By Jason Yon
Elm Staff Writer
“The Fate of the Furious,” the eighth movie in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, crashed into theaters with a record breaking first weekend. Much like the previous movie, the eighth features a star-studded cast. Hollywood stars including Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, and Michelle Rodriguez tear up the road, with Charlize Theron and Kurt Russel working in the background. It’s pretty easy to see where the budget of this movie went. It is loaded with expensive actors, automobiles, and special effects. These are the main attractions of “The Fate of the Furious.”
For the few people that might actually care about the plot, there is in fact a story line for “The Fate of the Furious.” It involves a hacker named Cipher (Theron), an EMP device, Russian nukes, and Dominic Toretto (Diesel) being seemingly seduced into leaving his team to work for a terrorist unit. Without seeing the previous seven, it is hard to say if “The Fate of the Furious” is a direct sequel to whatever story is being added to, but it certainly feels like knowledge of prior events is important. There are many plot advancing events in the movie, some of which matter, but most of which don’t. The point of this franchise is not to tell a compelling story, but rather to impress with cars, explosions, and the occasional female appearance.
One of the most striking things about “The Fate of the Furious,” and probably the rest of the franchise as well, is the chemistry between the characters. In this movie, it truly felt like everyone on the team was simply being themselves. When they are standing together and interacting, they feel like family, the importance of which Diesel repeats in interviews. After all of the movies they’ve made together, the actors have to be fairly close, and it shows in the finished product. Everyone is comfortable with each other, and the jokes between them are great. While it succeeds in these parts, it fails in several other places.
The action is great. Things blow up and cars go really fast, to put it simply. This is where “The Fate of the Furious” succeeds. It knows what it is in these moments. There are the occasional shaky camera shots, but that is to be expected. It fails spectacularly when everything slows down and the plot is moved forward just enough to add something new. About halfway through the movie, everything grinds to a halt and the audience is left yearning for more cars and explosions. Of course, the movie would be nothing if it consisted entirely of the mindless action that makes it worthwhile. The story is a requirement but it drags the movie down in its entirety.
Regardless of whether people like the “Fast and Furious” franchise, which apparently they do, there will be more “Fast and Furious” movies, at least two more if you believe what you read on the internet. They’re not terrible. In fact they excel at what they’re supposed to do. The “Fast and Furious” movies can be described as some of the best bad movies. They’re a sort of guilty pleasure for some who can admit they are nothing more than a collection of cars, explosions, and well timed shots of Diesel looking cool. That’s just what they are.