action flick of 2017.
The Fate of the Furious (2017) is a good addition to the 15-year-old franchise, pitting all the team against each other. Its the first big summer action flick of 2017