Director: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson & Jason Statham
Review Author: Shaun
It’s crazy to think a film about street racing has now become one of the biggest franchises in cinema. Now the Fast franchise returns with The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment of the famous car porn and nonsense action. Being the first movie after Paul Walker ‘s death and consequently the send off of Brian, his character, it’s also the beginning of a new and (supposedly) last trilogy. This time, Cipher (Charlize Theron) is the main villain and she’s able to bring Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) into her evil team for some unknown reason. This becomes a hard-to-swallow betrayal for his “family” that now has to try to stop them from pursuing her big plan while battling against “the one thing they can’t handle!”
In my mind, they’re a great turn off your brain films and I have to admit that since Fast Five I’ve been a fan. I’ve been more than entertained and even felt emotional with the last one. Every movie since the fifth one has their limits of reality and ridiculousness well-defined so that when the action goes down, it doesn’t feel that … stupid. The Fate of the Furious might be the silliest chapter of the whole thing. Even if the entertainment levels are high, the action is just absurdly unrealistic. I know, I know, all of the Fast and Furious movies have that “special feature”, but like I said above, they put limits to the stupidity. This one doesn’t. It’s amazingly directed, it looks awesome, but it’s just too fake and ridiculous. I mean, a missile could directly hit someone in the head and the film would find a way for the character to survive.
Everything from the predictability and lack of realism of the plot to the cheesy dialogue feels just … stupid. I’m sorry, I can’t find another word to describe this: it’s just stupid. Absolute nonsense. Yet, stupidity aside, I actually liked this film. Yes, the movie is ridiculous in every sense of the word, there’s no need to keep knocking on that door. What makes the movie entertaining is the fact that it knows it is stupid. F. Gary Gray uses the silliness of the plot and the over-the-top action sequences, mixes them with the incredibly natural chemistry of the whole cast and well-directed fight scenes (real one-on-one fights, not car chases, which are also well realized), and he’s able to create a great entertainment.
The cast is brilliant, it’s obvious that most of them have been working together for a bunch of years. Vin Diesel is Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez (Letty) keeps surprising me, Charlize Theron and Kurt Russell (Mr. Nobody) are definitely an upgrade, but the real stars here are Dwayne Johnson (Luke Hobbs) and Jason Statham (Deckard Shaw). Their comic chemistry and cheesy one-liners, plus their hard-hitting fist-fights, elevate the movie in a way that makes the first half of it bearable. It’s not until the middle of the second act that the film starts to pick up and the only reason I didn’t fall asleep until then was because of this duo. Ludacris (Tej Parker) and Tyrese (Roman Pearce) also have a couple of good scenes, but their writing is just too absurd.
As for the villain, I think Cipher should have been better explored. Her motivations are clear but feel short for the huge plan that she has in mind. Besides, it’s goddamn Charlize Theron playing that character, it’s not anybody! Her full potential has to be used instead of literally only showing her in one place.
The story is very predictable and it drags for too long. This definitely feels longer than what it was planned to be, probably because the studios wanted the 2h30 epic runtime. 136min are just too much for what the film needs and the script aren’t able to fill the holes with clever character development or some good dialogue … Instead, it’s full of lame, bland, nonsense and even unfunny jokes.
Overall, The Fate of the Furious is able to mix its limitless absurdity and ridiculousness with the amazing chemistry of the cast, even if it has to be Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham to save the whole thing. The action scenes are too stupid and unrealistic, but well-directed enough for one to be entertained. The first half of the film feels slow and the villain should have been way better explored. The plot is too predictable, lacks substance and it’s full of nonsense, cheesy dialogues, and unfunny one-liners. However, in saying that it’s a film that acknowledges its stupidity and tries to make the best entertainment possible off of it … And it does, Just not enough for a positive review.