Release Date: April 14, 2017
Director: F. Gary Gray
Writer: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Cast: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Kristofer Hivju, Scott Eastwood, Patrick St. Esprit, Janmarco Santiago, Luke Hawx, Corey Maher, Olek Krupa, Alexander Babara, Andre Pushkin, Robert Jekabson, Nick Gracer, Eden Estrella, Gary Weeks
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 136 minutes
Production Company: Universal Pictures, One Race Films, Original Film
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Budget: $250,000,000 (estimated)
Paying respect when and where it’s due, The Fast and the Furious franchise deserves all the praise it can take on. When you think they’ve ran out of fresh ideas, you’re humbled as they continuously surprise you, providing the next global threat of destruction. Directed by one of the greatest men behind the camera in the past twenty plus years, F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Negotiator, Straight Outta Compton) not only crafts a superb film, but easily one of the best features in this arc of films. What’s most impressive is how they all tie together, and despite being known as a throw away, non-stop action popcorn flick, the root of it all feels like being part of a loving family. There aren’t too many properties that can accomplish what’s been done here since it all started in 2001, and if the studio keeps this pace, these films can continue to flourish well on into the future.
Prior to this release, my personal favorite in this slew of films was part 6. Part seven was a complete misfire to say the least, but it’s completely understandable that the script had problems due to Paul Walker’s (RIP Brother) untimely passing. The issue wasn’t with the script, but some of the stunts were too ridiculous to bear. Everyone loves over the top action at times, but still want it to stay in the lines of possible reality in a perfect world. That’s why a majority of these movies are so entertaining. Living on the edge in a world of chaos, that’s only likely possible in a dream state. Though when Dom (Vin Diesel) and Deckard (Jason Statham) drive full speed ahead towards each other to crash, then hop out the car with no scratches to engage in a fist fight, it starts to get ridiculous.
This is not to say that every stunt in the new release was pulled off with perfection, but it was darn close and laugh out loud entertaining. There are a number aspects in the film that makes it hard to distinguish your favorite. Ranging from the classic street racing of exotic cars to traveling the world to various locations, giant guns with massive bullets, hand to hand martial arts, and explosions that can compete with Michael Bay. And it’s all balled up in a way that’s fresh and new. With a budget of $250,000,000, it’s well warranted, giving the creator the strength to do anything they’d want, and every dollar is well spent. The story is an ongoing saga, that doesn’t disappoint with constant twists and turns. Every time you think you’re ahead, the script lets you know you’re five steps behind. The family feeling comes from the chemistry of the entire cast. Even with them not all being biologically related, the trust they have with one another can’t be diminished. They’re like the super hero team of fast cars and crime that doesn’t want the job, but knows it’s their duty.
What’s also fascinating is there is still so much more to go with the story, with a great ending to cap it off, leaving the door wide open for more sequels. Each film in the past is rich, and as a new one is produced, the writer takes full advantage of past films while thickening the plot far beyond what you’d imagine. Dom has gone rouge with his team distraught as to why, and the writing behind this plot device couldn’t have been any better. I understood where all sides were coming from, giving them just cause to stay in the fight. Even with the villain choice of actions, her end goal was honorable, but the methods were horrific. Though villains are only great when they wholeheartedly feel they’re right, and Cipher (Charlize Theron) knocks her role out of the park.
If you know what you’re getting into, there’s nothing in the film to complain about. It gives you everything you’d want and more. The action is unbelievable, it’s funny when it needs to be, you care about the characters, and the plot is solid. Even when it does get over the top (and it does), it’s all in fun with the studio being self-aware and advising you to just sit back and take it. All you can do is laugh at how far they go, and it pumps you up to want even more. In my opinion The Fate of the Furious is the best film in the franchise and should be a staple in film school for embracing itself and taking anything on in the action realm. If you want one of the best starts to the summer movie season, you can’t go wrong with this one.