The never-ending franchise continues to not end, y’all.
Some history with me and this franchise. Would you believe me if I told you that I didn’t start watching these movies until the most recent one, FURIOUS 7 (2015)? Yup, never saw a single one of ’em before that\. It wasn’t until this one’s announcement that I decided it’s time to catch up on this franchise. So let’s belt out some quick reviews. SPOILERS if you haven’t seen the previous movies and have an interest.
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001): It was a POINT BREAK (1991) knock off. Predictable and not very interesting, but I understand its popularity. If you like hot people and cars, then you’re good. But since I don’t, I didn’t care about this movie. Not bad, not good, definitely not original, whatever.
2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003): A bad sequel to an already not-great movie. So forgettable, I forgot everything that happened the moment the credits started rolling.
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006): The first five minutes were so bad that I’ve never actually seen the movie as a whole. Only thing that kind of tickled me was that the eldest son from TV show HOME IMPROVEMENT was in the beginning. Plus, if you expect me to believe that thirty year old protagonist is eighteen years old, you’re on quaaludes. Only other thing I know is that this actually takes place somewhere between the sixth and seventh movies.
FAST & FURIOUS (2009): Now the franchise finally gets good. It goes back to its original cast and embraces a more over-the-top action feel that these movies should have been about all along. I still can’t say that I remember much about the movie though. Oh, this is the one that Letty was killed off screen? That makes sense. I do remember a movie where she straight up wasn’t in it.
FAST FIVE (2011): Um… wasn’t this the one where we were introduced to Hobbs, Gizelle, and some others? Yeah, still having a hard time remembering these movies. Still, had a lot of fun watching it.
FAST & FURIOUS 6 (2013): Letty’s alive and has amnesia! And Luke Evans is a bad guy!
FURIOUS 7 (2015): Jason Statham joins the cast and kicks The Rock’s ass… somehow. Oh, and Djimon Hounsou! Well, to be fair, I do remember this one a lot more, mostly because of the tragic passing of Paul Walker.
They all sort of blended together to be honest. But even though I don’t remember all the movies as a whole, I remember enjoying them far more than the first three films, so I guess it’s safe to say that I know I won’t remember this movie, but I’ll probably enjoy it enough. Especially with this new gimmick, having long time protagonist Dom becoming the villain of the movie, or at least one of them.
Let’s take a look at the ensemble cast. We have Vin Diesel (XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE , BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK , RIDDICK , and upcoming films GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2  and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR ), Charlize Theron (KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS , MAD MAX: FURY ROAD , YOUNG ADULT , and the upcoming ATOMIC BLONDE ), Michelle Rodriguez (SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE , MACHETE KILLS , and S.W.A.T. ), Dwayne Johnson (MOANA , SAN ANDREAS , BE COOL , and upcoming films BAYWATCH  and JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE ), Tyrese Gibson (RIDE ALONG 2 , TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON , and LEGION ), Jason Statham (MECHANIC: RESURRECTION , SPY , THE EXPENDABLES 3 , and upcoming films MEG  and THE EXPENDABLES 4, due out… who knows when), and so many more.
Now for the crew. Directing is F. Gary Gray, known for STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (2015). Penning the screenplay is Chris Morgan, known for FURIOUS 7, 47 RONIN (2013), and WANTED (2008). Composing the music is Brian Tyler, known for POWER RANGERS (2017), THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM (2016), and the upcoming THE MUMMY (2017). Finally, the cinematographer is Stephen F. Windon, known for STAR TREK BEYOND (2016), G.I. JOE: RETALIATION (2013), and DEEP BLUE SEA (1999).
Overall, I am expecting a fun, awesome, and overblown action movie. What else is there to expect from these movies at this point? Story? Pffft! Ha! Good one.
This is my honest opinion of: THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS
PS: Why isn’t this officially titled the obvious, “F8 of the Furious”? Wasted bad pun.
Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are finally on their honeymoon and already making waves. But their fun is interrupted when a woman, simply known as Cipher (Charlize Theron), a cyber terrorist who wants him to work for her and has something to hold against him to keep him not just in line, but to go rogue against his beloved family. This coincidentally comes into play when Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is told to retrieve an EMP bomb from a terrorist group and calls upon Dom and his crew for help. The job is done, but Dom betrays the group, steals the EMP bomb for Cipher, Hobbs is thrown in prison next to Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), and now the team has the resist against the best of them.
These movies should really consider changing their titles to “OH SHIT!!!” because there’s very little you’ll be saying otherwise, as this movie is that over-the-top bad-ass. Heads up by the way: the film is nearly two and half hours long. But trust me, it earns that run-time.
