[Okay, so I’m going to do something a bit different for this one. While normally I just write one long review, this one is going to be shorter and focus on the main aspects of the film. We’ll see how it goes…]
ON THIS WEEK’S EPISODE OF THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS
Well, here we are back for an eighth ride with the Fast Family and it’s bigger and crazier than ever before. This time something is amiss as it’s Dom who turns his back on his family when he meets the mysterious Cipher (yeah, I know, how Bond-villainy can you get?) and all goes south from there. Look, narratively, you’re not going to get much nuance here and if you’re watching this film, you’re probably not looking for it, so let’s get it over with; the plot of The Fate of the Furious is ridiculous and laughably forgettable.
HEY, DOM, WHAT’S GOING ON?
All right, character! The thing that this franchise is renowned for…wait, what’s that…oh no, yeah that’s not character that’s…we’ll get there. It’s the same story as Furious 7 in this department with a few notable exceptions. The cast of characters in the Fast and Furious franchise are actually quite likeable but have never been the most complex in cinematic history. What’s different this time is the obvious absence of Paul Walker’s Brian, and he is sorely missed here. The dynamic between he and Dom added a lot of heart that’s now as absent from the film as any inkling of narrative sense. Worse, Charlize Theron’s Cipher is a bit of a bland villain with a confusing motive and lazy lack of development (so, yeah, just like a Bond villain). Then there’s the return of Jason Statham’s character Deckard, who has made a great case for the effectiveness of the American penal system as he emerges a fully reformed man, and a better character than last film. He’s actually a highlight of Fate; it doesn’t matter that his character chucks a reverse-Anakin that makes zero sense. The other character highlight is, as usual, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Dwayne ‘The Cop’ Johnson a.k.a Luke Hobbs. His dynamic with Statham is particularly fun and brings much needed levity to a much more seriously themed film than the last few Fast and Furious films. Finally, there’s Vin Diesel’s Dom but, as the rogue of the week, he doesn’t really get much chance to do anything but mope and scowl or whatever Vin Diesel does anyway.
SUBMARINE SIMULATOR 2017
Here we are at last at the franchise’s strength: silly, insane, action-fuelled set pieces. The Fate of the Furious does these so much better than Furious 7, and it’s the main reason to watch this film. There are some crazy vehicular stunts packed in here, and the final one in particular is absolutely ludicrous but admittedly an insane amount of fun. They don’t magically fix a problematic story but they make you forget about it. The visual effects are nothing to write home about but ‘OMG CAR DOOR SURFBOARD WHO CARES?’…
ONE LAST RIDE…UNTIL NEXT TIME
All told, I actually had a pretty good time with The Fate of the Furious. It’s not my favourite film of the franchise but it’s an improvement on the previous instalment. And by now I’ve given up on these films making any sense or showing any interesting character development. Instead I realise what I really desire is two hours of The Rock and Jason Statham being badass and blowing stuff up. Sorry, Vin. If anything, The Fate of the Furious is a sign that this ride is running out of gas but it’s probably got enough in the tank for a few more laps.