Friday, April 14, 2017 8:00 am ·  0 Comments
If it’s awesome action and great popcorn munching you’re after, here it is. The Fate of the Furious, the latest Fast and Furious movie, has everything its fans are craving. Exploding cars, cool buds hanging out, and a country-crossing car chase make for some terrific escapism and spectacle.
What’s still refreshing in Universal’s turbo-charged series is the fluidity and strong camaraderie between the cast and production team. New series director F. Gary Gray has kept the same writers, composers, and cinematographers who’ve made these movies since the first movie in 2001 – and their tight focus and developed skill is clear.
But what prevents this new Fast and Furious movie from being anything more than a whimsical blockbuster is the lack of moral importance. The plot here is a leader in a team of drivers (Vin Diesel) being blackmailed into working with a cyber terrorist. It ends with his old team stopping them from launching missiles to…somehwere? At someone?
Important plot details or motivations beyond “good guys sticking up for their friends” and “bad guys being evil” are non-existent. The car chases and action sequences are captivating to watch, and we understand who’s on what side. But the story is about as layered as a theme park stunt show.
Everything is the same as you would expect if you’ve seen any of the other seven Fast and Furious films. A common problem for big-budget franchises with this many movies is maintaining originality, and it’s starting to show. There are enough clever twists to keep audiences entertained, but every next move is completely predictable. It’s easy to guess how the movie is going to end after the first half hour.
All of the talking is complete nonsense. The lines trying to string a plot or thematic importance are second to the expensive (albeit well done) stunts and effects. Anything other than Chris Bridges and Tyrese Gibson’s zingers might as well be car horn sounds layered over the actor’s voices – they don’t matter.
What’s truly disappointing is some of the new cast are unfortunately boring to watch. Charlize Theron, for instance, is a reliably strong performer with great command and presence on screen. But starring as the main villain here in Furious 8, she spews political theories with no passion, fear, or sizzle. (Her over-the-top hairstyle doesn’t help, either.)
On a positive note, when it’s time to smash some cars and get to road racing, boy does Furious 8 deliver. There’s one unforgettable scene about 65 minutes into the movie that got an audible applause. I won’t spoil much, but you’ll know it’s coming once the bad guys start hacking into civilian cars in Manhattan streets.
Despite the silliness and thrilling car crashes, the coarse language and loud noises make this a big no for kids. Though maybe it’s the volume and breezy pace that keep The Fate of the Furious so much fun. It’s definitely not resonant, but it’s certainly confident and entertaining.
The Fate of the Furious
2 1/2 out of 4 stars.
PG, 137 minutes. Spy Action Thriller.
Directed by F. Gary Gray.
Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron and Kurt Russell.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX.
2017, Action, Adventure, Charlize Theron, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Dwayne Johnson, F. Gary Gray, Film.Ca Cinemas, IMAX, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Michelle Rodriguez, Movies, New releases, Oakville, PG, Racing, reviews, Spy, The Fast and the Furious, The Fate of the Furious, Thriller, Tyrese Gibson, Universal Pictures, Vin Diesel