The Fate of the Furious – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Fate of the Furious – 4/5 – There are times when you go to watch a movie, you will put aside some of the technique problems for simple enjoyment.  When a film plays in its own sandbox, it can deliver on pure excitement.  With the eighth installment of this franchise, they still find a way to deliver something different, unique and downright entertaining.  For all the usually ploys and clichés that can abound, The Fate of the Furious delivers that pure adrenaline rush.  No matter what may hamper it in terms of many other facades, I can simply say I had fun and you will too.

Premise:  When a new threat seduces Dom Toretto into betraying his family, the crew faces trials that will change the fate of their journey forever.

I am not going to go into any in-depth analysis on the actors/actresses.  By the time you reach this part of the series, you have a basic understanding of the ‘whose who’ within the film.  If you need to look, I recommend referring to the IMDb page.  In short, the actors/actresses within their roles have come into their own.  Each of them standout with a unique bravado that’s built upon the common archetypes of any action/thriller.  No matter who is on screen, you feel an array of emotions.  Regardless of the cheesy one-liners or obvious outcomes of any interactions, you are engrossed from the honesty and human facets of the characters.  There is a sense of joy that you get, one that shows an attachment to their lives and journey throughout the previous seven films.  No matter how outrageous any scenario comes to be, you are contemplative and flabbergasted by all that binds these individuals at their core.  Family is first, even as the story flips the script and turns one against another.

The direction goes about the typical free reign approach, allowing the film’s cast to be pushed forward from previous entries.  Just like the other seven films, you watch as the group moves into a ‘new and different’ path.  The constant evolving helps prevent redundant detail.  With this kind of organic approach, it allows the director (F. Gary Grey), to find ways to repurpose the storyline and make it something unique for the audience.  Planting the trope of ‘the rogue agent’, we see the main character (Toretto), turn his back on family.  Based on reasons unknown, his team must go up against him and a new villain (Cipher), as they unravel the mysterious elements of this espionage tale.  So much can be said about over-the-top action being recycled over and over without any context.  It creates a formula of boring attachment, which drives many series into the ground.  With this as the main challenge, this franchise distances itself by focusing on the characters.  With each new turn, situational drama and obvious perils, you hope they will succeed.  The added layers come in the form of predictable tropes within unobvious twists.  What you think might happen does, but with a slight touch that this series can only employ.  There is irony in mixing different techniques within a single genre.  It provides a balance between the characters with the ‘spy/thriller’ elements that you might find in any James Bond film.  Seeing this blend helps propel the story into a different stratosphere, pushing the terms of what this franchise can be.   Even for all this creativity, you will still a redundant outline:

Introduction to a situation > An over-the-top/outrageous action set piece > mixing of character fights, car chases and random expositional encounters > a harden choice leading to a new situation

No matter if you’re talking about the first, second or third act, they all connect in this linear way.  Knowing some of the outcome might distract, but there is something unique in the bond between the characters and the audience.  No matter how many plot holes crop up, it is just plain fun.  Once the film hits its climax, it is one of those ‘how to top everything’ scenarios.  This will either keep you going on that action high, or turn you away.  Even so, watching everything come to some conclusion helps you root for the characters and the idea about family staying true (in the end).

The visuals are as pure as the characters themselves.  Keeping the film as grounded as possible, the cinematography is enraptured by the locations.  From the aspects of filming in Havana, New York and snowy mountain ranges; the film captures the essence of the world it lives within.  The focal aspect of letting the ‘world’ dictate the action allows for the car chases, fight scenes and constant explosions to be vibrant and realistic.  No matter what kind of surreal concept they throw at the audience, it simply hits you with that ‘wow’ factor.  The score is predictable with its relative popular ‘music tracks, but it does add some fervor to the film.

The Fate of the Furious proves that if you provide a winning formula, longevity can be successful.  No matter the flaws, clichés and very predictable story elements; there is a lot of fun because of the characters and their journey.  If you’re a fan of the franchise, this is one for you.  A lot of spectacle, this is worth the full price of admission.

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