Cinematic Releases: The Fate of the Furious (2017) Reviewed

This was all bound to happen. And it pains me. 

After the tragic loss of Paul Walker, The Fast and the Furious franchise should have taken a cue and simply stopped. The Fate of the Furious is a brutal reminder of why sequels are generally not well received. At number eight, it's time to put this one in a shallow grave marked, We Did It For Family. 

With the final moments of Furious 7 serving as perfect closure to a series that has become more overwhelming and bombastic with each subsequent entry, the stage was set for the characters to go their own separate ways. That tear jerker conclusion lent itself to a nearly perfect ending to a franchise about fast cars, destruction, and all out mayhem. Sadly for loyal fans, Fate of the Furious is an abysmally long set of dumbed down scenes that destroy any semblance of respect that remained. F. Gary Gray delivers a film so absolutely outrageous and overwhelmingly devoid of plot, that it is not only the worst of the FF cinematic world, it is on par with the senseless action of the last Pierce Brosnan 007 flick, Die Another Day. 

The movie kicks off with a scene reminiscent of the original Fast and the Furious. After that, nothing makes sense. The action is anarchistic. And the themes of slick cars and fun get swapped out for numerous villains making miraculous returns to the playing field with god awful one liners and confused ambitions. Bad guys switch sides like its going out of style. And the scarred victims of previous Fast and the Furious movies are somehow back to fight again. Even though the stunning Charlize Theron is a scene stealer, she feels like an over the top, half baked leftover from any Bond knockoff. All the room she's given to stretch her legs as a baddie is sideswiped by cliched remnants of every power seeking evil doer we've seen before. This was probably a great paycheck for her, but my respect level for the actress just took a major hit. And Kurt Russell? Why? There is no character development any longer. There's nothing for us to latch onto. It's just the same old song and dance. It's played out. 

Bro, do you lift? We do. Torpedoes and shit. 

Somewhere along the way, The Fast and the Furious changed focus. The first three movies were more about family, friendships, and the sensuality of hot cars. While I've personally enjoyed them all as guilty pleasures, Fate gets it totally wrong. The script fails at every single turn, leaving carnage and wrecked vehicles in its wake. Even stranger is the absolute disregard for human life in this movie. Innocent people are dispatched like flies from beginning to end. Yes, it's an action film and it's not reality. But this takes the cake for twisting the innocence of the originals into a barren piece of cinematic excrement. When and how did the 'team' become The Avengers and how the hell did they release this mess? We know. We needed more dreadful one liners from Tyrese.

Without the interaction between Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, this chapter feels devoid of character as each and every one of the team members becomes a cold caricature of what they were before. The jokes feel forced and stifled. The action sequences are overboard and could never happen in our reality. And the manipulation of making Dwayne Johnson the central focal point just makes this seem like a forced retread that would have been better off left alone. With a $400 million opening weekend being touted, there will definitely be a number nine and that's fine. But, they need to get this thing back to its roots. Go out on a high note. Make it about racing. Mix in a little crime drama and stop making movies that turn everyday people into highly trained Navy SEALs. 

For me, The Fate of the Furious nearly ruins the legacy that they've created in the last sixteen years. It's just too much. Give me Tokyo Drift any day over this.