By Davis McCondichie, E23 Technical Producer
The Fast and Furious franchise seems to have finally run out of runway with this lackadaisical eighth installment, “Fate of the Furious” (2017).
The plot of the movie is relatively simple. That would not be a critique if the movie could justify its two-hour run time. Spoiler: it cannot.
The whole film centers on the idea that Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has betrayed his family of fellow drivers and begun working for an evil hacker that goes by the name Cipher (Charlize Theron). It is up to the rest of the team and the franchise’s former villains (played by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham) to save the day and bring Toretto back.
Instead of two hours of chase scenes, we get a film consisting mostly of people sitting around typing on computers and trying to track their fellow driver. This movie is slow.
I guess that is why they took the word “Fast” out of the title.
This early-season blockbuster hoped to kick off the summer with a huge bang. However, to audiences, with and without knowledge of the series, the movie will likely stall out without even a whimper. “Fate of the Furious” seems to miss the mark at every trope we have grown accustomed to with the movie series.
Sure, there are fast cars, but their inclusion seems forced—even for a Fast and Furious movie.
We have one true race scene to open up the film in Havana, Cuba. It is excellent. The scene is classic Fast and Furious, and will cater to the nostalgia of fans of the early films.
However, after that, the use of cars makes no sense, and the justification for the aforementioned race makes even less sense. Dominic ends up doing much of his villainy outside his car anyways, and most of the chase scenes are manic and lead to nothing.
There were no clever car stunts, and the CGI used in these scenes was terrible. Overall, the car parts of this film feel unnecessary to a completely new level, and even when they happen, they feel uninspired. There is no moment that will make audiences go, “Wow, I never knew you could do that with a car”.
Then, the film tops the lack of creative car scenes with failed tone. Fast and Furious movies are supposed to be fun and lighthearted. At least, that is how these past films have come off. The latest installments never take themselves too seriously.
“Fate of the Furious” is guilty of being excessively serious and trying way too hard to blend in some comedy with the grim tone of the film. Dwayne Johnson and Tyrese Gibson still have their moments to shine as comedic relief. However, the bleak storyline cuts off these funny moments rather hurriedly.
During the sparse action scenes shaky cam footage disorients the viewer through its rapid editing method and disdainful lack of centering.
The only action sequence worth remembering is the prison break. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham fight their way through a prison, and the camera adjusts the shutter speed to create an aesthetic blur. What we end up getting is a stylized massive fight scene that could be the best part of any action movie. The scene is one glaring bright spot in this film.
To put it frankly: “Fate of the Furious” is not worth anyone’s time. Even by the franchise’s standards, it misses the mark. The car chases lack new ideas, and the tonal shifts will be a quick turn off to audience members.
However, if you like to see actors type on keyboards and act like they speak hacker, then go enjoy this film. That is apparently their target audience. If, however, you hate crappy one-liners delivered by lazy villains and long periods between action scenes, then seriously do not go see this movie.