Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Fate Of The Furious

Year: 2017
Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood

Plot: When a cyber terrorist blackmails Dom into turning on his own family, Mr Nobody forces Hobbs, Letty and the gang to team up with their old nemesis Deckard Shaw to stop them.

Review: So how does the Fast & Furious franchise move on without Paul Walker? By doing what they do best i.e. more car chases, stunts and outrageous sequences. In other words, business as usual.

In this eighth instalment, Cipher, a female cyber terrorist blackmails Dom into betraying his own family, resulting in Hobbs landing himself in a cell right across from Deckard Shaw. Mr Nobody (from number 7) breaks both men out of jail and convinces them to work with Letty, Tej, Roman and Ramsey in order to stop Cipher and Dom, which is tough since Cipher is a brilliant hacker and Dom is the best driver on the planet.

Director F. Gary Gray and writer Chris Morgan pull out all the stops in making this film look and feel pretty damn impressive. I'd say The Fate Of The Furious is the best instalment since the fifth movie, and more memorable than the underwhelming sixth and slightly messy seventh films. Previously, we had giant planes, highway chases and car jumping from skyscraper to skyscraper. For this round, we have remotely driven cars and a big ass submarine. There's also a cool jailbreak sequence where Statham and Johnson take on an army of prisoners and guards, with them contrasting each other's approach (Statham uses martial arts and speed, Johnson just plows through everyone). I don't know how they do it, but they manage to make these films more and more outrageous every time. Like Mad Max: Fury Road, this is the one time where more is actually better.

Of the actors, mostly everyone performs well, with Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez being the most convincing. Dwayne Johnson is good too but there are too many scenes of him being really macho. I'm happy that Jason Statham gets more to do this round, this time as a good guy who has a score to settle with Cipher. Speaking of whom, Charlize Theron is alright but by now she is too obvious a choice as a villain and thus brings nothing new to those who have seen her body of work. Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson bring the humor as always, with Gibson getting one standout badass moment at last.

But truly, one of the best things about this film is the surprise appearances, of which there are at least three. It's good to note that the franchise has built enough of a reputation that when you see a familiar face, it brings a chuckle or a smile to you and adds some intangible value to it.

The movie still feels a bit over the top in a ridiculous way at times, and one particular sequence involving Hobbs could have been left out (didn't really add anything to the film), but overall I had a blast watching this.

Overall, The Fate Of The Furious is a superb entry into the F&F series, and they managed to do it without Paul Walker, whose character gets a passing mention here (well done by the way). Recommended. (8.5/10) 

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