REVIEW: Eighth ‘Furious’ Takes The Franchise To Whole New Level Of Crazy

Do you have a restaurant you enjoy going to that isn’t perfect but you still enjoy it? There’s some dishes there that aren’t the best of all time, they won’t win any awards, but they’re good, comfort food. That’s more or less what “The Fast and the Furious” franchise has become.

Since the fourth film came out in 2009, the series has more or less found a working formula and the eighth movie follows it pretty closely. As a result, those who’re familiar and have enjoyed the action set pieces of late should be able to have a good time at this latest installment.

Like the other recent pictures, part 8 of “Fast and the Furious” introduces a new threat in a terrorist named Cipher (Charlize Theron) and in response, agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) gathers a team of outlaws led by Dom (Vin Diesel) to fight back outside the books. The difference this time around, though, is that Dom ends up going rogue and appears to betray his friends that have become like family.

As a result, the remaining group of protagonists have to walk a tight rope in stopping Cipher while also dealing with Dom. To help them out in the process, the villain from part 7, Deckard (Jason Statham) is brought in to assist. Dom, meanwhile, has to deal with the issue that’s made him fight against his friends in the first place.

Aside from the sub-plot showing Dom deal with his issue that’s caused him to go rogue, “Fate” goes along with the aforementioned formula and it works for pure entertainment. As I said in the lede, this whole series has been one that isn’t perfect, in fact as films they’re not even technically good by standard metrics such as acting and script.

And yet, they do have a sort of charm that just keeps drawing viewers back to it, me included.

Many of the characters, especially Hobbs, have plenty of charisma to go around making them quite likable and they also have an enjoyable level of camaraderie. So, even though it’s more or less a given that the protagonists will all make it at the end of the film, their likability makes the film fairly watchable.

A hook to engage audiences even more than the characters, though, was the fantastic action featured in some key sequences. One of those moments as an example is a prison riot where Hobbs and Deckard fight their way through criminals and guards in the most over the top fashion. It’s wild, but it’s also all sorts of fun.

The same can be said for the movie’s full blown extravaganza that is its finale. More or less, the heroes take on a nuclear submarine.

Now with that said, there were some moments that went a little bit too far. A sequence in New York City, for example, causes so much collateral damage with such little disregard that it’s laughable. There’s also the factor of the protagonists working with Deckard when he tried multiple times to kill Dom’s family, even succeeding with one of them.

There’s also the tonal shifts that don’t really work. A few scenes include some dark moments dealing with what Dom’s going through then it will cut to Tyrese Gibson’s character Roman cracking jokes. It’s the reason that these movies should stick to a bit more of a traditional action movie format, which have led to better movies with some of the predecessors.

Additionally, the latest addition to the franchise’s team, Ramsey, doesn’t fit in at all. Not only does she have none of the driving or fighting skills as the rest of the group, but she also lacks the attitude and charisma that the rest of the team does. Also, Nathalie Emmanuel gives the character very little energy in the performances.

Overall, if you walk into “Fate of the Furious,” you know what you’re getting yourself into. With that in mind, I can just say that this, like the others, brings plenty of excitement to entertain your eyes and ears for two hours. However, it’s not the best of the franchise. 3.0 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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