The Fast and the Furious
franchise established itself on a principle of fast cars, crazy stunts and good-looking people. The storylines are generally pretty thin, but that’s not really why audiences go to these movies. The death of one of the stars, Paul Walker
, hasn’t slowed their momentum, but whether it’s affected the quality of the movies is another matter. The latest picture, and the first in what is expected to be a closing trilogy, is The Fate of the Furious
, which separates the team and replenishes its numbers.
Having taken down the vengeful Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham
) in the last chapter, Dominic (Vin Diesel
) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez
) are enjoying a honeymoon in Cuba where classic cars routinely line the streets. However Dom is approached by a mysterious woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron
), who shows him something that convinces him to turn on his family, and help her commit acts of treason and terrorism across the globe. Now that he’s working for the other side, it’s up to the team — led by Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson
), joined by Deckard, and supported by Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell
) and Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood
) — to rescue Dom (or take him out), while also preventing Cipher from getting everything on her criminal mastermind shopping list.
It’s not entirely surprising that Walker’s absence would be strongly felt in this picture, but its magnitude is likely attributed to the script’s incredibly inadequate handling of the situation. The explanation of his “exclusion” from such a major family disruption requires more than 10 seconds of dialogue, which basically amounts to “we’re not supposed to bother Brian and Mia.” Obviously, no matter what promises were made, if Brian were available he would’ve been called in to help stop Dom. They could have addressed it with a little more finesse and presented a tribute at the end that made a little more sense in the context of a narrative in which Brian is still alive.
The list of cars
included/destroyed this time around is somewhat more modest than usual, since one plan requires they keep a relatively low profile. Thus, they’re seen driving a Bentley Continental, Subaru BR-Z, Mercedes-AMG GT, and a Jaguar F-Type Coupe for the street sequence. Later, when they take to the Russian tundra, they all get an upgrade to a Lamborghini Murciélago, a Local Motors Rally Fighter, a Ripsaw tank, an Ice Ram, and a custom-built Dodge Ice Charger for Dom.
The typically exaggerated plot is even more so as Cipher orchestrates elaborate schemes with omnipotent hacker skills, a fearless and obedient right-hand, and cold logic. She sends Dom on ridiculous missions, demanding he accomplish the impossible while his team counters the same. The use of technologically-advanced vehicles in a massive diversion is interesting and innovative, but this and other action sequences are undermined by too-fast/poor editing. While the team lives up to established expectations, bringing Deckard onboard changes the dynamics and injects some additional humour; conversely, giving Roman (Tyrese Gibson
) a response to everything gets a little tiresome after a while.
Unfortunately this film is primarily focused on setting up the aforementioned trilogy, causing it to be substandard and noticeably less fun than its more recent predecessors.
Director: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Vin Diesel
, Jason Statham
and Dwayne Johnson