Review: THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS Runs High On Big-Scale Action, Stalls Its Way To The Finish

I've spent my fair share of time fawning over Universal Pictures's Fast franchise. However, in the wake of having seen its newest installation, F. Gary Gray's The Fate Of The Furious, I think I've grown past the fandom a bit. That's not to suggest that I'm exhausted from the franchise - I'm excited to see how it proceeded after Furious Seven, and I can't wait to see what lies for the final two titles.

I do feel left a little short on a the film's ending on top of other things. I know it sounds nitpicky, but I did stay for the entirety of the end credits and sadly, there's nothing after all of the explosive action and thrills and compelling plot twists. That said, the rest of the movie doesn't disappoint in terms of said explosive action, thrills and twists and especially if you've been following the franchise since it began in 2001.

The trailers did an exceptionally fantastic job at misleading everyone with as many ruses as possible, even though you know Dom Torretto (Vin Diesel) has his reasons for doing what he does. His actions performed on the count of cyberterrorist, Cypher (Charlize Theron) are the ultimate test of mettle for our 'Fast Family' with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Christopher Bridges), Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and newest addition, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuelle) now forced to team up with their latest frenemy, Decard Shaw (Jason Statham) to stop Dom and Cypher by any means necessary.

The trepidating adventure spans the world from Cuba and Berlin to New York City and Russia as the team fight to not only stop Cypher from building a nuclear arsenal, but to hopefully save Dom from whatever has driven him from his team. The film explores this end of the plot in a most appealing way for fans and pays homage with great depth to the film's continued focus on family with respect to its characters, living and departed.

In its succession, the film does plenty of what its supposed to do in terms of filling certain gaps left by the last film. Chris Morgan's script runs nothing short on the levity we see continued amid the jabs from many of our supporting characters, including Scott Eastwood who plays second to Kurt Russell's Mr. Nobody from the seventh installment, whose connection to Hobbs was mentioned only once but we now get to see in bloom. The same can be said for the love story between Dom and Letty, back in their element as a couple and their faith tested once more per the film's plot.

Theron's portrayal of the film's menacing cybervillain does come across as a bit phoned in as some critics have suggested, though equally better than her other acting counterparts. That said, while the film doesn't exactly bode well in the Oscar category for drama depending on who you've got your eye on, the film's solid staple is its narrative centered on family - the most important takeaway from the movie if you're a fan of the franchise and you're already long so appealed and attached to the characters that you want to see more.

The biggest letdown is the lack of a post-credit scene given how the film plays out which lends even more to the franchise's uncertainty. As much as it sucks, it could be a good thing so as to keep from spoiling fans too much, although I think this will ultimately be determined by what will lie ahead for the next film's campaign, and provided that fans still care about the franchise.

This was a slightly greater concern for me than the suspense standing from a lack of resolve the film's two biggest stars after all said and done which could be due to some interesring headlines in the past year, or, say, the hat trick the film pulls in presenting an otherwise supporting character in Statham's Decard Shaw after his more nefarious contributions to the previous movie from James Wan; I personally still can't wrap my head around it, but his addition no less makes the film just as interesting and fun next to the overall ridiculousness.

The next installment isn't set to arrive until 2019 which ought to leave plenty of time for Universal Pictures to get right what it needs to between finding the next director, as well as weaving together what needs weaving for the ninth movie to make the sense it needs to. A lot happens in The Fate Of The Furious, especially with the inclusion of actress Dame Helen Mirren in what is expected to be a recurring role from here on out, that will leave you amazed, surprised, delighted and even in total shock, and one can only hope that the next helmer can offer something with a bit more emotional resonance to bookend the automotive destruction and epic, balls-to-the-wall action that sells tickets.


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