Friday, April 14, 2017

The Fate of the Furious Review: Revs Up the Absurdity and Excitement for the Series!

There are many movies to define the concept of a popcorn film, but none may be more apparent then that of The Fast and the Furious franchise. Since 2001 this action series has taken the concept of cars and heist to a whole different level with its ridiculous sense of direction. However despite its blunt appearance, The Fast and the Furious has found a way to be both engaging and entertaining; which has been apparent in the recent entries of the series. In 2015 it seemed like things could have come to a complete stop with 2 with the seventh installment, Furious 7, but that was not the case as the series races off again in the latest addition: The Fate of the Furious. Directed by F.Gary Gray the eighth film in the franchise seeks to be a new beginning for Dom and the crew. The preview certainly lived to the series outrageous action but does The Fate of the Furious rev up the series yet again, or does it find itself stalling?

The Fate of the Furious continues the story of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). While on his honeymoon with Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) Dom is confronted by a woman named Cipher (Charleze Theron) who forces the once criminal to work for her. After betraying his crew, Dom disappears and goes along with Cipher's scheme. With the help of Frank Petty (Kurt Russell) Letty, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) and rest of the crew (Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges and Nathalie Emmanuel) have to track down Dom and stop Cipher; which is easier said than done as the group must enlist the help of once antagonist Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).

The Fast and the Furious has never been known for its subtle storytelling; although its sense of continuity is something to be admired. So I was not expecting when it came to the plot of The Fate of the Furious, and my expectations for this action​ thrill ride were met. The story to this installment could be described as "what you see is what you get" as it followed the guidelines set in previous films. This did not make the movie any less exciting but its typical structure made the more thrilling moments feel like they were in cruise control. Yet this was not to say that the plot did not any surprises. In fact the movie's twists were​  unexpected as they gave some good turns for this fast moving plot. Along with its surprises was the story's sense of continuity which found a way to connect with its predecessors and work within the context of this installment.

The Fast series certainly has had an array of characters, and this element shined through in The Fate of the Furious. Vin Diesel provided a solid, albeit expected, performance as Dominic. It was interesting to see if this action hero could remain refreshing after six appearances in series, but the direction of this heroic criminal in this film did just that and it gave Vin some variety in his performance. Like usual Dwayne Johnson brought his one of a kind charisma as the ever ecstatic Luke Hobbs. Jason Statham's Shaw, while his face turn felt rushed, made for a good addition to the group and his chemistry with Johnson's Hobbs was entertaining to say the  least. The rest of the cast filled in their roles well like Michelle Rodriguez decent performance as Letty, and the continuing banter between Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson. Bringing the cast together was Charlize Theron as the villainous Cipher. Theron's performance gave the series a strong antagonist as Cipher was engaging, threatening and just a convincing villain. Add an appearance from Helen Mirren, a fun role by Kurt Russell and other surprises and you get an action packed ensemble that was fitting for both the movie and the franchise.

The series has been known for its high stakes action that borderline on the ridiculous and this film was no exception; although in the case of The Fate of the Furious this element was a hit and miss. Most of the action was fine for the film, but there were moments that were too outrageous-which is saying something for this series. This was evident in the movie's New York sequence. The majority of the scene, while exciting, was just absurd; but then again the moment of the crew chasing Dominic was handled well in all aspects. What also seemed like a hit and miss were technical elements such as the film's editing. Most of it was alright but direction such as having slow-mo moments seemed inconsistent. Aside from that the remaining technical aspects simply followed the road made by the rest of the series.

While it could revel in its own absurdity The Fate of the Furious managed to live up to the standards of this action series. Although its sense of storytelling, character development and action felt typical the execution of each made all the difference as they managed to work within the confines of this installment. To put it simply The Fate of the Furious was simple, crazy and pretty much just another addition to the Fast and the Furious franchise-but that did not make it any less entertaining.

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