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While most franchises run out of gas by the 2nd sequel, The Fate of the Furious finds a way to push out another hit thanks to the reminder that, at the end of the day, it is all about family.
Characters & Storyline
How does one get Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) to not only betray his extended family, but also his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez)? Manipulating his one weakness: Family. With that in mind, Cipher (Charlize Theron), a hacker who often makes Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) look like an amateur, manipulated that weakness to get Dom to do what she wants of him. All in the name of the lofty goal to hold the world powers accountable with the help of nuclear rockets.
Missed a really good quote by Cipher about choice theory. Will hunt it down.
It Was Surprisingly Emotional/ Rodriguez’s performance
There is this insatiable desire to compare this to Logan, if only because The Fate of the Furious and Logan are action movies with a long history of which have reached nearly 16+ years. However, comparing the two would be apples to oranges. Both may be fruit, but the texture, juices, and taste are different. What is similar though is you will get surprised by both the performances and how there is emotional depth.
Most of which comes from Rodriguez who I may have dogged in The Assignment, but she redeems herself with this film. If only because there is this weird and almost unrecognizable softness to her character. This idea that Rodriguez, of all actresses, was playing a woman who could just as much hang with the boys as she could keep her femininity, let Dom fight some of her battles, and still save his ass.
Though, also, it goes without saying that Paul Walker’s death still haunts the series but it leads to some touching moments. I won’t spoil every last thing, but you may have to take a deep breath to hold back the tears as Dom reveals something to his family.
There aren’t that many female villains for reasons I just don’t get why. Is it because most action heroes are male and no studio wants some sort of outcry about violence against women? Could it be that there is some twisted belief that the only time a woman can be a villain is if they are like Cipher and they never really get into a fist fight? Didn’t John Wick: Chapter 2 and XXX: The Return of Xander Cage prove that was incorrect?
Those thoughts aside, I enjoyed Cipher. Was she, on paper, that interesting of a villain? No. I mean, her reasoning for blackmailing Dom and her overall goal was clear and made sense, but Theron was what made her cool. Granted, her hair style was a ridiculous looking wig, but what villain, quality villain anyway, doesn’t have a hairstyle, manner of speaking, or tattoo which makes it clear they are that mother—–?
The Final Battle
It’s an action movie, so naturally suspension of disbelief has to be there or you won’t enjoy yourself. However, Deckard’s (Jason Statham) final fight in the movie involves killing a bunch of people while protecting an asset. One which, more often than not, he puts in situations where it sometimes is like he is using it as a shield if not just, like an idiot, putting it in harm’s way. So with bullets flying about, you can’t just write what happens as action movie nonsense.
The same goes for the destruction of the submarine you saw in the trailer. Now, considering what is in the submarine, the fact it can explode and not cause a huge explosion which destroys the ice we see everyone race on, made no sense to me. Granted, I am not an explosives expert, but ice + big explosion, to me would mean a lot of luxury cars, tanks, and trucks sinking into the water.
Overall: Mixed (Home Viewing)
In the end, while you can’t hold an action movie to the same standard as a drama or comedy, and you can’t necessarily say The Fate of the Furious is a mindless action movie, you still have to note the series has aged. In some ways that is a good thing, now people are starting to desire to settle down, have families of their own, and attempt to retire. Yet, at the same time, there are but so many car chases, gun fights, and close quarter combat scenes you can watch before you get… no necessarily bored, but indifferent. For, while characters have died in the series, you know for a fact after Walker’s death they were not going to kill off anyone. So you never feel like there is this chance to lose anything and it takes away from every fight, every chase, and any sense of consequence.
Hence the Mixed (Home Viewing) label for while the movie was entertaining, it ultimately seemed more about riding this franchise out to the people don’t want it any more than really trying to set some precedents or be worth putting on a pedestal. For while there is growth, after 8 movies, is it not wrong to not expect them to really create something which blows you away?