by Alan Yudman
Where to take the Fast and Furious franchise after the death of Paul Walker. Would the studio (Universal) be brave enough to just leave well enough alone and let the franchise come to its logical conclusion? Nah! Not a cash cow like this! So bring them all back for an 8th film.. THE FATE OF THE FUROUS.
Dom Toretto and Letty are enjoying their honeymoon in Cuba. Dom’s schooling the local badass on the Toretto code.. drive fast and family first. But the tranquility of paradise (is Cuba a paradise yet?) is shattered when a mysterious woman confronts Dom and recruits him to work for her. It’s a blackmail scheme that will test his code and his devotion to everything he believes in.
Charlize Theron shows up as Cipher, the hacker extraordinaire that is pulling Dom’s strings. Her plan is to control the world’s nuclear powers, but first she has to steal some shit in the most outrageous way possible. Dom’s team including Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs are working for Mr. Nobody again, stealing an EMP device. But Cipher wants Dom to steal it for her and because she has something on her, he does it. That is where he betrays the team and leaves them all wondering what the heck is going on.
The set pieces are typically outrageous– a swinging metal ball that takes out the bad guys’ vehicles, self driving cars raining from parking garages in New York City, a chase involving a nuclear submarine. F. Gary Gray gets Justin Lin’s tone perfectly and executes a really entertaining film.
I really had a good time watching this. But it left me with several questions, and not about the weird plot holes. When is a cast too big? The core group was always good enough, but they’ve added Johnson, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham, etc. The charm of the first few movies seems to be vanishing. That brings me to another question, is Tyrese Gibson’s Roman funny or just really freaking annoying. I’m starting to lean toward the latter. With so many people the villain doesn’t have much to do or much depth of character, so Theron seems a bit wasted in the role. Johnson is a true movie star. I loved watching every scene he was in.
So will there be another? Maybe. Oh who am I kidding. Of course there will be. The Fate of the Furious made $1 billion dollars. Universal knows a good thing when they see it. But whoever gets ahold of the franchise next may want to consider some slight alteration to make it just a fast, but maybe a little less furious.