By Bradley Griffith
Despite the fact that the Fast and Furious franchise should have ended after the seventh movie with the death of star Paul Walker, Universal Pictures decided they had no choice but to continue capitalizing on the enormous box office success of the movies. Hence, “The Fate of the Furious” was released earlier this year and made over $1.2 billion worldwide. While the box office receipts remain extremely high, the quality of the product decreased sharply from “Furious 7.”
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his new bride Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are on an extended honeymoon in Havana, Cuba. Dom is doing his usual thing of winning street races in incredible fashion and being cool while hanging out with his wife when one morning he is confronted by a cyberterrorist known only as Cipher (Charlize Theron), though Dom doesn’t yet have that information.
Cipher wants Dom to work for her while carrying out heists that used to be Dom’s specialty. Everyone knows that Dom does not work for anyone, and is bad at taking orders. After he refuses the offer of employment, Cipher goes with her back-up plan: She shows Dom something on her cell phone that forces him to reconsider.
Shortly thereafter, Dom and his team are helping federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) recover an EMP weapon from a military post in Berlin. Dom’s team consists of the usual suspects, Letty, Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and Ramsey (Nathatlie Emmanuel). The mission was a success until the getaway. Dom double crosses the team, wrecking Hobbs’ vehicle in the process, and takes the EMP with him. Dom makes a fast escape into the arms of Cipher and her ghost plane.
Dom’s team is in shock. No one knows how to explain Dom’s actions, but none of them actually believe that Dom would betray them. Regardless, it’s their job to find Dom and stop both him and Cipher with the help of newly released criminal mastermind Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).
“The Fate of the Furious” has everything that we have come to expect from a Fast and Furious movie – elaborate actions scenes, insane stunts, and a hope that the viewer will suspend belief while watching the movie are all included. Each movie in the series follows this formula, and “Fate” is only different in that it attempts to outdo the films before it.
“The Fate of the Furious” is the craziest, most over-the-top movie in the franchise. After all, pushing the limits of believability with over-the-top scenes is the unofficial mantra of the series. I thought that a prison riot scene with Johnson and Statham was the most unbelievably ridiculous scene that I had ever seen … until the scene near the end where the team is being pursued on ice by a remote-controlled Russian nuclear submarine firing torpedoes at them over the ice. When watching a Fast and Furious movie you understand that many things will be ludicrous, but “Fate” pushed it too far.
There were a few good aspects of the movie. The stunts and action scenes were expertly made, even if they defied the laws of physics. It’s obvious that that a significant amount of money was put into the action scenes and they are well produced. Tyrese Gibson never fails to make me laugh as the flashy, arrogant, and somewhat harebrained Roman Parker.
Overall, “The Fate of the Furious” was one of the worst movies in the franchise. Unlike many of the other Fast and Furious movies, it lacked heart, mainly because it lacked Paul Walker.
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Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggestive content, and language.