The Fate of the Furious
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS is an American franchise based on high-octane action films, usually involving vehicular mayhem, that kicked off in 2001. Its commercial success resulted in seven sequels and by 2015 it had become Universal’s biggest franchise of all time. We are talking mega money here. In all, the seven movies have grossed $3.9 billion dollars in global box office revenue. The seventh sequel was meant to be the series’ swansong following the death of its much loved central star Paul Walker in an unrelated car accident. Surprisingly touching in its tribute, and clever with its seamless computer generation of the dead star in its finale, the film blasted all six previous incarnations out of the ball park and took $1.5 billion dollars on its own.
Well Universal’s moneymen could hardly ignore that sort of success so inevitably we now have the first of what will be a final trilogy to retire the series, THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS. This will be catnip for action junkies as all the stops have been pulled out here and the scale is vast.
There really is little need to analyze the plot. The screenwriters have demolished all remnants of logic and merely created a platform to feature some of the most outrageously over the top and spectacular set pieces ever filmed in this genre since MAD MAX : FURY ROAD. But in brief, Dom (Vin Diesel) has gone rogue and turned on his ‘family’ and is working with the arch villain Cipher (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) who has powerful leverage over him leaving him with no choice but to co-operate. She is an ice cold computer hacker and crime boss who needs his help to steal both a nuclear device and launch codes with which she will unleash a third World War. So the stakes are raised this time – the survival of the planet is under threat.
There is a surprising array of notable names incorporated into the wildly fanciful and utterly nonsensical storyline. Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell, Luke Evans and Scott Eastwood join Dame Helen Mirren no less in adding loads of star power to the action.
The F & F films have been steadily setting the action bar higher each time and fan’s expectations have been soaring along with them. Trying to eclipse the remarkable scenes in the seventh production sees director F. Gary Gray digging deep into his bag of tricks and the ever escalating set pieces defy gravity and reason and drench the audience in dazzling kinetic imagery. The opening scenes of a street race in Cuba lead on a gigantic wrecking ball swinging pendulum-like through the streets of Berlin, downtown Manhattan turned into a demolition derby with cars raining down from buildings and the mind-boggling pop absurdist finale with a truly explosive chase across the frozen tundra incorporating cars, armored personnel carriers, tanks, snow mobiles and – wait for it – a Russian nuclear submarine crashing up through the ice.
This would possibly rate 5% on an intellectual scale but on a visual and guilty pleasure, wild-ride scale it comes in at 95%. If you crave a modicum of reality and logic from your action flicks then this is short on both. But if you are happy to suspend disbelief totally and put your brain in neutral while indulging in sheer escapist nonsense done on a truly mammoth level – the two hours will fly by at the speed of the cars, bullets and fists.