It’s quite apt that Fate of the Furious came out over Easter, because it’s essentially two hours of three massive eggs, in the shape of Vin Diesel, Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson, beating the living hell out of each other and everything around them.
When Dom (Diesel) mysteriously turns against his ‘family’, Hobbs (Johnson) is forced to team up with arch nemesis Deckard Shaw (Statham) and the old gang to get Dom back from cyber terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron).
This franchise keeps getting more outlandish, outrageous and quite frankly ridiculous with each addition. By now we’re a million miles, or a million quarter miles, away from The Fast and the Furious. However, that baggage has to be left at the cinema entrance with a film like this. Yes, it’s riddled with silly plotlines and plot-holes, but look past that and it’s quite simply a load of fun.
“Vin Diesel struggles in this film to do anything interesting at all.”
The stars of the show are easily Johnson and Statham; their back and forth is electric, with Statham in particular providing most of the laughs. Both relatively new additions to the franchise, they look set to take the driver’s seat for future instalments. They’ve become funnier than Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) and have far better action than Vin Diesel, who struggles in this film to do anything interesting at all.
Without the late Paul Walker, whose character Brian always seemed to ground Dom, Diesel’s character has become little more than a caricature. His acting chops are also heavily exposed thanks to sharing most scenes with Theron, who gives us arguably the best villain of the series. Sophisticated, charming and extremely threatening, she brings a danger to the film that is vital.
As expected, the film thrives during its action set pieces. Remarkably they never run out of new ways to destroy cars and buildings, and there’s an incredible prison riot scene. Director F. Gary Gray brings the flair he showed with Straight Outta Compton to the action. Slow motion, unorthodox camera angles and unthinkable stunts bring an impressive polish to the film.
What the franchise has mastered over recent years is having a large ensemble but giving everyone their own ‘moment’. They perhaps take it to the extreme with one or two minor characters in this film, but the likes of Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood and Kristofer Hivju are all clearly having a lot of fun. Even Helen Mirren pops up with a hilariously dodgy cockney accent.
Overall, the eighth film of the series probably ranks somewhere in the middle. It’s not as tightly put together as Fast 5 but it has The Rock, which immediately places it above the first four. With endless one liners that no other film could pull off (including the greatest ‘knock, knock’ joke of all time delivered by the former WWE wrestler) and all the explosions, crashes and gear changes one could ever wish for, Fate of the Furious is a crowd pleasing joyride. Fans of the franchise will enjoy more of the same, and if you don’t take it too seriously, it’s a perfectly fun time at the cinema.