Review: ‘The Fate of the Furious’ – Action-Packed Fun But Team Dynamic Suffers

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Eight movies and counting and it’s clear that “The Fate of the Furious” will be another good addition to the “The Fast and the Furious” franchise. The movies have always played up on the whole family dynamic between the cast, and the eighth film is no different. The action is fun and different, the plot astoundingly ridiculous, and the great team dynamic is still there, but as central as usual. There are explosions and destruction, and there’s room for a lot of surprise cameos. Mostly though, it’s the cast’s interactions and the action that make for a decent film, but it’s less memorable than past installments.

Celebrating their honeymoon in Cuba, Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are having the time of their lives. Everything changes, however, after a mysterious woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron) recruits Dom to work with her. Recruits is perhaps the wrong word since he feels he has no other choice in the matter. Cipher immediately shows him a picture that immediately sets him on the path to working with her under unknown circumstances.

Elsewhere, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is called to duty to find and bring back a stolen EMP device. He calls upon the rest of the team–Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Ludacris), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Letty, and Dom–to help with the mission. But things take a turn when Dom purposely crashes his car into Hobbs’ vehicle, steals the EMP, and turns his back on the team without a word. The rest of the team is shocked and Letty is adamant that Dom would never betray the team unless he has good reason to do so. Regardless of his reasons, the team is forced to work with Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) in order to track and find Dom and Cipher and figure out what it is she wants before it’s too late.

“The Fate of the Furious” is high-octane and everything gets more exciting as some familiar faces pop up throughout. Somehow, the film even finds a place for Jason Statham, whose scenes with Dwayne Johnson are just full of great interaction and his final solo action sequence is easily the best in the film. Charlize Theron as Cipher is threatening and scary in a real way, but her motivations fall a bit too far into the extreme category and takes the film out of its own comfort zone. Basically, the movie goes from being about a team’s fight to find one of their own and deal with the betrayal, which is very personal, into one about… saving the world from nukes? It’s a big jump in their pay grade considering they started off as street racers.

The franchise has become large in scale despite “The Fate of the Furious” trying to keep things close and personal. The team’s interactions felt a little disjointed at times and I wish they’d shared more scenes together; most of their interactions happen while in the middle of the action and some of the humor doesn’t always stick. The plot takes away from some of the group dynamic and Dom’s absence from the team ends up taking a toll. Another quibble is the strangeness surrounding the team is so quick to work with Shaw given their history with each other doesn’t make complete sense since they’re all about protecting their own. After all, Shaw did kill Han and… everyone was just ok with that? Despite all of that, “The Fate of the Furious” is another pretty solid and enjoyable addition to the franchise and pushes the envelope action-wise.

60%
60%
Good

It's the cast’s interactions and the action that make for a decent film, but it's less memorable than past installments.

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About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

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