With the untimely passing of Paul Walker, some have thought it would be a good time to have ended the Fast and the Furious franchise out of respect, from the last film. Brian (Walker) and Dom (Vin Diesel) speeding down a highway that splits; Dom goes one way and Brian the other. It was touching and quite moving. Now, we have The Fate of the Furious. No Paul Walker, sadly, but surprisingly this film is every bit as entertaining as its predecessors. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous, but Fate of the Furious is undeniably fun.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past six months, just about everyone knows “Dom goes rogue”. He turns against his team when a beautiful but very dangerous hacker named Cipher (Charlize Theron) turns up in Cuba while Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are on their honeymoon. She reveals something to Dom that forces him to work for her. No one knows what she has on him but it is enough to make him steal an EMP device and Russian nuclear codes. What her final plan is anyone’s guess, but in a film like this, the plot is the least of your worries. What we want is vehicular mayhem and spectacularly staged action. On this level, The Fate of the Furious delivers.
F. Gary Gray is a fine director who has worked with Charlize Theron and Jason Statham in the under appreciated remake, The Italian Job and he has worked with Vin Diesel in another unfairly maligned A Man Apart. So he knows three of his stars quite well and knows their appeal. Even as a villainess, Charlize Theron is not only exceedingly beautiful but she is every bit as cold and calculating as Cipher. As for the rest of the cast, everyone shows up to play. Even Brian Tyler’s score seems to be refreshingly original, unlike the cook cutter score music that he has supplied to previous Fast and Furious films. That music was fine for the films but was nothing that you would tap your toe to.
There were rumors that Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson butted heads during the filming and as a result, they only have two scenes together, that I counted, anyway. There was a post credit scene that was supposed to be filmed, but that was nixed, too. I don’t know how much of their feud affected the film, but unless you read about it, you would never know the difference. The does not suffer from that. If anything, Fate of the Furious has used the publicity to sell the line, “Has Dom really gone bad?”
Fate of the Furious does suffer from very predictable plot elements that we have seen countless times and some of the action, although well choreographed, is so far over the top that it strains what believability this franchise has left. Some scenes are so far over the top, in fact, that it took me out of the film, momentarily. They hurt the film, but do not kill it and in fact we get a visit from just about every character of Dom’s team from past films and that was a pleasant surprise for me. There is even two newly introduced characters with Scott Eastwood as Mr. Nobody’s (Kurt Russell) newest recruit and Helen Mirren as the mother of one of the team members. Since only one is British I am sure you will quickly figure out whose mother she is. These are both interesting additions to the cast and fit well into the story.
Fate of the Furious is pretty routine material and if you think you have the film figured out, you are probably are right. There is not much that you don’t see coming. But F. Gary Gray knows how to direct big stars in big action pictures. He infuses more than enough energy into Fate of the Furious, I did not mind too much, the gaping flaws that are peppered throughout this film. It is undeniably fun. The acting is solid and at a run time of 136 minutes, the time does fly by. I am interested to see where they take these films from here. Supposedly, there are two more films planned. Although Fast and the Furious franchise is getting a little long in the tooth, there is still enough energy for two more films. HOPEFULLY, that is.
Fate of the Furious – ***1/2 out of 5
Fate of the Furious – Rated PG-13 for graphic violence, language, partial nudity, sexual situations
Fate of the Furious – Run Time is 136 minutes.
Fate of the Furious is now playing in theaters. Check your local listings for show times and locations.