By: Daniel Chadwick-Shubat
The Fate of the Furious is the eight installment in the Fast & Furious franchise and it’s understandable that some people are starting to be less interested in the series. I was in the group that believed that the way Furious 7 ended was a perfect way to end the series. Paul Walker’s death had a huge impact on the franchise and it seemed fitting that the series would retire with him. But these movies are huge money makers for Universal so it was only a matter of time before they proceeded with the next entry.
The good news is that many of the players are back for The Fate of the Furious. The Rock has so many one liners that it would make Schwarzenegger faint and his banter with Tyrese is still spot on. Jason Statham returns this time helping out the team and he steals the movie on many occasions, specifically in the final act. The rest of the cast does well but aren’t given as much time to develop with Tej (Ludacris) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) seemingly there just to say all the tech mumbo jumbo. Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is more like herself from the first film, with the amnesia having been all but forgotten (pun intended). Finally Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) show up but they don’t have big roles, only there to make a few quips and piss off Roman. They are fun at the time but not really memorable sadly.
That leads us to the one main character we have yet to talk about, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel). Simply put, Diesel gives his most lifeless performance yet. Nothing about his arc was believable or well acted. It seems like without Paul Walker to ground him Diesel is just a grumbling, maniacal mess. He does show tears at one point but it’s almost disturbing (and most likely took him 50 takes). Where’s the Diesel that showed up in Saving Private Ryan? I want to see that Diesel again and it’s not going to happen in the Fast & Furious franchise.
With these types of movies you have to essentially turn your brain off and enjoy the mind-blowing action. The last few movies in the franchise have done that with great success. Fast Five even taught a few lessons and was one of the most critically praised movies in the franchise. The Fate of the Furious however gets a little too ridiculous to even enjoy. From the start it has this air of utter foolishness where one of the characters drives a car that is on fire and somehow doesn’t leave with a scratch. This makes it hard to watch for the first hour until it finally settles and lets you dig in for a killer third act.
The final act is where the Fast & Furious franchise that we all know and love finally shows up. It features “holy sh*t” action scenes, hilarious banter and a scene that will most likely go down as one of the funniest scenes in the franchise. It’s as if the filmmakers decided that they would put out bad appetizers and then skip the main meal and go right to the dessert. Would it have been better if they made a movie that was good from start to finish? Yes, but they redeemed it in the end and also gave fans some closure, which is what many are looking for now.
The Fate of the Furious is the weakest movie in the franchise since Fast and Furious 4. It seems that the franchise is much like Mission Impossible, as in it’s always trying to one up the action scenes. But funnily enough it’s the smaller scale action scenes that work most. If they do return with another movie I hope they can remember that and go back to the original’s roots. But for all the knocks I do have against this film it is still furiously entertaining and the cameos will make you as giddy as a sailor on leave. Sit back, dig into your popcorn and enjoy “one last ride”.
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