There is excess, and then there is The Fate of the Furious, the eighth incarnation of one of the world’s most successful movie franchises. In short, this is stunt heaven, with a surfeit of fast cars in exotic locales (all of which are beautiful to behold) and fiery explosions.
As we keep getting told from one instalment to another, the key to Vin Diesel (Dominic Toretto) and his compadres is family. From the shores of Cuba and the streets of New York City to the icy plains off the arctic Barents Sea, the elite force known as The Fast and the Furious will crisscross the globe to stop an anarchist from unleashing chaos. In this case they are also out to bring home the man who made them a family in the first place and now appears to have turned rogue.
Back for more Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs, Michelle Rodriguez as Toretto’s wife Letty, Tyrese Gibson as Roman and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Tej Parker. Also returning are Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw, Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody, Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey and Elsa Pataky as Elena. Charlise Theron is the enigmatic operative known only as Cipher, the world’s most notorious cyber-terrorist and current Dom romantic interest. Scott Eastwood is introduced as Eric Reisner, Mr. Nobody’s protégé, aka Little Nobody; while Helen Mirren plays Magdalene Shaw, Deckard’s mother.
The Fate of the Furious is directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton). Screenwriter Chris Morgan, who returns for his sixth tour of duty with the franchise, says the movie “is really about the after effects of a profound moment that threatens to shatter everything you believe in. “What happens when the central figure of your family, the one who preached the lesson of never turning your back on each other, breaks those rules?”
The plot is virtually of no consequence and the dialogue is uninspired. I struggled to understand one word Vin Diesel said as he growled and scowled his way through the picture. Each of his crew picks up the odd scene here or there, with his Rodriguez, The Rock and Statham the most prominent, the latter performing heroic, if reckless, stunts with a baby. Theron is pure bad-ass, with nuclear proliferation her mind. Her hirsute sidekick has similar evil intent.
Quite frankly, notwithstanding the brilliance of the stunt work, F8 became way too much for me – sensory overload. It was overwhelming … and it felt overly long – very much so, in fact. Adrenaline junkies and Fast and Furious aficionados will, no doubt, rejoice. A ninth and a tenth instalment are already on the drawing board, if not locked and loaded, although outdoing the action and special effects in this latest offering will take quite some doing. Rated M, The Fate of the Furious scores a 6 out of 10.
Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron
Release Date: 13 April 2017
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television