Director: F. Gary Gray.
Starring: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron.
Studio: Universal Studios, One Race Films and Original Film.
Now I don’t know about you but a seven movie franchise is quite a hefty film series bordering on the lines of excessive in the amount of films in a saga, even if said franchise is as thrilling as the Fast and Furious series. With this in mind, coupled with the fact I think 2015’s Furious 7 brought the blockbuster franchise to a natural close with an emotional and honourable goodbye scene bidding farewell to Paul Walker’s character, who sadly passed away in 2013, I was more than a little dubious when going to see the next instalment in the series, Fate of the Furious.
The fate of the said furious driving outlaw crew could have been seemingly peaceful, with Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) soaking up the sun during their honeymoon in Cuba and Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) amusingly coaching his daughter’s football team. ‘Normal’ life looks good on Torretto and his crew until an elusive cold and ruthless high-tech terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) forces Dom to turn on his family, his beliefs and everything he stands for, leaving his team with no choice but to team up with their enemy, former mercenary Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).
Fortunately it’s not a case of quantity over quality with the popular Fast and Furious franchise. The advantage of being so far into an established series is that fans and audiences know what to expect, so by the eighth movie you know if it’s your cup of tea or not, though the Fast and Furious films have a gift for bringing even more impressive stunts and scenes to the table with each and every instalment ensuring Fate of the Furious isn’t a letdown.
Toretto’s character is fully explored exposing him as a complex man as he goes rogue and with his resolve and the honourable, if legally grey code, that he lives by being truly tested. He has a lust for life in the fast lane but hankers after something deeper along the lines of family, stability and peace and his search for a balance between the two makes for transfixing viewing…as does the insane amount of large scale mind-blowing stunts and high-stake car chases.
Without too many spoilers, it rains cars, nuclear missiles launch, a submarine causes mayhem and, well you’ve heard of rise of the machines, how about the rise of the self-drive cars?! Fate of the Furious turns the action up full throttle so fast pace your eyes can barely keep up as they race to register what’s happening, darting all over the screen. No expense is spared when it comes to CGI and special effects. Occasionally- ok there are many times, when your eyebrows are bound to raise so far up your forehead in a shut-the-front-door-no-way-that-just-happened/is-that-possible?! expression that you threaten to lose them and the plausibility of certain situations, escapes and scenes is called into question but it makes for brilliant entertainment nonetheless.
Roman (Tyrese Gibson) brings the comedy, whilst the script has its moments in terms of twists, for instance it’s not Mia and Brian, antagonist Cipher has over Dom as you might expect. With the first film released in 2001, it’s witty one-liner quips and banter audiences can really buy into as ‘in-jokes’ and characters have already been created, established and acquainted with viewers, familiarity and fondness built and cemented. The comedy works and is endearing rather than being repetitive.
Explosions erm explode, Dwayne Johnson’s impossibly big arms look like they can’t possibly be human and Helen Mirren drinks tea. This film is also about unwavering loyalty and the powerful bonds of brotherhood- but can the relationships within Toretto’s strong outlaw family withstand the ramifications of betrayal? If you have a need for speed, thirst for adventure and danger and hunger for souped-up, epically horse-powered engines see this film and find out. You may have to leave your reality hat and rationality coat at the cinema door (or at the opening credits if you’re watching it online not that we’re endorsing dodgy online copies at all 😉 but if you like excitement and action strap yourself in and enjoy the sweet ride.