After a very divisive marketing campaign we finally have the eighth entry in the Fast and Furious franchise The Fate of the Furious. Directed by Gary F. Gray (Friday, Straight Outta Compton) this film looks to lay the groundwork for the franchises ultimate conclusion, given there are only two more planned entries left in the series.
Fate picks up shortly after 7 with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) on their honeymoon in Cuba. After an opening race that would make MacGyver proud Dom runs into the mysterious Cypher (Charlize Theron) who makes him an offer he can’t refuse to turn on his team. Once recruited Toretto aids Cypher not only in stealing an EMP, but nuclear launch codes with his crew hot on his trail. I won’t go into spoilers on why Dom chooses to betray his family, except to say this detour once again takes the series into another one of those soap opera tangents that could only be pulled off by a Fast and Furious film. I will say it’s not such a hard pill to swallow and enables Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to join the crew in Dom’s stead.
With the absence of Walker and Dom’s betrayal the film takes a bit to get its group dynamic situated again as we are given a new straight man in the form of “Little Nobody” (Scott Eastwood) as the team’s new government handler. Director Gary Gray at times has his work cut out for him as he attempts to follow in the footsteps of one of the best entries in the series; thankfully Theron’s Cypher offers not only a worthy final boss, but also the most diabolical plan to ever grace the franchise yet. Cypher echoes the series tradition for strong female characters as she brings some real stakes to this entry and is not simply a femme fatale as some may have guessed from the trailer.
With Fate of the Furious you should already know by this point in the series if you are in or out, as we once again travel the globe through a series of action set pieces that are all less believable than the last. As the film retroactively begins to craft a plausible, thorough narrative to start to tie the series together in the hopes of delivering a satisfying conclusion, it somehow manages to do so with a strange cohesion. The only thing possibly standing in the way is the current feud between stars Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, which resulted in the pair sharing almost no screen time together. This shift did however result in the focus shifting to Hobbs and Deckard Shaw’s newfound bromance, that supplied some of the films funnier moments.
Fate of the Furious lays down the end game for our heroes while putting their family to the ultimate test. Going forward it’s going to be interesting to see how the fallout of the film affects our heroes going forward. With two more films to tie this up I can only imagine it can only get more insane than The Rock throwing a torpedo at a car. This is definitely a film for those that live their life a quarter mile at a time, with its mix of over the top action and strong familial underpinnings that proves making these films isn’t as easy as some may think. Fate of the Furious is a fun entry that hits the beats it needs to for its target audience while not trying too hard to do much else. Here’s hoping they work some of these kinks out in time for the next film.