Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious
The series shows that it still has life, despite the loss of key actor in the previous entry
The Fate of the Furious (Rychle a zběsile 8)
Directed by F. Gary Gray
With Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren
Over the years, the Fast and Furious series has changed from a moderate budget look a street gang that steals cars to high-tech caper films and now a big budget espionage thriller filled with impossible stunts and exotic locations. Each entry has to be bigger and better, or maybe faster and furiouser, than the previous one.
The Fate of the Furious, also called Fast & Furious 8 and F8, is the first film made after the death of actor Paul Walker, who died during production of Furious 7.
Paul Walker's character of Brian O'Conner is mentioned briefly but thankfully isn't shown in outtakes or manipulated footage. The filmmakers wisely have let Furious 7 be the last word on the character as the series moves forward, and more films are expected after this one.
The Fate of the Furious starts with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) in Cuba with Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez). Dom gets caught up in a big road race on the streets of Havana before the plot starts in earnest. The race is quite thrilling, setting up high expectations for the action to follow. The film delivers on the promise of bigger and bigger scenes as the grows increasingly absurd and convoluted. But plot is not why people flock to this series, it is action.
Shortly after the initial race, Dom, minding his own business, encounters a mysterious character played by Charlize Theron who blackmails him somehow into leaving his long-established group of friends and turning against them to become involved in a plot that ultimately threatens the destruction of the entire world.
On the side of the good guys, at least relatively, is Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody, a representative of a secret government agency who appeared in the previous entry as well. He is joined by a junior agent in training played by Scott Eastwood, the youngest son of actor Clint Eastwood. Scott looks remarkably like his dad in his pre-Spaghetti Western days.
With Walker's character gone, the film tries to create new dynamics with increased emphasis on the rivalry between Luke Hobbs (played by Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). The two are at odds and want to fight to sort it out, but they are forced to work together instead. Mr. Nobody and his assistant also get caught up in a rivalry that generates some comic relief.
Coming up a bit unexpectedly among the cast is Helen Mirren with a thick lower-class British accent. She also adds to the comedy a bit. Unfortunately her role is rather small.
In between the action scenes, there is some computer hacking going on. This is perhaps the weakest aspect of the film. The Fast and Furious crew has Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), facing off against the people who are trying to destroy the world. Each side types rapidly while imbedded boxes of code pop up and get shut down. All the time, they utter somewhat unconvincing cyber jargon.
The action though moves rapidly taking the plot from Cuba to New York to some frozen wasteland for a spectacular but rather unbelievable over-the-top action conclusion.
A highlight among the stunts is a scene in New York, with thousands of cars that have driver assist being hacked remotely into a giant wave of zombie cars causing havoc in the streets.
Action isn't confined to the ground, either. Quite a few stunts take place in the sky, as a high-tech jet figures largely into the plot.
The film delivers the action it promises, which is all the fans of the series want. The plot to take over the world is arguably no more ridiculous than similar plots in James Bond films and other high-tech action thrillers. Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez and Jason Statham are competent action stars and overall work well together, and are aided by a mostly good support cast. It is not deep entertainment, but it isn't meant to be.
Many series get a bit tired after four of five entries. The Fast and Furious franchise isn't showing signs of slowing down.
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