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‘The Fate of The Furious’ (review)

Produced by Neal H. Moritz,
Vin Diesel, Michael Fottrell
Written by Chris Morgan
Based on Characters by  Gary Scott Thompson
Directed by F. Gary Gray
Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson,
Jason Statham
Charlize Theron,
Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson,

Chris Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel,
Kurt Russell,
Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren

 

Back in 2001, no one would have pegged a movie about street racers to be to a multi-million dollar franchise, let alone one of the most successful franchises of all time.

And yet, 16 years later, it’s eighth installment, The Fate of the Furious opens, shows that the franchise has little chance of slowing down.

Not only is The Fate of the Furious still as fast and shiny as a Dom’s Dodge Charger, it has the honor of being a sequel film that is not only as good as it’s predecessors, but also might even surpass them.

From the opening of the scene, the engines are roaring so hold on to something, because this 2 hour and 16 minute movie is gonna feel faster than the 10-second, quarter mile.

Fast, gorgeous cars – check.  Beautiful people – check.  Exotic locations – check.  Stunts that both make you flinch and laugh – you bet.

The Furious films have come a long way from it’s back streets of Los Angeles roots.  Dom and his crew are all grown up and have made it to the big leagues of international espionage.  All our favorites are back, including a few cameos that are  a tip of the hat to the fans who have been along for the entire ride.

Since Furious 7, the crew have gone their separate ways, basking in “retirement” when the call comes from Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to help recover a dangerous new weapon.

Dom (Vin Diesel) reunites his team; fast talking Roman (Tyrese Gibson), tech geniuses Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and his right hand woman Letty (Michelle Rodriguez).  Together they steal the weapon, but before it can be secured, Dom betrays his team and hands the weapon over to cyber terrorist, Cypher (Charlize Theron).  Now, Hobbs and Dom’s team must recover the weapon, stop Cypher, and discover why Dom betrayed the people he calls family.

The team finds help in the unlikeliest of place, from former adversary Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).

The story is not complex, but that is not what the Furious movies are about.  They are all about the action.

After seven movies you would think the stunt teams would have run out of ideas.  Not even close.  The car chases are inventive and fun as hell.  Without getting into spoilers, all I can say is there is a sequence with the self driving cars that is both hilarious and made me never want an auto-driving car.  Watching some of the driving stunts made me wonder why the Academy doesn’t have categories for stunt work, because these stunt drivers deserve a golden statue.

The cast is having a blast. Vin has the opportunity to put on his serious face.  Johnson and Statham ham it up in every scene and somehow it just works.  The jokes always hit their mark and never cross the line into groan worthy silliness .  The chemistry of the cast is part of what keeps audiences coming back, and the chemistry is strength by the addition of new characters.

Kurt Russell returns as Mr. Nobody and steals every scene with the assistant of comedic-straightman Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood).  With the untimely loss of Paul Walker during the making of Furious 7, his character,Brian is kept alive through smatterings of dialog explaining Brian and Mia have built a quiet life elsewhere.  A small Easter egg at the end of the film honors Walker.

Writer Chris Morgan has been on deck for the last few Furious movies, and he continues to give audience what they want. Director F. Gary Gary has the action genre down in spades.

I love these movies because they never pretend to be more than they are.  They are fun, shiny action movies with a lot of humor.  They play with stereotypes and bend them to their will, making the characters more than just a caricatures, and winking at the screen the whole time.  Michael Bay wishes he’s made a movie in the last 10 years that’s this entertaining.

The Fate of the Furious is an excellent addition to the series.

Don’t think twice. Get your ticket, strap in, and enjoy the ride!

 

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