It’s been two years since Furious 7 rolled into theaters and the gang has returned for another revved-up adventure in The Fate and the Furious, the series’ 8th entry. The biggest question surrounding this latest installment revolves around the late Paul Walker. Walker, an integral member of the cast who died during the filming of Furious 7 was featured prominently in that movie but here, his character is gone completely. However, series fans should be pleased that the franchise’s energy and excitement lives on.
Much of the leading cast has returned here with Vin Diesel leading his crew as Dom. “I choose to make my own fate,” he notes confidently early on. However, after a brief encounter with the mysterious Cipher (Charlize Theron), Dom betrays his crew leading Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), the former Security Service agent who has joined the team, to state the obvious: “Dominic Toretto just went rogue.”
The feature focuses on that betrayal as Dom aligns himself with Cipher and turns his back on his crew — a crew he often referred to as his family.
Like its predecessors, much of the excitement here comes from the car chases. The chases here often pit Dom against his former allies. Those allies include returning favorites Hobbs, Dom’s loyal wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), the put-upon (Tyrese Gibson), and the sarcastic Tej (Ludacris).
Watching Dom face off against them on the road — particularly in a sequence on the streets of New York — is particularly exciting. In that sequence, Cipher uses her technological prowess to really up the stakes in an explosive and thrilling chase.
The chases themselves compose mot of the feature’s main action sequences. From a darkly-lit battle in Berlin to a climactic one featuring a well-placed submarine, these scenes can be a bit messy and lack the cohesiveness of some of the chases from earlier installments. However, director F. Gary Gray adds his own take on them and there are a few great “wow” moments that more than make up for issues like the unnecessary fast cutting.
The script from Chris Morgan benefits from the interplay of the characters. This film’s highlights include scenes featuring Hobbs and Deckard (Jason Statham), the villain from the last film, who are forced to work together by the elusive Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell). Mr. Nobody’s sidekick Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) is a strong addition to the cast whose naivety is played for some great laughs. Statham provides a few laughs of his own in a climactic sequence featuring both an action sequence and babysitting.
The Fate of the Furious succeeds by using the same template as some of the previous films. It combines solid action sequences with funny moments to tell its commendable (though a bit long) story. Theron and Scott Eastwood are strong additions to this long-running franchise and one hopes they will return in future installments. Audiences and fans will likely be pleased that this installment shows that this franchise still has some great tricks up its sleeve.
Review by: John Hanlon