Written by on April 27, 2017 in Ask Randy - No comments

“Family no more…”

Randy here!
Soooo, review The Fate of the Furious…

The Fate of the Furious was fun and entertaining, like the previous outings. It’s better than Furious 7, feeling more like Fast and Furious 6. If you dig the franchise, well worth seeing it.

Do you really need a lengthy review of the 8th installment of an action franchise?

First off-REALLY?! FATE of the Furious? 
Not even F8 of the Furious?! 
Someone in Universal’s PR department should be fired. 
Lost opportunity. Really.

So first off: I, non-ironically, really enjoy the F&F series. 

Or at least since around the end of Tokyo Drift (FF3) and starting with Fast and Furious (FF4). There are two good reason for that: Director Justin Lin and Writer Chris Morgan.

Justin Lin directed Fast and Furious, Fast 5, and Fast and Furious 6. These are arguably the best movies of the series. There’s an energy that was missing after The Fast and the Furious (FF1). There’s a skill set to being able to make action scenes not only interesting & dynamic, but coherent for an audience. Someone like Michael Bay can do one VERY well and the other… sometimes. Lin’s use of family in films is what helps you connect with an audience when mayhem is onscreen. You care about the consequences. This brings up to Chris Morgan.

Chris Morgan has been sole credited screenwriter since Tokyo Drift (FF3) and it shows. YES, this is an action movie series involving fast cars and ever-increasing spectacular set pieces. But ever since he started writing them, something has been something more, something rare in franchises that don’t involve superheroes: He uses the movies’ history to add to each story. Even the Bond Series has only recently used that prior continuity to build their next movie. F&F has been doing it for YEARS!

Since the last-minute appearance by Dom in Tokyo Drift, the storylines have included the return of characters from all the way back to the first movie. Along with that, the actions that occurred in previous films have directly impacted all the stories. That’s what makes them rise above the others, what makes them a better franchise than most. The character and history actually shape what comes next..

The Fate of the Furious (F8) is no exception. The results of what Dom and his crew have done in Fast 6 and Furious 7 have come to fruition here. The movies have nearly always been about family & loyalty, to the point that it’s become nearly a joke (or a drinking game if you want!) of the series. This time out, Morgan and director F. Gary Gray has taken that idea of family as bond and flipped it. It is being used as a weapon against the crew and especially against Don. It’s is a fun & great take, breathing some new life into the series. Having Dom “turn heel” is a smart choice; having him face off against his crew on the streets, even more so. Vin Diesel as Dom is more fun as an outlaw. Sadly, I wish they’d pushed it longer, into another film.

By now, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel all know what they are doing with their characters by now. Gibson actually gets a nice action hero moment that’s a surprise. Kurt Russel shows up with exposition and gets sassy a couple of times. Scott Eastwood is likely being groomed as a replacement, but he is no Kurt Russell! (Can I really hold that against Scott? NO ONE is like Kurt Russell!)

Charlize Theron, dreadlocked and philosophical, is definitely a villain of a different stripe. She plays well off of Diesel’s chained up rage, out-thinking him… for the most part. Then again, the F&F movies aren’t really known for their memorable villains.

Jason Statham returns as a new ally of the team, having been the villain of Furious 7. He has the most fun, whether smack-talking John’s Luke Hobbs, or saving the day in the most amusing way since John Woo’s Hard Boiled. He’s been playing fairly serious as of late, so it was nice to see him have some fun, reminding me of him from the original The Trainsporter movie.

The New York action sequence is by far the most fun and showiest of the film. Gray shows an aptitude for them, though not quite up there with Justin Lin-yet! Most of the final action sequence was shown in the trailers. Like most things, the less trailers and tv spots the better off you’ll be surprised to see where things end up. As with previous movies, there are some fun cameos, both new and familiar characters. I won’t spoil them here.

So I doubt I’m going to change your mind if you don’t like the series. But I do enjoy the series far more than I ever expected to, even more than the last one… and F&F 9 & 10 are already in the planning stages. Many have joked that they end up in space! I’m hoping time travel, or at the least, the return of all the previous, living F&F villains to form a super-villain team-up Hall of Doom against our heroes!

No matter what, Dom and his family ain’t going away soon, so….


WORTH PAYING… Evening prices, if you want a challenging film.
WORTH MAKING TOYS? Already out from Mattel!

NOTE: There is no post-credits scene… strangely.

About the Author

Randy has been writing about reporting on toys for AFTimes since 1995 and shows no sign of stopping! He's been in all aspects of toys and collecting from retail clerk to toy company adviser, as well as been a toy expert for CNN. He's met Comic Artists to Adult film stars to Navy SEALS, during his time, as well as covered events from SDCC to American International Toy Fair. He also loves movies, so don't be surprised if that comes up too-as well as some movie reviews!

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