REVIEW: “The Fate of the Furious” aka “Lord, What Have I Done?”

RATING: I’m not even going to attempt to rate this thing. I’m just not.

There’s a saying that you either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. With The Fast and the Furious franchise, the opposite is true. After eight films (EIGHT films!), the franchise has persevered against all rational odds and has emerged as one of Hollywood’s indisputable heroes.

The best explanation I can come up with is this: the franchise has become a triumph because it knows what it is. It is a fun, humorous, totally idiotic action franchise that makes absolutely no sense.

This franchise started out as an over-the-top action film that could – full of fast cars, women in skimpy outfits, and mindless humour. Now, it has turned into a cultural phenomenon. We have Vin Diesel talking about Oscar nominations (yes, that happened), billions of dollars made, and a “candy-ass” feud (termed so by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson himself) that has gripped the imagination of fans across the globe. (I’m #TeamDwayne, just so you know.) We also have film-goers like me, who has never seen a Fast and Furious film in its entirety before, begrudgingly succumbing to its mystical pull.

My younger brothers were kind enough to pay for my ticket and so it was, that for the first time in my life, I sat down in a theatre to watch a Fast and Furious film. The theatre is very crowded (surprise, surprise), and throughout the entire film, we could hear gasps and laughter from the crowd as the film became crazier and crazier. As a newcomer to this franchise, I was gobsmacked. There were so many questions! So many eye-rolls! So many moments that were so cringey that they bordered on being amazing! I couldn’t help but wonder – is this what it feels like to be a Fast and Furious fan? Is this mind-numbing, exhilarating and conflicted sensation the reason why audiences keep coming back time and time again? Because if it is, then I finally, finally understand what the fuss is all about. It is intoxicating to simply let go and enjoy the ride. (And, yes, the pun is intended, because have you seen the pun in this film’s title? Genius.)

Okay. Let’s rewind a little. The plot of The Fate of the Furious.

The plot is basically this: there is a cyber terrorist (is this a thing?) played by Charlize Theron (!) called Cypher (again – is this a thing?) who is rocking dreadlocks (which definitely should not be a thing) and blackmailing our hero, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel – the only person who seems to take this whole franchise seriously), into betraying his own team and helping her take over the world or something. Good ol’ Dom gets to act all evil as he helps Cypher hi-jack every car in New York City except for the one they’re actually trying to capture. (Don’t ask.) He gets to turn his back on his family (if you take a shot every time the word “family” is said in this film, you’d be drunk) and gets to look super broody while he struggles to save everything he holds dear. There are also a few faceless Russians, a bunch of fancy cars, and many, many bottles of beer.

Yes, there is no logic to this film at all and it has plot holes large enough to sink the Titanic. But for every ‘what the hell’ moment, there is a ‘I can’t believe this awesome thing is happening’ moment. Here are some of them, and yes, these are spoilers, but who cares about spoilers in a Fast and Furious film anyway?

A List of Awesome Things in The Fate of the Furious

  • The Rock coaching a girls’ football team and leading them in a Haka. Yes, you’ve read that right. And the scene is as awesome as it sounds
  • The Rock trash-talking Jason Statham 
  • The Rock using his foot to kick a torpedo while holding on to the side of a speeding car
  • The Rock beating up a bunch of guys just because
  • The Rock doing basically anything
  • Helen Mirren’s atrocious cockney accent and her brief, but hilarious cameo
  • Luke Evans’ all-too-brief appearance, because we all need a little more Luke Evans in our lives
  • A baby that might be the cutest baby in cinematic history
  • A parade of cars raining down from a ten-story building, which proves surprisingly satisfying
  • The team (or ‘family’) being full of people of colour – it is important to note that, despite its ridiculous nature, the Fast and Furious franchise has been incredible when it comes to the issue of representation. Amazingly, Scott Eastwood is the only white guy in this entire team, and because he is Scott Eastwood, he nearly doesn’t count

Other Stray Observations

  • Poor Elena (Elsa Pataky). She is probably the most tragic character in this entire franchise. The girl loses her husband, has to fall in love with Vin Diesel, gives birth to his child, and then gets shot in the head by Tormund from Game of Thrones
  • These street races. They are literally putting innocent lives at risk! Am I the only one who sees this?
  • The barbecue in the last scene looks delicious. But then again, they always do
  • The Oscar thing. Yes, Vin Diesel is not playing around, guys. He is coming for that Best Actor statuette!

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