Monday, May 29, 2017

The Fate of the Furious (2017) Review:

Putting all criticisms aside, it is truly amazing how quickly this franchise has expanded. In a matter of less than two decades, a simple racecar thriller known as The Fast and the Furious (2001) has created practically as many sequels as the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) did. That's mind blowing. This should prove to viewers who do and don't enjoy it that the producers must know what they're doing when each film passes its predecessor. However being that actor Vin Diesel has clearly stated that there will only be 10 entries in the story, it's rather difficult to think anyone would stop there. Some fans might have hoped that after Furious 7 (2015) was released, would mark the end of the series. Looking at it that way would make sense because of how well the film sent off Paul Walker and his character. With that, there was concern of how the next entry would deal with this absence. Don't worry though, everyone on board seemed to have thought of everything.

"So now we gotta get Dom?!"
Sometime after the events of Furious 7 (2015), Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are relaxing when Toretto is confronted by a person called Cipher (Charlize Theron). Not long after blackmailing him, Cipher begins using Toretto to do her dirty work. This in turn betrays the family he has been so heavily involved with from the start. Trying to stop Toretto, Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) arrives and adds Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to the crew, which many hesitate on. Yet Letty, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Ludacris) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) all know they need all the help they can get. Cipher also has a deadly yes-man by the name of Rhodes (Kristofer Hivju) who isn't afraid to kill. Meanwhile Mr. Nobody added a newbie to his roster too, that being Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood). But that's not all, there's several other character appearances. Writer Chris Morgan seems to know just how to give a wink and nod at every turn.

Character development is continuously growing throughout the entries. New roles are added, which then in turn begin to build on their foundation with a series of trials that'll prove themselves to others. All actors within the story give amiable performances. This goes for protagonists and antagonists. The fast crew all have great quips with each other and even manage to respectfully squeeze in a reference or two to Paul Walker's character. The comedic elements are what really help push the likability of these characters. Seeing Tej and Roman or Luke and Deckard bicker, is all for a good laugh. Little Nobody shows that even he can be funny due to his lack of understanding with the original crew. Charlize Theron and Kristofer Hivju as the two baddies are great at being the villains. They show no mercy in their killing. This will also show to the fans that the people working on this movie know how to play with one's emotions. Not everything is green pastures for the fast crew.

The sequences involving action are well staged. It's also great to know that director F. Gary Gray utilized as many practical effects as he could. And like always, the action is turned up another notch to the point of being unexpected. Each time, the stunts get crazier and crazier. Lots of cars were destroyed, there's no doubt about that. Unfortunately there is one minor gripe about this. When things start to get harry in New York, the scene will possibly become a little over gratuitous in its delivery. There's a point where so many cars are getting wrecked, it can get comparatively overwhelming. At some point viewers might ask, "Okay we get it, how much of that is needed?" kind of question. Labeling that as an isolated issue, the rest of the sequences are fine because it is not so blatant in its destruction. As for the physical possibilities of handling these scenarios, it's highly unlikely. This franchise is at a point though where belief has to be suspended to a point.

Charlize Theron
Camerawork has always been a strong point in the franchise's last few entries and it remains that way. Thanks to Stephen F. Windon, the way the camera captures all action and visuals blends very well together. Again this all goes back to finding ways of being creative. There are several angular shots that work to give the viewer a better of idea of what it's like to be in a certain situation. This also applies to the non action related shots. Wide scope panning shots are also much appreciated in letting the viewer take in the sights to see what and where the characters dwell. All visually pleasing. Another weak point however is Brian Tyler's musical score. Although he has been scoring the franchise for a number of entries now, there's not much to mention over it because its sole purpose is just to elevate the experience with no emotional weight. That's not to say it isn't composed competently, but it does not add to the pressure of what is being presented on screen. All in all though, another solid entry.

Fortunately for this franchise, the cast and crew know how to keep pushing each new film to entertain. The music is sadly undetectable and one action scene feels a little too much, but other than that, the rest of the action, the actors, camerawork and story make another great installment in the series.

Points Earned --> 7:10