The Fate of the Furious

Posted on April 14, 2017 at 11:52 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggestive content, and language
Profanity: Some strong language
Violence/ Scariness: Extended action-style violence, guns, explosions, chases, crashes, characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues: Diverse characters
Date Released to Theaters: April 14, 2017
Date Released to DVD: July 10, 2017

Copyright Universal 2017
Copyright Universal 2017
Before we get into it, let’s take a moment to remember how we got here. The first “Fast and Furious” movie was comparatively modest in scope, the story of a cop (Paul Walker as Brian) going undercover to investigate illegal street racers, led by Dom (Vin Diesel). The cop falls for the sister of the racer and for the living-life-a-quarter-mile-at-a-time existential rush. Think “Point Break” with cars instead of surfboards. Somehow, now on the eighth movie since the 2001 original with two more in the planning stages, it has turned into an X-Games version of “Mission Impossible.” It’s 3/4 chases, crashes, shoot-outs and explosions, 1/8 bro-mance (“I don’t have friends; I have family”), and 1/8 quippy humor with a dash of fan service for anyone who has been paying enough attention to remember who all of the characters are. That leaves no room for plot or logic, but you can’t have everything, and this one goes with star power instead.

So over the course of eight films we’ve gone from living life a quarter mile at a time racing souped-up home brew stock cars to globe hopping save-the-planet adventures with the help of grateful no-name international law enforcement (literally, Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody, now with an intern played by Scott Eastwood, known as Little Nobody), increasingly improbable settings and vehicles (a nuclear sub in this one, pretty much all that’s left for Chapter 9 is a “Moonraker”-style spaceship), and increasingly improbable co-stars. Helen Mirren is in this movie. Let me say this again. Helen Mirren is in this movie. And she’s not the only Oscar-winning actress in the eighth “Fast and Furious” film. It also stars Charlize Theron as the ice queen villain.

Our merry little gang of rascals has gotten so cozy that in order to have any dramatic tension at all we have to unscramble that egg a little, and what better way to do that than to have Dom go to work for the bad guy?

We begin with an opening scene in which we are reminded that Dom (a) adores his wife, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), now recovered from her amnesia and honeymooning with Dom in Havana, and (b) is a man who exemplifies integrity, grace, courage, and determination, and who could probably win the Indy 500 in a golf cart. And so, perhaps we are expected to be surprised when shortly after that, when the team, with regulars Hobbs the cop (Dwayne Johnson), Roman the comic relief (Tyrese Gibson), and Tej the computer guy (Chris “”Ludacris” Bridges), is called in by Mr. Nobody to rescue some big scary bomb, Dom and Letty are on board and then all of a sudden Dom makes off with the big bad bomb and apparently is in cahoots with Ms. Big, Theron as uber-hacker Cipher.

There’s nothing quite as crazy as the car leaping between buildings in the last film, and nothing near as touching as the finale, with its tender tribute to the late Paul Walker (his character is lovingly addressed). There’s a wild bumper-cars-on-crack scene as Cipher takes control of all the automobiles, even the ones that are parked, in the middle of New York City. And some very fancy vehicles get trashed. And then there’s the sub. And a lot of thousand-yard stares and macho wisecracks and people who have a history as enemies having to work together and grudgingly develop some respect. In other words, it’s just what you expect from the eighth “Fast and Furious” movie.

Parents should know that this film has constant action-style violence, crashes, explosions, guns, fights, extended mayhem of all kinds, some sexual references and crude humor, and some strong language.

Family discussion: Which was the best stunt? What makes someone who is not related “family?”

If you like this try: the rest of the “Fast and Furious” films and “The Italian Job”

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