By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Who would’ve thought that after sixteen years, and seven films, the Fast & Furious movie franchise would still be racing along and having excited fans race to the cinemas for a dose of adrenaline-fueled fun and utter craziness? What is even more incredible is that after so many years and installments, the producers of this franchise have still managed to keep these flicks fresh and exciting for their audiences. The latest installment attempts to tone down some of the ridiculousness of some of the previous installments, but nevertheless still has some moments. With this franchise, though, these silly, often over-the-top sequences are to be expected from these movies, and if they were absent, the fans would be the furious ones.
Vin Diesel returns to the role of gear head Dominic Torreto. He and his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) have retired from the criminal life and are honeymooning in Havana, Cuba. After a fun race for respect, Torreto unexpectedly gets pulled back into the life he had hoped to abandon. An international cyberterrorist named Cypher (Charlize Theron) recruits the skilled badass against his will to carry out her nefarious plans, even if it means turning on his F&F family including DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). The rest of Torreto’s team get tapped by Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and his assistant (Scott Eastwood) to help them take down Cypher and bring Dominic home.
Written by Chris Morgan (writer of six F&F installments), based on the characters created by Gary Scott Thompson, and directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton, The Italian Job), The Fate of the Furious, as expected, has its share of silly, laughable, over-the-top moments, but wouldn’t be as much fun without them. The story has a few surprises and is mostly engaging for its lengthy run time. Morgan develops his protagonists decently, but doesn’t necessarily do the same with his antagonist. The comedy works tremendously well, on the other hand and the supporting cast really steps up their game when it comes to delivering the humor.
I had such a great time watching the antics of Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) as they trade barbs constantly and vie for the love of team member Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel). In fact the source of most of the comedy falls on Gibson who has excellent comic timing and a gift for line delivery. I also rather enjoyed the bitter, antagonistic exchanges between Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard (Jason Statham) who are forced to work together for a common goal. Michelle Rodriguez is always great as Letty and she gets to show a little more dramatic range here. Vin is, well, going to be Vin and as usual, it works well for his signature character. Charlize Theron has some cool and badass moments as the movie’s villain, but also has some silly, highly affected ones. She is a welcome addition to the franchise, but needs to tone down the seething just a bit.
Other than those few gripes here and there, I still really enjoyed this latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. I get the strong feeling that Torreto’s family might have at least one more in them. As long as the producers keep tapping creative filmmakers to join the family and if there is enough love in the family to keep the pedal to the metal, this franchise won’t run out of gas just yet.