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Review: The Fate of the Furious

“The Fast and the Furious” franchise continues with its 8th outing. Our J.P. reviews “The Fate of the Furious” starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron.

The Fate of the Furious

Letty (MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ) connects with Dom (VIN DIESEL) in “The Fate of the Furious.” Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy. Copyright: © 2017 Universal Studios.

Rated: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned – Some Material May Be Inappropriate for Children Under 13) for prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggestive content, and language.

Directed by F. Gary Gray
Produced by Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Michael Fottrell, Chris Morgan
Written by Chris Morgan

Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Helen Mirren, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Scott Eastwood with Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron

Studio Synopsis:
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 (Oscar® winner Charlize Theron) 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, our 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. For “The Fate of the Furious,” Vin Diesel is joined by a returning all-star cast that includes Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky and Kurt Russell. In addition to Theron, the series welcomes newcomers Scott Eastwood and Oscar® winner Helen Mirren. The film is directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) and produced by returning producers Neal H. Moritz, Michael Fottrell and Diesel.

J.P.’s Take:

The Fate of the Furious

(L to R) Roman (TYRESE GIBSON), Tej (CHRIS “LUDACRIS” BRIDGES), Little Nobody (SCOTT EASTWOOD), Hobbs (DWAYNE JOHNSON), Ramsey (NATHALIE EMMANUEL) and Letty (MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ) realize Dom’s gone rogue in “The Fate of the Furious.” Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy. Copyright: © 2017 Universal Studios.

It’s quite an amazing feat to take a cult classic, underground street-racing film such as “The Fast and the Furious” and turn it into an international multi-billion dollar phenomenon. What started out as simple high octane caper movies quickly became super action, crime-fighting flicks almost reaching the level of Marvel entities.

“Fate of the Furious,” the eight film in the series, is just another notch on the post of frenetic four-wheeling fun. Yet it only proves that despite balking from critics, this franchise has serious staying power. Obviously the “The Fast and the Furious” outings are escapist flicks, where you’d find no shortage of far off locales, a bevy of beauties both of the female persuasion, as well as the automotive kind. Obligatory explosions, bare knuckled brawls and car chases are commonplace. In this case the team is being tracked down by a submarine, while racing across icy Russian tundra. You are guaranteed an entertaining action piece that is chalked full of moments like this.

Some particularly crazy moments will strike fan fancy. They branch from chase scenes set in New York, when Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) goes rogue and is on the run from his old teammates. When they finally catch up to him, they deploy grappling hooks from their vehicles; taking hold of Dom’s car. It’s a scene the makers of any Bond movie would be proud of, as they play tug – of – war with high performance vehicles. Further, technology goes on attack with cars that are driven autonomously, as Cipher (Charlize Theron) unleashes a gang of “zombie cars,” as referred to by Theron’s character, on a collision course through New York streets.

The Fate of the Furious

DWAYNE JOHNSON stars as Hobbs. Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy. Copyright: © 2017 Universal Studios.

Action juggernauts like this are not without its lighter side, with Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson making up for the comedy antics. Think school kids on a play yard, playing the dozens as they crack wise on each other.

There is a long standing comradery between the characters we’ve come to know and adore. Up until “Fast Five,” you were able to get caught up in the believability of the plot pieces. With Part 8, you’ll have to suspend all logic with this totally implausible storyline, where the four wheeled wrecking crew chases the cunning cyber-terrorist Cipher across the globe to Russia.

Sinister forces are at work here, which finds Toretto returning to his criminal roots. It sees a darker side of Toretto, only the mechanism that puts him in that position is shrouded in mystery. That’s where the computer mastermind Cipher steps in. What does she hold over Dominic that would cause him to turn to the dark side so to speak? Well if you remember the common thread of “family” that runs through the veins of the “F&F” screenplays, you’ll find the answer. It involves a piece of his past that maybe you’ll see coming to light. Let’s just say there is a new addition to that family, a member even Dom didn’t know about. A member who’s life is worth laying his reputation, life and the trust of his crew on the line for.

The Fate of the Furious

Dom (VIN DIESEL) is recruited by Cipher (CHARLIZE THERON). Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy. Copyright: © 2017 Universal Studios.

“Fate of the Furious” also finds itself weaving between “Furious 7’s” back story pulling out characters and other pieces to keep this continuation flowing. As always I enjoyed the cast of characters, including the addition of Helen Mirren (Magdalene Shaw, the mother of Deckard and Owen Shaw),Theron and Scott Eastwood (law enforcement agent Eric Reisner / Little Nobody). All did playful job of sticking to the roles given, while injecting more personality into the group.

If any flaws – and there are some – it would be the all too convenient plot. Once it wrapped up , it left me thinking — how were they able to set all the safety nets in place so perfectly? Part of me wanted to see them get tripped up by Theron’s character.To the point where they had no clue what moves to pull next. That human side could have seeped through more so as well. I mean afterall even in Marvel movies, the heroes’ weaknesses are shown. And although I wouldn’t chalk this one up to a total disappointment, nevertheless I will ride this series on through till the end. At face value, I enjoyed it for what was presented in IMAX.

About J.P. Langston

J.P. Langston is a member of "Sidewalks Entertainment" team primarily as a videographer. He loves movies, especially sci-fi horror and action comedies. Some of his favorite films include "Blade Runner" "The Matrix Trilogy," The (original) "Star Wars," "Equilibrium," "Serenity," "Kill Bill Vols 1 and 2," "Appleseed," "Unbreakable" and "Sin City." He has a large DVD collection, which is still growing. Since reviewing films for "Sidewalks," he has been expanding his palette for all types of films.