The Fate of the Furious

Even though blockbuster season doesn’t technically kick off until May with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Universal is shifting things into gear a little early with the release of The Fate of the Furious this weekend. It’s the eighth installment of the franchise that began all the way back in 2001, and it’s still unbelievable to me that the franchise has come this far. However, it will be up to audiences to determine whether that’s still a good thing or not.

As for The Fate of the Furious reviews, they are torn as to whether this is one of the best films in the reinvigorated franchise so far, or one of the worst. Reviews go from one extreme to the other, and some of the naysayers are those who have enjoyed the hell out of the recent run of sequels in the film series. We highlighted some brief Twitter reactions from CinemaCon a little while back, but the full reviews give us a more complete picture of the sequel.

Owen Gleiberman at Variety is particularly high on the sequel, writing:

If this series, over the last 16 years, has taught us anything, it’s that just when you think it’s about to run out of gas, it gets outfitted with an even more elaborate fuel-injection system. And that’s never been more true than it is of the eighth film in the series, “The Fate of the Furious,” which may just be the most spectacular one yet.

John DeFore at The Hollywood Reporter wasn’t quite as praiseworthy, but he didn’t complain much either:

The result isn’t as big a gear-shift as some fans expected in the wake of original castmember Paul Walker’s death. In fact, it recycles plot-twisting devices from earlier chapters and keeps action firmly in the street-hoods-save-the-world neighborhood entered a couple of years ago. Fate delivers exactly what fans have come to expect, for better and for worse, and it would be a shock to see it disappoint producers at the box office.

Scott Mendelson at Forbes, on the other hand, was supremely disappointed with this one:

For much of its running time, Fate of the Furious goes against what has made the franchise so enjoyable of late. The plot, with Dom being forced to go rogue and work for the side of villainy, keeps the core cast separate from each other for most of the film and keeps most of them in a state of misery and gloom. This eighth installment must depend on the relative chemistry of its dwindling ensemble. The picture cannot escape its arbitrary nature, existing as the first episode since the third with no real reason to exist.

Is it entertaining? Sure. Is it consistent with the last film? Absolutely not. And for a franchise that prizes itself for an almost Saw-like devotion to continiuty, it’s a little odd how much this one requires you to either forget what you know or ignore the inherant drama of what came before.

The Fate of the Furious

David Ehrlich at IndieWire, who though Fast Five was near-perfect, calls this the worst movie in the franchise:

“F8” is the worst of these films since “2 Fast 2 Furious,” and it may be even worse than that. It’s the “Die Another Day” of its franchise — an empty, generic shell of its former self that disrespects its own proud heritage at every turn.

“F8” may be a good 20 minutes shorter than either of the last two chapters, but the parade of dull action beats make the movie feel as long as the never-ending runway from “Fast and Furious 6.” Only the climax, split between Siberia and the stratosphere, displays the cartoonish ingenuity required to take advantage of the “anything goes” tone — it’s so dumb that it almost swings back around to being smart again. Almost.

Mike Ryan at Uproxx simply had a blast watching this movie:

The Fate of the Furious is not a short movie and about three-fourths of the way though it drags a little, but then the heat-seeking missiles and the submarines show and it clicks back into overdrive. (I had to do one sort of car pun. I’m sorry.) This isn’t my favorite of the series – that’s still Furious 7 (it’s hard to top those jumps from skyscraper to skyscraper, but this is a worthy entry). These movies know what they are. These movies know they are fun. These are fun movies! I had fun watching this. Fun! I mean, don’t you kind of want to see Dominic Toretto race a heat-seeking missile?

Leah Greenblatt at Entertainment Weekly seems to take the good with the bad:

At their balletic best, the script’s auto-erotic high jinks are conducted with all the tender, crushing care of a V8 symphony. But the movie Tokyo-drifts into tedium in its more chaotic, casually gruesome chase scenes, and the “serious” dialogue is so consistently clunky it feels like it’s been carved from woodblocks with a dull butterknife.

Thankfully, it’s frequently also much funnier and lighter on its feet than previous outings, and a lot of that credit goes to [Jason] Statham and [Dwayne] Johnson, whose love-hate bromance feels like the real core of the movie: Statham revels in his Cockney-you-wish-you’d-never-messed-with shtick, and Johnson is, as always, the human Humvee with a heart of gold: snapping handcuffs in half like breadsticks, bench-pressing cinder blocks for kicks, and lifting opponents by the scruff of the neck as if they were wayward kittens. (He’s also super committed to his daughter’s soccer team.)

fate of the furious running time

Jim Vejvoda at IGN was pretty pleased with the flick:

The Fate of the Furious is as ridiculously entertaining as you might expect. It’s certainly better than its trailers – which came across more like parodies of a Fast and Furious movie – suggested. Indeed, no eighth movie in any franchise has any right to be as fun or effective as Fate manages to be.

The Fate of the Furious provides plenty of the high-octane escapism and ridiculously elaborate vehicular mayhem fans of the series expect, while also laying the groundwork for a new phase in the franchise.

Kimber Myers at The Playlist thinks the movie is exactly what it needs to be:

Unsurprisingly, “The Fate Of The Furious” is not a subtle film. Muscles are huge (see above), cars are fast, and explanatory dialogue is eye-rollingly obvious. “Dominic Toretto has gone rogue,” Johnson’s Hobbs informs us when Dominic Toretto has gone rogue, in case there were any questions. But like Johnson (who gets most of the film’s best lines along with Gibson and delivers each one with charm), “The Fate Of The Furious” is almost impossible not to like. It achieves exactly what it sets out to do, successfully lighting up the brain’s pleasure centers at each opportunity with a variety of tools in its arsenal.

Finally, Haleigh Foutch at Collider has the most even-handed reception, laying out which fans will be happy and disappointed, and pointing out that the extremes, as far as what works and what doesn’t, make it difficult to properly assess:

If you’re simply here for the bulging muscles, scantily-clad babes, and excessive set pieces, then you’ll be satisfied with the eighth entry in the mammoth box office franchise. If you’ve spent the last sixteen years investing in the family and their ragtag tapestry, you might find yourself a little disappointed.

Ultimately, Fate of the Furious has some of the best and worst of the franchise, which makes it incredibly difficult to rate. The action sequences are conceptually clever, but they lack coherence, and though the final act follows suit with Furious 7 and borders on numbing chaos they are innovative spins on the nature of the Fast & Furious set-pieces we’ve come to expect. Gray is careful to weave in most of the hallmarks of the franchise: the action is next-level, the cars are sexier than they’ve ever been, and he elevates the character interactions to unprecedented heights of charm and comedy. However, the film sorely misses the mark on “family,” the concept that has become not only the catchphrase of the franchise but the backbone that unites it in spite of logic, gravity-defying nonsense, and inordinately complicated timelines. We’ve seen what this machine looks like when it’s running at peak performance, and Fate of the Furious is something that is close but so far away.

***

Overall, it sounds like the movie delivers all the action you’d expect, but the story doesn’t allow for the dynamic between this makeshift family to shine like it did in the previous installments. Though it’s nonsensical at its core, the movie may be missing some of the heart that kept it grounded on another level. Still, even those who didn’t have many good things to say observed that it was entertaining and still has redeeming qualities.

Find out for yourself when The Fate of the Furious hits theaters on April 14.

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