The Fast and Furious series has to be one of the most unlikely mega franchises in cinema history. The series started out as a Point Break knockoff trading surf boards for fast cars in 2001’s The Fast And the Furious and was followed by two lackluster sequels with the focus moving away from the Dominic Toretto character. Vin Diesel returned behind the wheel full-time in 2009’s Fast and Furious, but the series had a huge revival when the franchise adopted the “We don’t give a damn!” attitude when it came to realism. Plus, the addition of The Rock in 2011’s Fast Five helped breathe even more new life into the plot moving forward. Fans and even critics began to eat up the campy car chase fun and wondered how the franchise would top itself next after cars battling tanks and luxury vehicles jumping from skyscraper to skyscraper.
Up next in the series that never seems to run out of gas is the eighth installment titled The Fate of the Furious. This new entry gets back to its original roots with Dom going to the dark side and joining forces with franchise newcomer Charlize Theron as the villainous Cipher. The remaining members of the team are forced to hunt down their former leader and as you can imagine they get a bunch of shiny new toys to smash and play with during their mission. Flipping the script and having Toretto go rogue is actually a welcome change-up for this new installment. Diesel gives his crew a worthy adversary as Bizarro Dom and the move also allows Dwayne Johnson to rightfully takeover as the new second lead in the series. Michelle Rodriguez also steps up and reminds people she can act playing Dom’s tough as nails wife Letty and as usual Tyrese Gibson brings the laughs in the comic relief department playing the whiny Roman who is very upset over his Interpol Most Wanted ranking.
The core group of The Fate of the Furious do their jobs to the fullest, but one member really stands out and that is Jason Statham. Reprising his role as Shaw brother Deckard, Statham steals the show as the reluctant new member of the team who has to work with the crew who put him and his brother behind bars. Statham especially shines in his scenes with Johnson’s muscle-bound badass agent Hobbs. The two share a tremendous amount of chemistry and if the franchise ever wanted to do a spinoff film, Shaw and Hobbs would make a fantastic duo to follow. Statham’s Shaw brings an edge to the team and is involved in some great moments involving a baby that will have you smiling ear to ear over the ridiculous nature of the action scene. The F & F franchise has done a nice job of incorporating the antagonists (Dom, The Rock & Shaw) from previous films into new stories and Statham is no exception.
You can tell the cast such as Kurt Russell playing the mysterious and fascinating Mr. Nobody are having a blast in this popcorn action opera, but everyone knows you don’t come to see the F & F gang for the acting. You pay your hard-earned money to see what motor vehicle lunacy the series will bring to the big screen next and The Fate of the Furious does not disappoint when it comes to the adrenaline fueled visuals delivered to the audience. There are races in the streets of Cuba where literally one of the cars is on fire. You have vehicles harpooning another car as if they were Captain Quint of the Orca shooting yellow barrels into a great white shark. It may sound absolutely ludicrous (and trust me, it is), but it’s also so much fun. By the end of the film the audience even gets to see a nuclear submarine partake in the unbelievable action. I wouldn’t expect anything less from The Fate of the Furious and this crew of criminals turned wildly entertaining special agents saving the world.
Overall, I give The Fate of the Furious 3 out of 4 stars.
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