The Fate Of The Furious
Yeah, we're up to number eight of these Fast and Furious films now. By this stage the Saw franchise has gone 3D, Police Academy has given up and Jason Voorhees has decided to take on Manhattan. Well, the Fast crew are going to take on New York and their own leader as -- if you haven't watched any promotional material -- Dom, the leader, family man, freshly married and seemingly semi-retired from his old lifestyle is going bad. Dominic Toretto has gone rogue.
I really needed the betrayal of Dom to make sense as well, or I simply wouldn't have been able to buy into this latest FF film at all and luckily, it works. In fact, it's a great plot point and the reveal offers up one of the darkest scenes in the entire franchise. The reveal of why Dom betrays his friends (family) and leaves them to work for the new bad guy on the block and hacker extraordinaire, Cipher (Charlize Theron), is a fantastic scene. Vin Diesel gives a great performance, Theron is truly menacing and it's a great character scene for everyone involved. It's a pity the rest of the script or the story isn't as new or interesting as where this one scene goes for the FF franchise.
The returning cast minus Jordana Brewster and the late Paul Walker are all great, of course. At this stage, the crew really have the formula for the fun back and forth banter and action scenes down-packed. Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs gets a lot more screen time compared to his mostly hospital-ridden self from Fast 7; a prison riot scene where Hobbs is clobbering people like flies is one of the highlights of the movie. That scene features also Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw returning from the previous film where Hobbs locked him up. Statham in The Fate of the Furious is the biggest doubled edged sword the franchise has ever received.
In case you don't recall the events of the previous movie, let me remind you. The filmmakers retconned Tokyo Drift so that Han's death that seemed like a mere accident, now caused by Deckard Shaw bowling him over. Jason Statham killed one of the franchise's best characters, a loved member of the FF Family and that, of course, helped fuel Dom's hate to bring Deckard down. Deckard, in this film, however, is almost lovable. Shockingly. In fact, Statham has one of the best scenes of the movie and it's just him being super cool and kicking ass. I was loving it! But then I remembered this guy killed Han! Blew up Dom's family house and a plethora of other things. The worst of it is that Statham and Johnson have such good chemistry together you wanna see more of them, which makes rumors of a spin-off starring these two and their characters all the more plausible. But I digress.
Where the reveal scene of why Dom betrayed his family makes me really happy to the respect given to that character and us the fans, the almost no questioned acceptance of Deckard is a kick in the face to fans and honestly, to the characters.
Set pieces, specifically the last one, in Fate of the Furious seems like something from a Bond film. Flying across the ice getting shot at and oh yeah! There's a tank. But of course it's a lot of fun and even though it seems redundant to point out at number 8 -- if you're over thinking the believability of someone being able to move a rocket across the ice with his hands while hanging out a car, this isn't the franchise for you.
F. Gary Grey the director of Straight Outta Compton took the reigns this time and while it feels like a Fast film, it films like someone afraid to do anything different. Where James Wan added his definitive flair with the previous entry, The Fate of the Furious has the blandest feeling to the franchise since 2 Fast 2 Furious and that's not a good thing.
Even with my complaints, I did enjoy Fate and I think fans of the franchise will as well.
At eight films in, this franchise still has a lot of fun left in it thanks to the amazing cast. A particular character decision feels downright dumb but sure. I'm down for two more. Let's go to space!