For those unfortunate who haven’t seen Fate of the Furious, I trust I will not have to do much explaining about the backstory; everyone has to have seen at least one of the eight films in the Fast and Furious franchise.
Street-racing thief and several-time world savior Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) returns, as could be expected, with his puckish crew (Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris) and every explosion, car chase, and melodramatic monologue about ‘family’ that you have seen before.
In a world of few consistencies, the reliability of the Fast and Furious franchise is a comfort; that there will be another movie, it will be ridiculous, and it will make a metric crapload of money is one of several Hollywood guarantees.
As of the Monday following opening weekend, the film has made more than $540 million, sending box office records set by 2015’s The Force Awakens into the stratosphere. But why is it so successful? Why do people continue to see the same movie, over and over again?
Reaching as far back as 2001, the series has history with most viewers, many enticed by the overarching themes that have changed very little. Family is all-important, loyalty to them comes before anything, and the rules that govern society cannot shake this unwaverable bond.
As much as this sounds like something almost out of the Mafia, each film is still enjoyable, building upon its predecessor in scope while featuring the same tightly-knit ‘family’.
Even as cars literally rain down from the sky to bury a Russian Diplomat’s limousine, the audience can only stare in awe and laugh at the inevitable fun poked or recurring gag between the characters.
It is not perfect, but there are few that would ask it to be. There are fewer “scantily clad ass shaking on the hood of an expensive car” scenes than usual, but it is still a mainstay to the franchise, regardless of how tiring.
For all the gruff, often well deserved, about middle of the road plot development and leads being virtually invincible, Fate of the Furious is able to differentiate enough from the crowd for audiences to latch on.
The action is well-shot and easily digested (as opposed to a competing franchise, Transformers and its indistinguishable blurs of moving metal) and characters are consistent and endearing.
New stars add to pack the already impressive cast, as Charlize Theron debuts as the cyberterrorist Cipher. While her lines are cringe-inducing when discussing “choice theory” or “fate”, Theron delivers them succinctly and proves to be in an entirely elevated caliber.
With or without performances as tight and tense as Theron’s (the rest are cheesy and glorious), Fate is a simple pleasure, and like the rest of the series, suggests people are just as easy to understand; they like to watch good people and their cars blow the smithereens out of bad people and their cars, provided a quality quip is attached.
Fate of the Furious deserves a star out of ten for every movie in its palatable and grin-inspiring franchise.
Better than: Power Rangers
Not as Good as: Furious 7, at least at making me cry in public
You may also like: XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, an equally cheesy Vin Diesel vehicle