Film Review – The Fate of the Furious (2017)
The Fast and the Furious franchise continues to defy expectations as it continues to roll out new chapters. The newest installment, The Fate of the Furious, has hit theaters looking to break the bank once again. But is the film stupid fun like it tries to be or is it just plain stupid? The following The Fate of the Furious review will be spoiler free.
The Fate of the Furious is directed by F. Gary Gray and stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vin Diesel, and Charlize Theron among many other stars and Fast and Furious regulars. The film follows the team as they take on a new foe, Cipher (Theron), who may be their toughest opponent yet. Filled with the void of no longer having Bryan O’Connor around, the team struggles as Dom (Diesel) has inexplicably turned against them all to fight alongside Cipher. In order to take down the two of them, Hobbs, Letty, and everyone else must ban together with the help of a familiar foe.
The previous seven installments of the Fast and Furious franchise have been a mixed bag to say the least. You can click here to view my rankings of every Fast and Furious movie. While there has certainly been some fun moments, each of the films, in my personal opinion, fail to create a totally immersive feel.
Then I heard the director, F. Gary Gray, say that The Fate of the Furious was going to reach new emotional levels, showing a different side of many of the characters. But what does that mean exactly? Was Vin Diesel going to possibly smile for once? Or was Tyrese Gibson going to go for the Oscar for best supporting actor? Talk of “emotional levels” in a Fast and Furious movie makes me nervous because all I want to see is cars do crazy stunts that defy the laws of physics. This franchise should never try to be more than just a fun escape.
What I Liked
There’s certainly a lot to enjoy in The Fate of the Furious. This franchise has slowly transitioned away from Vin Diesel as the lead to The Rock, which is a very welcomed changed. The Rock has so much charisma that he makes any ridiculous line of dialogue or moment in the film very, very fun. What sets him apart from other massive, hulking individuals is that he commits fully to his roles. In The Fate of the Furious, you can see The Rock sweating with enthusiasm as he beats baddies into submission while spouting one-liners that are only rivaled by the best of 80’s action stars.
The Rock all but confirmed a week ago that his character, Luke Hobbs, was going to get a spin-off film at the premiere of The Fate of the Furious. If this is true, The Fast and the Furious bodes incredibly well for an insane popcorn action flick forthcoming.
The fun continued with the help of Jason Statham reprising his role as Deckard Shaw. He understands the the type of silliness and cheese that a Fast and Furious movie needs. If he and The Rock were to go on there own mission in a buddy cop film together, it might be exactly the movie that Fast fans want. There’s a few moments in this film that rank among Statham’s best in film. The film improves significantly every time he is on screen.
What I Didn’t Like
Many people seem to like him, but I just don’t understand the admiration for Vin Diesel. He takes these films so seriously that it ruins the fun, schlocky tone set up by cars flying all over the screen. Showing zero charisma, The Fate of the Furious takes a serious dip in entertainment quality whenever he’s on screen. Would it kill you to project your lines more, Vin?
Moreover, Tyrese Gibson has been pegged as the quippy sidekick that is the brunt of many jokes from the rest of the team. However, this idea is only okay if this relationship leads to a lot of laughs. But Gibson tries so hard to get a laugh that it all just comes off as unfunny and downright annoying. Can I go a five minutes without you yelling, Tyrese?
What I Didn’t Like…Continued
The Fate of the Furious has a serious tonal issue as well. It goes hard for the over the top fun (and succeeds mightily) but then has super dark moments that just don’t work for this type of movie. Having cars fly out of buildings contrasted with serious family drama just doesn’t work when put together. The eighth installment of this franchise feels like a two completely different movies that don’t fit well when put together. Like I alluded to earlier, I don’t want hard-hitting drama in a movie that has people driving cars that are on fire.
We all know that this franchise has been based on family. The franchise certainly lost a big part of its heart when Paul Walker tragically past away. But what many people liked about Furious 7 is that it gracefully paid tribute to him while also telling a fun story. However, The Fate of the Furious is so blatantly trying to replace him with a new character to the team that I was pretty close to being offended. How can a franchise that is primarily based on familial ties just toss aside it’s central character like a rag doll?
What I Liked…Continued
That being said, there’s too many positives in this movie to ignore. Not only does this film have quite possibly the best villain in the franchise so far, it shifts to more of the excess that we all love. When the film tries to be big and stupid, it pulls it off with tremendous success. It had me cackling in the theater at points. Although there’s an overabundance of shaky cam at times, the action certainly makes up for a lot of the film’s faults. The best moment of the film involves Jason Statham in a plane, and I’ll leave it at that.
There’s definitely some fatal flaws in The Fate of the Furious, but this absurd movie has too much goodness to ignore. This gigantic B-movie gets a B-. If you are a fan of the franchise, you’ll probably have some fun with this movie.
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