The franchise that just keeps on chugging. From a small film back in 2001 that just grossed over $200 million globally to the highest grossing film in the franchise making over $1.5 billion, ‘The Fast and the Furious’ is a franchise that’s fate was once considered to be running out of gas. That’s crazy, and shows just how much this franchise has cemented itself into pop culture, because now we have the eighth theatrical installment with the genius, or stupid, name of ‘The Fate of the Furious’.
This next chapter in the family saga brings Dom and Letty closer, asking whether he’s ready to take the next step and start a real family. However, super hacker Cipher slams the brakes on any notion of this when she involves Dom in one of her schemes, and with Dom out of the picture the fate of the family is left hanging. It’s Dom vs. family in this high-octane eighth installment.
Before adding my perspective, it’s worth noting that I haven’t seen all of these movies. I started watching this franchise from ‘Fast & Furious 5’ which I surprisingly enjoyed a lot, and have seen the others following ‘Fast Five’, with ‘Fast & Furious 6’ being our blog’s first movie review, so this franchise has some strong ties with the history of Everything Film.
‘The Fate of the Furious’ starts out strong, but falters as the film progresses. From an exciting racing sequence on the streets of Havana, the film never really gets any better. The race offers excitement, with expert direction, and it leaves you guessing until the very end. Outside of another fun, high-flying sequence towards the film’s climax, ‘The Fate of the Furious’ never quite tops this opening, rendering it ultimately somewhat tiring and charmless. Sure, there are some twists which I liked, but not enough to leave me entertained for over two hours.
There are some great one-liners, especially from Tyrese Gibson’s character and yet it feels somewhat empty without Dom leading the charge. Unlike the previous three films, this one has a little less fun than you’d expect from the franchise. It tries to go for a darker and more serious route with Charlize Theron’s character Cipher but fails to bring any life to her role. She’s not as threatening as she wants to appear, and instead comes off as one of the weakest villains I’ve seen from this franchise thus far. It doesn’t help that it is difficult to get a read on her character’s real motive. Additionally, going for this darker route with the film makes the over-the-top action sequences more ridiculous in nature. Plus, having Deckard Shaw transition from a villain to an anti-hero isn’t the right call. Anyone remember when he killed one of the family members in the sixth film? No?! We’re just going to forget about that and forgive? Okay… I guess?
‘F8’ has some nice sequences, like the ones I mentioned, but it’s getting to a point where it is just becoming a live-action over-the-top cartoon. While I liked ‘Fast Five’ and ‘Furious 6’ for having some sense of realism, and balancing it with the more fun, exciting sequences that didn’t go too over-the-top, ‘F8’ wants to be more serious, having its cake and eating it too by being an over-the-top action film. In the end, its two tonally different styles don’t mesh together.
‘The Fate of the Furious’ may appeal and delight the die-hard fans of the franchise but narratively it seems that the franchise is running out of gas. It’s not quite empty yet, but it’s definitely showing a few punctures in its tyres.