Take a Shot Every Time They Say “Family”
By Mason Manuel
When a film franchise has eight films on its belt with still more to come, to get an even basically decent entry could be considered a modern miracle. Yet after a rocky middle, the Fast and Furious films have done considerably well after the mini renaissance it went through with Fast Five. Now with The Fate of the Furious (or F8: cue eye roll) the momentum doesn’t slow, but doesn’t really pick up either. In short you get exactly what you expect from a franchise that’s main star is Vin Diesel. But that’s not all bad.
F8 picks up in Cuba where Dom (Diesel) is enjoying the family life and rekindled love with Lenny (Michelle Rodriguez). While enjoying the occasional combustible street race and cuddles with Lenny, Dom finds himself blackmailed back into work by the devious Cipher (Charlize Theron). For a surprisingly human reason, Dom must work with the bad guys and work against his team, I mean family. What follows is an explosive tale filled with remote controlled cars, evil bond villain jet liner hideouts, and… a nuclear submarine. At this point I’m surprised they haven’t gone to space. F9 team, call me, I’ve got ideas that are out of this world ;).
Cars, butts, and eye roll worthy one liners. This is the stuff Fast and Furious is made of and that is no exception here. The action scenes are hilariously fun as the film takes its self-awareness to a whole new level. Dwayne Johnson’s Agent Hobbs hilarious makes smaller people look like nothing more than toys as he throws them around in a fun jail break scene. An insane NYC car tsunami chases the te- family around a high speeds in a city where moving at all in a car is considered a miracle. In the end, it’s just dumb stupid fun that anyone can enjoy if they turn their brain off long enough.
Character wise we spend most of our time with Dom, Hobbs, and new villain Cipher. Cipher in particular is a breath of fresh air from series norms, being no less maniacal but with a creepy coldness behind her eyes that never lets up. Props go to Charlize Theron for being able to ground a character in such an ungrounded movie. The rest of the characters are somewhat hit and miss. Dom goes through a surprising amount of character development in the films hour and a half run but quickly makes you forget it when he spends the rest of his screen time looking like an angry baby. Agent Hobbs has been my favorite new addition in the franchise as of late but outside of action scenes he doesn’t bring too much to the table. That would be fine if the film was nothing but explosions but when director F. Gary Gray takes his foot off the peddle (get it?) dialogue and performances feel much more robotic and clunky.
Fate of the Furious holds no surprises in store but maybe that’s a good thing. The huge dumb action is fun and the huger (not a word), dumber characters are more so. If you can get over the million different “there’s no way that would work in real life” moments, you are sure to have an entertaining, if dumb, time. RDR gives it a F8 out of 10. Seriously, what pun are they going to use for number nine though?