THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS takes you for a helluva ride
Quick, name as many movie franchises as you can with eight or more films released since 2000. Stumped? Well, there are just two, the Harry Potter and The Fast and the Furious franchises (sorry Marvel, the X-Men movies plus spinoffs nor Avengers + individual films count since the same core cast doesn’t appear in each).
While many folks may not be surprised about the Harry Potter films (although they did sort of cheat by turning the last book into two films), many are probably shocked to find that a silly concept of hot girls, hot cars, and tons of explosions has resulted in one of the most profitable franchise ever with worldwide grosses of nearly four billion dollars! It’s impressive that the fourth film more than doubled the gross of the third film and that the fifth film nearly doubled the fourth, but even more amazing is that the seventh installment, Furious 7, nearly doubled the worldwide box office gross of the previous film with over $1.5 billion dollars. In fact, outside of the third film, worldwide box office has increased with each film, something extremely uncommon with sequels (especially after seven of them). Crazy, right? So what do you do when you’re sitting on a pile of gold? Well, you mine for more while it’s still worth something and that’s just what producer, Vin Diesel, and his cohorts have done with the newest installment, The Fate of the Furious.
Like its predecessors, Fate steps on the gas early and doesn’t let up until the closing credits, providing fans with more half-dressed women, more exotic and unique vehicles, and for fans of the series, many faces from the past. Add to that a cool, calm, collected, dread-locked, and striking villain in Charlize Theron (the first female villain) and you have a recipe for success. Fate is most likely destined for a huge worldwide box office, however, reason stands that it will be less successful than Furious 7 due to the voyeurs who wanted to see that film due to the sudden passing of Paul Walker. For those that may not remember, Walker suffered a sadly ironic death as a result of a car accident. With Walker such a big part of the series, he isn’t completely forgotten in the new film, but you certainly miss his presence throughout the film (along with his on-screen wife, Jordana Brewster, who unfortunately won’t see much action in the future as she and Walker’s, Brian, rode off into the sunset).
Similar to past Furious films, Fate of the Furious takes viewers along for a ride to a number of exciting locations, opening in the beautiful and colorful country of Cuba, where moviegoers are immediately treated to a race along the city streets of Havana. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are living in the city and enjoying marital bliss, but this is a movie and we know that is a fate that won’t last long. So, to interrupt that happiness, we are introduced to Cipher (Charlize Theron), a world-class hacker who tells Dom that he is going to work with her (dum dum dum) and betray his wife and family…or else. Dom obliges after seeing something on Cipher’s phone, but it’s not until a bit later that we learn why a man who always says to “never turn your back on family” does just that. Dom proceeds to help Cipher steal an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) and then a nuclear weapon only to find his old team/family after him every step of the way.
What follows is one of the most entertaining prison fights in a movie, followed by additional chases in New York City and a final chase along the frozen tundra of Vladovin, Russia, where fans are treated to their first cars vs. submarine battle ever! Fate, perhaps more than its predecessors, brings more than just great car chases by adding twice as much humor throughout the film. Luke Hobbs’ (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) first scene is laugh-out-loud funny and his banter with former enemy turned colleague, Deckard (Jason Statham), is priceless. Deckard, along with Roman (Tyrese Gibson) are gifted the best lines of the movie, however Hobbs and Ludacris, as Tej Parker, hold their own with their share of lines, as well.
Fate and past installments ultimately succeed because of its formulaic approach, moviegoers know what to expect and they enjoy every minute of it. None of these films will win an Oscar, moviegoers know to check reality at the door of the movie theatre, and the producers ultimately don’t pretend it to be anything more than a high-octane action film. Like most summer films, grab a soda, popcorn, turn off the brain, and enjoy the ride.