Movie Review: ‘The Fate of the Furious’


Here we are. The culmination of my weekend long Fast and Furious marathon reviewing session. The eight and…latest…chapter of the franchise made for quite the bombastic premiere in our wee city. And here’s how the film went…

Director: F. Gary Gray

Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Chris Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood, Kurt Russell, Helen Mirren

Plot: When Toretto switches teams and starts collecting up EMPs and nuclear launch codes for cyberterrorists it’s up to his old crew to bring him down.

Review: Holy cow. It actually is about family. Toretto (Diesel) is always going on and on and on about family but it’s never felt like it was about family. This one is. It took eight films but they have managed to base the story about the one thing they keep banging on about. 

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“Family”

This is without a doubt the most ridiculous movie in the series. It is so dumb, from Toretto bringing hope to people of Cuba through street racing to Toretto soaring through the sky to save his ‘family’ immediately after they say “we need to start praying”. Wait…did Vin Diesel just make himself into the Messiah?

Yes. He did.

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“You’re welcome.”

Seriously though, this movie has some really bananas moments. The stand out is Toretto driving his car into a military base and detonating the world’s most powerful EMP…whilst driving his car. Which doesn’t stop. It continues unaffected. How did they miss that? The movie is packed full of this kind of nonsense. They know their audience is on board for any madness, they can roll with it. 

Then we have the big betrayal sub-plot. As you would know from the trailer, Toretto has switched sides and we don’t know why or if it’s legit. Actually, that’s horseshit. We know from the beginning that he’s being blackmailed. It’s not a twist or anything more than a wasted opportunity. How he’s being blackmailed is left open until about an hour in, but why couldn’t they have cut out his meeting with the bad guy and make it unclear as to whether or not Toretto has really switched. Cyperterrorist villain ‘Cypher’ (because we miss the 90s), played by Theron, is a real Bond baddie. She spouts pseudo-philosophy and has plenty of gadgets, plus a Watchdogs attitude towards hacking. She’s fun but never quite feels like the threat Shaw was.

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She’ll be “Family” in the next film.

Speaking of Shaw (Statham), he’s been absorbed into the ‘family’ just like every other character they meet. Scott Eastwood joins the cast as Lil’ Nobody, Mr. Nobody’s (Russell) trainee and whipping boy to the rest of the crew. There’s a few other cameos who provide a bit of extra fun, and fans of the series will enjoy them popping up.

Director Gray recognises what makes these films work, and that’s the imaginative ensemble of characters. They get put front and centre, getting fleshed out a tiny bit more than usual and there’s more comedy than usual. Hobbs (Johnson) gets some of the best scenes, possibly part of the set up for his spin-off.

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Take Statham with you.

What held the seventh film back was its inability to create an action sequence as imaginative and memorable as the vault or plane sequences from the 5th and 6th movies. This is not a problem in The Fate of the Furious. We have hundreds of zombie cars being remote controlled through New York, we have Statham single-handedly working his way through a plane full of elite mercenaries and we have tanks battling submarines on the ice. It’s pretty damned awesome. 

Like Kong: Skull Island the level of adventure and action on display does outweigh the many, many problems with the story. If you want a skill-fully written and thought provoking movie, go see something else. If you want to see The Rock taking on a live torpedo with his bare hands, go see this.

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN

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