‘Fate of the Furious’ continues legacy of franchise

‘Fate of the Furious’ is more of the same in the best sense of the term. (Photo courtesy of IMP Awards)

“Fate of the Furious” is more of the same – in the best way.

“Fate of the Furious” (F8) stars Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodrigues and many others from the cast of the first three films. While the films have sadly lost leading actor Paul Walker, “Fate of the Furious” features new-comers Scott Eastwood and Charlize Theron. “Straight Outta Compton” director F. Gary Gray certainly brings fantastic new direction to the franchise with “Fate of the Furious,” but the film does not stray far from its predecessors.

If you are expecting superb acting and plot in “Fate of the Furious,” you’ll be disappointed. The “Fast and Furious” franchise is meant for pure entertainment; the acting and plot are only enough to create a working story that is neither good nor bad. However, “Fate of the Furious” does manage to somewhat one-up “Furious 7” (2015) in this respect, because the action in this film is full throttle. These incredible action scenes are what keep bringing me back to the theater.

The red flag that popped up as soon as the trailer hit screens came from what was shown of the ridiculous plot. Even though the plot tends to struggle in most films within this franchise, this one appeared especially concerning. Dominic Toretto (Diesel) has been turned evil by the antagonist Cipher (Theron). I was very concerned this plot would be poorly executed, because Dom’s character revolves entirely around his dedication to family. Yet I’m happy to say that the reasoning for Dom’s character change is totally justified.

With Dom being portrayed as evil, Dom’s “family” of automotive criminals then turns to longtime friend and former foe Luke Hobbs (Johnson) to lead them. “Fate of the Furious” also brings back an array of characters from the past, most importantly Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), whose banter and chemistry with Hobbs throughout the movie is hilarious. I was worried how the plot would manage to turn Shaw into a  “good guy,” considering all the things his character did to the protagonists in “Furious 7.” While his transition to being a hero isn’t executed very well, Statham is ultimately a fantastic addition and manages to be one of the funniest members of the cast.

What I kept coming back to, however, is that there is one element to this film that is missing – Paul Walker. Walker’s death near the end of the production of “Furious 7” was sudden and tragic. The way “Furious 7” manages to wrap up his character in the end is incredibly heartfelt and “Fate of the Furious” continues to respect Walker by not creating a CGI to fill the role of his character. The cast runs without him and while it does somewhat work, Walker’s charisma was a key missing aspect.

“Fate of the Furious” was as I expected it would be, just as entertaining as the franchise has always been. However, if you’re looking for anything more than a dumb, fun action movie, this might not be for you.

Score: 14/20.

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