The Biggest Action Franchise in Hollywood One-Ups Itself
The newest addition in The Fast and Furious franchise, a series that seems to keep getting bigger and better with age, is The Fate of the Furious. Starting all the way back in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious; a quick money grab capitalizing on the growing imported car culture, the series didn’t really begin to hit it’s stride for another 10 years until Fast Five – rebranded as an Ocean’s 11 heist with cars.
These blockbusters; which has including cars being parachuted out of a moving plane, cars dragging a giant bank vault through the streets of Rio, and cars flying through the air between skyscrapers, keep finding new ways to make the action bigger and more insane with each installment. The franchise has survived rotating directors, cast drama, and the loss of it’s star as the last four films all rank in the top 100 film box office revenues all time. The Fate of the Furious currently sits at #11 with $1.24 Billion.
When buying your ticket for The Fate of the Furious, you best know what you’re signing up for: minimally coherent plot, ridiculous dialogue, actors with varied success at delivering lines; and without a doubt, the best action sequences in Hollywood. Scene after scene of perfectly orchestrated, completely bananas action that somehow tops itself over and over again in a never-ending game of one-upmanship.
The Fate of the Furious, directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) and written by Chris Morgan (writer of Fast 3/4/5/6/7/8), stars the usual cast – Vin Diesel, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jason Statham, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, and new baddie Charlize Theron.
This review would miss the point if we focused on storyline, cinematography, and plot to crudely pick it apart. Audiences come to this movie for the action, so instead here is a review of each major action sequence in terms of pure movie spectacle
Drag Race in Cuba
Set-Up: Dominic Toretto challenges a local Cuban, owner of ‘the fastest car on the island’, to a race so he can save his cousin’s jalopy from repossession. Dom agrees to drive his cousin’s car, identified as ‘the slowest car on the island’.
Best Spectacle: Dom piloting the car turned rocket in reverse after its caught fire from too much nitrous; barely missing a group of children as it careens into the sea.
Score: 6/10 – This is one of the more cartoony sequences in the film; and the car fire doesn’t look realistic.
Set-Up: The ‘crew’ tries to steal an EMP (a super-bomb as far a viewers need be concerned) before unknown sinister forces get it but the crew is double crossed by one of their own.
Best Spectacle: A giant wrecking ball destroys the chase cars, narrowly missing our heroes.
Score: 4/10 – A short sequence that was used more for plot development (yes – there was plot development!).
Set-Up: Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs, imprisoned for failing to successfully keep the EMP from the bad guys, finds himself face-to-face with previous series villain Deckard Shaw (Statham) in prison; leading to a full scale prison riot.
Best Spectacle: Highly choreographed martial arts between prisoners/guards/Hobbs/Shaw. Also – Hobbs literally walking through rubber bullets before disposing of guards two at a time.
Score: 10/10 – Excellent fight choreography and kinetic action that is worth multiple viewings.
New York ‘Car Fight’
Set-Up: Dom, now working for the evil cybercriminal Cipher (Theron), leads a one man heist to steal a ‘nuclear football’ in downtown NYC.
Best Spectacle: Cipher hacking into the grid and auto-piloting cars, turning them into missiles as she rains down wanton destruction. Also – the gang all harpooning their cars into Dom’s muscle car as they surround him; but Dom’s beast of a car overpowering them and whipping them all into the air like hot wheels cars.
Score: 8/10 – Most of this makes no sense but a fun wrinkle when cars start literally falling out of the sky. Bonus points for Dom’s bad-ass body armor/mask get-up.
Attack on the Russian Submarine Base
Set-Up: Who knows at this point? The gang has traveled to Russia to stop Dom from stealing a Russian Submarine for Cipher.
Best Spectacle: Traditional shoot ’em up gun violence.
Score: 2/10 – This is just a set-up for the finale, nothing special.
Finale Part #1 – Submarine vs. Cars
Set-Up: The Russian Submarine is headed out to sea under a frozen lake while the heroes race on top of the ice to stop it.
Best Spectacle: A lot going on in this scene – we’re picking Roman (Tyrese) nearly dying as his car falls into the frozen lake before a tow line from a teammate rescues him, letting him ride his car door like he is wakeboarding. Later he gets to use the car door to down an ATV baddie.
Score: 7/10 – A lot of great stuff happens here, and this lasts for a good twenty minutes.
Finale Part #2 – Shaw Brothers Rescue on Plane
Set-Up: Deckard Shaw and his previously incarcerated brother Owen (Luke Evans) sneak aboard Cipher’s plane to save Dom’s son and take down some baddies along the way.
Best Spectacle: Deckard Shaw finding more and more creative ways to take out the bad guys while keeping one eye on Dom’s kiddo.
Score: 9/10 – This scene has everything – action, comedy, martial arts, gun violence, choreography. Writer Morgan and director Gray take advantage of Statham’s under appreciated deadpan comic delivery.
8/10 – If you want to see the best spectacle in Hollywood, buy yourself a ticket to The Fate of the Furious; but don’t complain about a lack of plot.