Perhaps I should get the few flaws out of the way. Family, family, family, family, family family family family, familyfamilyfamilyfamilyfamilyfamily SHUT UP!!! We get it! This has been a theme from movie one! Shut the hell up! We get it! This subject is constantly beating you over the head, but there is nothing left to milk from. This franchise is literally grabbing handfuls of sand and squeezing the life out of this topic when there hasn’t been anything to squeeze out of for years. Piss off!
Oh, and Roman is still not good comedy relief. Well, okay, he got one or two good lines in this, but for the most part, he’s still annoying.
And… that’s it. The rest of the movie is pure awesome. Hell, I wanna rave about the opening sequence before the title pops up on screen.
So Dom and Letty are enjoying themselves on their honeymoon when we get our ceremonial street race between Dom and some Cuban douche. The asshole is driving a nice car, whereas Dom has to drive with a piece of shit that he literally rips the hood and doors off of in order for it to stand a chance. Of course, he has his booster tanks hooked up and shit, but you can’t possibly see how this race is going to turn out. Er… actually, yes you can, you know Dom’s going to win the race, but it’s the manner in which he wins that sets up what the audience should expect for the rest of the movie. Also, I love how easily these street races can be set-up in these movies; just have a couple folks ride around in motorcycles, hold up your hand to oncoming traffic like Neo in THE MATRIX (1999) stopping bullets, and the townspeople don’t honk of shout or anything, like this is any ole other Miercoles. Of course, asshole doesn’t play by the rules and tries to ram Dom off the road, and I don’t care who you are, PEOPLE DIE IN THESE STREET RACES!!! They’re never depicted, but there’s a few dozen dead civilians in each street race alone. But who cares? EXCITEMENT!!! And just in the last stretch of the race, Dom’s car is overheating, glowing orange and shit, and then his engine catches fire, breaking through the windshield, and then he’s forced to drive in reverse, and wins the race! But if that wasn’t enough, he drives the flaming piece of shit winning car right into a crows of spectators, again, no one dies, but seriously, someone died, and then jumps out of that same death-trap car, and lets it go right off the side of a wall, sending the four-wheeled fireball into the ocean, to which those same spectators are cheering the show! It’s amazing! How can you not love a scene like this?! It perfectly sets the tone, reminding the audience what kind of movie this is and what makes Dom the best of the family, since you know no one else could do what he did, making him all the more threatening when he has to do battle against his crew.
The rest of the action doesn’t disappoint either. You have wrecking balls, submarines and torpedoes, gunplay, dueling cyber hacking fights, armies of hacked cars crushing and literally raining down on people, Rodriguez reminding men to wear armor around their balls when around her, The Rock lifting concrete benches like free weights, and one-liners, “I’m going to punch your teeth so far down your throat, you’re going to shove a toothbrush up your ass to brush them.” Even the movie laughs at how ridiculous these one-liners are! Self-aware humor! Among my favorite bits of comedy. I love little touches like that.
The acting is also what you’d expect from these characters. Dom and his nauseating love for his family, Hobbs and his one-liners, Rodriguez being… well, Rodriguez, all that good stuff. But let’s talk about the new addition, Theron. She really stands her ground in this flick and does have a serious intimidation about her. While on the one hand, I do have this irritation toward her bed voice, there are moments where that voice works incredibly well and goes full-on scary. She is ruthless as hell and is not afraid to threaten anyone or anything and will use anyone and anything to get her way. To make matters worse, she’s not just one of those villains who sits comfortably in their leather seats petting their pet cats and dishing out commands through an intercom, she’s gotten in on the action too. Theron owns the screen as Cipher just as much as her jacked-up male counterparts and has even reduced the best of them to their proverbial knees.
But I do have one criticism about her character. Cipher is supposed to be this ghost slash boogey man type character who has had a hand in these movies since the sixth movie. Yet, look at her methods. Hacking thousands of cars to drive out of parking garages to rain down on her targets, or slamming cop cars, subtlety isn’t her specialty. How is she only known by Mr. Nobody and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and no other government agency? You can’t convince me that the game has somehow changed and it’s only been these recent events that have forced her hand to become this brazen with her hacking abilities. Don’t get me wrong, I like her character and hope to see her in a future installment, but this isn’t very well-explained.
There’s also some really awkwardly written and contrived moments, but this is a much smaller problem because let’s face it, it’s the Fast and Furious franchise. Only FURIOUS 7 deserves tears and only for very VERY specific reasons. The most recurring problem that bugged me was Roman, Cipher’s backstory, and the incessant “family” thing.
Beyond that, if you like your action movies over the top, implausible, and hard-hitting like I do, then boy howdy are you going to get your money’s worth here. Will it be the most memorable action film of the year? Probably not. Like I said, the Fast and Furious franchise does kind of blend together, but it’s a rockin’ good time and I do recommend it for both fans and general action-junkies alike.
Oh, and quick disclaimer: unlike the previous films, there is no mid or post-credit scene.
My honest rating for THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS: a strong 4/5