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‘The Fate of the Furious’ review: Big, dumb, fun action with a lot of heart

When the first trailer for The Fate of the Furious was released back in December, I thought it looked like the most pointless, ridiculous movie of all time. I was convinced that a franchise that I once loved had finally run out of ideas and that this would be the installment to drive it into the ground. And, I suppose I was right about one of those things: The Fate of the Furious is absolutely ridiculous. But, boy, is it a hell of a lot of fun.

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are on their honeymoon in Havana, Cuba, a place where it “doesn’t matter what’s under the hood” and street races take place on a beautiful oceanfront looking out onto the Gulf of Mexico. With Brian and Mia officially retired from the game they had once loved, and the rest of the team now off doing their own things, a normal life seems to have found its way to this globetrotting team.

Unfortunately, Dom’s honeymoon is cut short one morning by a beautiful, mysterious known only as Cipher (Charlie Theron), one of the world’s most notorious cyber-terrorists and soon-to-be love interest of the man she is about to entice. Somehow, someway, Cipher manages to seduce Dom into an underground world of crime he can’t seem to escape while ultimately turning his back on the people he loves the most: his family. Shit begins to go haywire in Fast 8 pretty darn quick and it’s hard not to love every moment of it.

The star-studded cast of The Fate of the Furious features the busiest man in Hollywood right now, Dwayne Johnson, as Hobbs, the DSS agent who organizes the initiative to stop Cipher’s plan of global annihilation, as well as Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw, the slick Black Ops assassin with the British accent that shares quite a bit of back and forth banter with his associates, particularly Hobbs, in what has to be one of the most well-written action movies I’ve seen in a very long time. However, despite all of the shit-talking, it turns Deckard may share something more in common with Dom and his crew than he originally thought.

While the addition of Scott Eastwood’s Eric Reisner, or, as Tyrese Gibson’s fast-talking ladies man Roman calls him, Little Nobody, the supporting cast feels stronger than ever in this movie. It’s hard not to love Ludacris as Tej, and Kurt Russell is incredibly charismatic as Mr. Nobody, who carries himself in a way that others in this movie simply cannot. Though, while everyone in The Fate of the Furious gave exceptional performances, it was Theron’s badass Cipher that truly was the icing on the cake in this action-packed adventure.

The character development in The Fate of the Furious is well enough to distract us from the fact of how ridiculous it truly was. One scene in particular that stuck out to me was when Cipher commands one of her hackers to begin controlling all of the cars in New York City in order to stop a limousine transporting a duo of Russian officials who just so happen to have a nuclear football with them, as well. It’s a moment so ridiculous that you’ll be rolling your eyes the entire time—but you can’t stay mad at the movie for long. There’s always something new, fresh, and exciting around the corner, which leaves for a film complete little to no dull moments (except for a few moments in the first act).

While watching The Fate of the Furious, it’s hard not to be thinking about the top-flight creative team director F. Gary Gray must’ve put together for this big, dumb blockbuster that carries a lot of heart. Stephen F. Windon’s cinematography is stunningly gorgeous, while the editing skills of Christian Wagner and Paul Rubell were careful enough to masterfully craft each frame of this movie together into something that, while silly, is intelligent and exciting to watch unfold. Sure, it can be a bit predictable at times, but you never truly know what’s waiting for you around the corner in Fast 8.

Written by Matt Casillas

Hailing from Phoenix, Matt Casillas is the founder and editor-in-chief of Silver Screen Beat and spends more time on Twitter than the recommended daily amount. You can often find him binge-watching episodes of HBO's Silicon Valley.

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