Movie Reviews

Published on April 13th, 2017 | by gareth


The Fate Of The Furious

Some would say that a franchise about to offer up its eighth installment would be running out of ideas and in danger of repeating themselves. Combine this with the loss of one of the series stars and some may start to wonder about the wisdom of continuing on.

Big box office returns are of course a large motivation but thankfully “The Fate of the Furious” shows that there is still plenty of thrills and life left in the franchise.

The film opens in Cuba where Dominic (Vin Diesel), and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), are enjoying their Honeymoon which is soon interrupted by the arrival of a mysterious woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron).  Cipher is able to find some leverage on Dominic and uses it to force him to betray his team and join her and her team on a series of heists that have significant global consequences.

Not willing to be idle spectators in the events; Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), tasks Dominic’s former crew with tracking him down and ending the threat he and Cipher pose. Joining the team are Eric Reisner (Scott Eastwood), and former nemesis Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), who add to an already volatile mix especially where Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), are concerned.

From locals such as New York City to Russia, the crew must race against time to save the day and end the threat posed by Cipher. Naturally this will involve plenty of action and many exotic vehicles performing thrilling high speed stunts that defy physics and at times logic.

The film does take a good deal of suspension of belief as there are a few plot holes and non-sequiturs that are large enough to drive any of the signature vehicles through. But as a full on action adventure, the film delivers on what fans have come to expect and takes it to the next level. Director F. Gary Gray knows this is a character driven series and he lets the ensemble cast have their moments without letting the abundance of vehicles and action overshadow the story. Instead they almost become characters in and of themselves.

The film runs almost two and a half hours but I can honestly say that I never once found my attention wandering as I was caught up in all the action happening on the screen and the abundance of thrilling over the top spectacles never lets up.

The cast continues to be a great mix and Eastwood and Theron both makes a very good entry to the series. There was some debate amongst fans how the series would endure with the loss of Paul Walker, but the winning formula that has powered the series continues onward at top speed.

There are reports that two more films are already in the planning stages and based on the high-octane thrills of this outing, I cannot wait to see what comes next.

4 stars out of 5


Second Review by Joseph  Saulnier


I think it’s safe to say that everyone was a bit skeptical when an eight movie in the Fast and Furious franchise was announced, especially considering the loss of Paul Walker.  Most would think that the movie wouldn’t be very good, and true fans worried about the quality due to the loss of the prolific character.  I am here to ease those worries.

The Fate of the Furious finds Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) on their honeymoon in Cuba (first American film to be filmed in Cuba following the opening of borders, by the way).  Of course we come in to Dom causing a bit of a ruckus but, Dom being Dom, he quickly earns the respect of some local racers.  As he was on his way back to his suite with groceries, he comes across a mysterious woman (Charlize Theron) who appears to be having car troubles.  Dom offers his help, but soon finds out that their meeting was not coincidence.  The woman, who we later learn goes by the handle Cipher, hands Dom a phone stating that he is going to work for her and turn against his friends and family.  We don’t know what’s on the phone (yet), but it is sure enough to set Dom on the path of her choosing, causing his old team to hunt him down.

(Almost) everyone is back for the eighth film in the franchise, which is rumored to be the first of a new trilogy.  Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) pick up where we last saw them, both vying for the attention of Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel).  Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is… well, Hobbs.  Though we get to see more of him in his family man role, especially at the beginning of the film.  In addition to the core team, we also see the return of Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), who is training Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), and even his brother Own (Luke Evans).  We also bring some new faces in with Kristofer Hivju and even Dame Helen Mirren (who brings out her inner cockney for this role).  The goal is to stop Dom and his new ‘employer’ Cipher.  But does the team have what it takes to go up against one of their own?

Fun.  That is the best word I can use to describe this movie.  By now, you know it’s a given that you kind have to suspend you belief in reality when you are watching a Fast and Furious movie, and The Fate of the Furious  is no different, though thank goodness there is no 800 mile runway in this film.  The chemistry sans Paul Walker has not lost its charm, and there was another small, but touching tribute to the late actor as well.  The last two movies in this franchise (Furious 7 and Fate) tugged on my heartstrings actually, but both in different ways as I was at different places in my life.  Furious 7 for the obvious reason of Paul Walker and the way they ended the film, Fate because I am now a parent and there are definitely some themes that I look at differently as a result.

Top notch action scenes, great acting, and Jason Statham the babysitter (amazing).  This movie was entertaining from start to finish.  I did have to dock some points due to having to go “okay” to some of the action scenes that were a little bit ridiculous even for Fast and Furious standards.  Adding heavy hitters like Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren (both Oscar winners, a first for the franchise) definitely gives some credibility for the franchise, and the outlook of a new trilogy.  If you do see this, I would recommend seeing it in the theaters, especially IMAX as it makes the action scenes that much more intense.

It’s not an Oscar-worthy film, but it is 2 hours and 21 minutes of pure entertainment with a cast that’s managed to maintain its great chemistry, despite alleged offset squabbles between two of the main stars.  If you keep this in mind, and are okay with that, then it is definitely worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of the franchise.  But you are here reading a review about a Fast and Furious movie.  Clearly you have interest, and are likely a fan of at least some movies in the franchise, so what am I telling you for?  I will leave you with this, in my opinion, this is the best film of the series behind Fast Five.

4 stars out of 5

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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