I have never considered myself to be a film critic. If anything, I am most definitely a person who is severely under-qualified to talk about a movie, let alone give insightful critique about it. What I am though is a lover of film or a film enthusiast; someone who loves examining the art of motion picture, the ups and down, what compels it to be great and what drives it down to become a hot pile of garbage. So when a movie like The Fate of the Furious comes around the corner; one which wholeheartedly begs you to switch your ‘ditch everything not Oscar-nominated’ brain off, it’s in your best interest that you comply. So switch that brain off and sit back for maximum enjoyment of its mindless fun and entertainment.
After the events from Furious 7, Brian and Mia have retired from the game to focus on their family. While Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon, Dom encounters a mysterious woman named Cipher who forces him back into the world of crime he left behind, making him betray those he holds closest to him, or in Dom’s words – ‘Family’. His team together with DSS agent Luke Hobbs must now team up once again to find out what is making Dom go against them and bring him home.
The script written by long time franchise screenwriter Chris Morgan doesn’t necessarily connect all the dots of the already sloppily-explained story but it is great when it comes to providing a refreshing take on characters we already know – whether it is the hero turning rogue which we have here or vice versa. The Fate of the Furious also introduces a few new characters into the fray and it will be intriguing for the audience to witness the path each of them will take in future films in addition to the current slate of characters.
Being the most empty-headed and narcissistic person on the team, Tyrese Gibson’s Roman Pierce is given some character-specific comedic material to work with and he has a great back and forth banter going on with newcomer Eric Reisner (Scott Eastwood) which is actually funny given how childish some of it is. Equally amusing is Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Shaw who try to top each other, not in a fist fight but in a war of crude remarks. Their creativity in smacking their insults onto each other is defined in wrestling terminology as ‘No Holds Barred’ and it is as humiliating for them as it is downright hilarious for us.
The start of a fresh trilogy deserves a worthy villain and that comes in the guise of the franchise’s first femme fatale, a cyber-terrorist named Cipher played by Charlize Theron. She immediately comes off as someone who has ice in her veins. Some would even describe her as very typical of a bond villain – Cipher operates out of a jumbo aircraft while remaining perpetually undetectable on the grid. She always seemed like she was on the cusp to being a captivating threat for Dom’s team with her dialogue and cruelty. But as the film went on, it felt like her screen time was cut to make way for the prolonged submarine-car battle on the excessively long ice plane. Her lines were also reduced to insignificant ‘No!’ and ‘Stop him/her!’ which isn’t really the makings of a true force to be reckoned with.
Like what I said before, if you are planning to go into this movie with a mind-set raring to have a shot at criticizing the physics and stunts of this movie, The Fate of the Furious will be a rage-inducing syndrome which will overcome your entire body even before the opening title is revealed and I ensure that you won’t enjoy anything of what you see. This movie is replete with logic-defying and death-defying action set pieces which question the very existence of science itself. But it is a victory in being a highly entertaining treat. Fast 8 is the epitome of popcorn flicks, to say the least.
Is this movie the best in the series? No, absolutely not. Fast Five still takes the cake for that title. What The Fate of the Furious is, is another satisfying addition to this high-octane franchise everybody knows and loves. Other than the sub-par story, F. Gary Gray understands very well what making Fast and Furious is all about and it delivers and covers every inch of detail which the fans would have wanted the movie to flourish in.
Should you spend money on it? Yes
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Written by: Chris Morgan
Based on: Characters by Gary Scott Thompson
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood, Kurt Russell, Helen Mirren, Nathalie Emmanuel
Running time: 136 minutes