Friday, April 14, 2017

Tonight's Movie: The Fate of the Furious (2017)

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (2017) provides a grand time at the movies for fans of the long-running series.

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are celebrating their long-delayed honeymoon when Dom is approached by a nasty terrorist known as Cipher (Charlize Theron) who wants him to do a job for her. A nuclear football is involved, and Cipher's got quite an unexpected surprise to force Dom to turn his back on his extended "family" and cooperate.

U.S. superspy Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) assembles Dom's usual team in order to figure out what's going on with Dom and put a stop to Cipher's plot. Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), computer whiz Tej (Ludacris), comic relief Roman (Tyrese Gibson), newest sidekick Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Mr. Nobody's lieutenant, dubbed Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), join a very confused Letty to stop Dom.

Mr. Nobody also ropes the team's arch enemy Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) into helping the group. There are some delicious surprises involving the Shaw family, and for my money Statham steals the film out from under some tough competition. He's wickedly funny and really makes the movie. (April 21 Update: A spinoff featuring Johnson and Statham is rumored...sign me up!)

There are a couple terrific set pieces, including some craziness with a missile which prompted Dwayne Johnson to jokingly Tweet "yes, I can redirect a torpedo w/ my bare hand." I'm not gonna argue with him...

The cherry on top of the ice cream is another tribute to Paul Walker's Brian O'Conner to close the film, a really lovely and quite perfect surprise which resonates strongly.

Some reviewers such as Leonard Maltin were less kind to THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS than past films in the series, but I'm with Brian Truitt of USA Today who pronounced it "wholly insane" while also saying that it "doesn't disappoint." True on both counts. My one real issue with the film is a long-running character being cruelly killed off.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS was directed by F. Gary Gray and filmed by Stephen F. Windon. Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, and Elsa Pataky round out the cast.

Parental Advisory: THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS is rated PG-13 for prolonged violence, language, and suggestive content. There is one non-graphic scene which is more disturbing than is typically seen in a Fast and Furious film.

Previous reviews in this series: THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001), 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003), FAST & FURIOUS (2009), FAST FIVE (2011), FAST & FURIOUS 6 (2013), and FURIOUS 7 (2015).

This was a two-film day for me! Coming soon, a review of YOUR NAME. (2016) and continuing coverage of the TCM Classic Film Festival.


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