I have to admit, it’s kind of hard to review the “Fast and Furious” movies.
The franchise from Universal has pretty much perfected its formula to the point that it can only be derailed if everyone involved suddenly has a serious mental lapse.
Now, that doesn’t mean the movies are easy to pull off. Being a director for any of these titles means having to navigate huge egos from the cast and being the one everyone takes jabs at if the stunts and action don’t surpass the previous film in the series.
But let me put all the “Furious” fanatics at ease: “The Fate of the Furious” lives up to the hype, even if it isn’t a great movie (did you really expect it to be?).
Though most of the die-hards will find that it doesn’t surpass “Furious 7” in the “wow” department (I mean, they drove cars out of an airplane in that one!), director F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton”) and his team use every trick to distract you from the fact that nothing in this movie makes sense. (And I mean that in a good way.)
The movie opens with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) enjoying a lovely honeymoon in Cuba. But suddenly his cousin is in a dispute about payment for his ratty car. Dom steps in and before you know it he’s racing the guy who wants his cousin’s car so his cousin can keep it. The kicker: Dom has to use his cousin’s car in the race.
After enhancing the car with some “Cuban nos,” Dom races the guy, and at one point his engine catches on fire, so to avoid the flames he has to drive the final stretch backward to get the win.
Of course, Dom, with Cuban children surrounding him to praise his win, refuses to take his opponent’s car as his prize. Respect from the man is good enough.
Honestly, one thing you can say about the “Fast and Furious” franchise: It really highlights the rewards that come with giving and getting respect.
But back to the action. The major plot of “Fate of the Furious” goes like this: Dom has gone rogue on his team/family and the rest have to stop him from using a nuclear weapon to complete the evil plan of Cipher (Charlize Theron).
Outside of the dull scenes needed to keep the pointless plot going – even the charisma of Kurt Russell returning as Mr. Nobody to deliver exposition can’t overcome the fact that bland Scott Eastwood is right next to him trying to fit in as the newbie of the group – the movie has a great prison-fight scene featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham, as well as a fun New York City chase scene.
The topper of the New York chase is when a group of cars, on self-drive mode after being hacked by Cipher, all shoot out of a parking garage’s windows high above a street and land on the car Cipher is trying to get to.
And then there’s the action sequence in which Statham’s Deckard takes out an airplane full of bad guys while holding a baby in a car seat.
Yes, you read that correctly. I’ll give you a moment to collect yourselves.
The insane scene is made all the better by Deckard stopping from time to time to see how the baby is doing. The kid is having the time of his life.
The Rock fans will love the insults he throws at everyone throughout, there’s a great Helen Mirren cameo, and the finale with the submarine in icy waters is a fun time, but a lot of its juice is taken away seeing as how much of it was shown in the trailers.
So how does Universal top this one? It might be time to take Dom’s crew to space.
“The Fate of the Furious” opens in theaters on Friday.