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Franchise ‘fated’ for success

Franchise ‘fated’ for success

As the latest addition to the over-the-top car franchise, “The Fate of the Furious” delivers expected thrills and historically flexes its box office muscle.

“The Fate of the Furious” is directed by F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton,” “The Italian Job”), and stars the familiar cast, headlined by Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell and others. Following the heartbreaking loss of Paul Walker, and the emotional conclusion that “Furious 7” left us with, “The Fate of the Furious” picks up right after those events, with Dom on his honeymoon with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in Cuba.

The opening is filled with usual “Fast and Furious” flair, overblown music, a car race and ridiculous explosions. We then meet the latest villain, Cipher (Teron), a cybertech terrorist with vitriolic information that Dom apparently cannot gloss over. Te “Fast” crew perform an unsuccessful mission with Hobbs (Johnson), and Dom betrays them and steals a powerful EMP device for Cipher. After losing Dom and the EMP, the team joins forces with Mr. Nobody (Russell), and prior villain, Deckard Shaw (Statham), to stop Cipher’s plans for global domination.

While we have seen the premise a thousand times, “The Fate of the Furious” brings it to a new level by accepting its utter ridiculousness, and fully committing to it for a pure adrenaline rush. Theron’s dreadlocks and everything else in the film are overdone, but it works since all the actors are having as much fun as the audience, while zombie cars are flung from rooftops and the laws of physics are seemingly redefined for this film alone.

The fuel that these films run on is preposterous action, and it delivers. In the opening EMP heist, we see an enormous wrecking ball demolish enemies as if they were toy soldiers. Not long after, Cipher activates free falling cars from a parking lot, as the sky rains SUVs and four doors. With expectedly poor acting and dialogue, “Fast and Furious’” films have come to depend on the action set pieces, and they continue to deliver. Akin to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, each Furious film adds layers to the impossibilities, this one delivering “The Rock” kicking a torpedo at an enemy crew, whilst an active submarine zooms close behind, ready to launch more missiles their waywere toy soldiers. Not long after, Cipher activates free falling cars from a parking lot, as the sky rains SUVs and four doors. With expectedly poor acting and dialogue, “Fast and Furious’” films have come to depend on the action set pieces, and they continue to deliver. Akin to the “Mission: Impossible” franchise, each Furious film adds layers to the impossibilities, this one delivering “The Rock” kicking a torpedo at an enemy crew, whilst an active submarine zooms close behind, ready to launch more missiles their way.

While some may have a flat tire when it comes to this franchise, the box office results for “The Fate of the Furious” suggest several more films revving up their engines. As of Easter Sunday, April 16, “The Fate of the Furious” swept in approximately $532.5 million globally, making it the largest film opening globally in history, a feat previously held by 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($529 million).

Even though the action scenes are quickly cut and enthusiastic, the heroes seem to still be immune to all forms of danger after these seven films, as Dom and the crew appear to belong in the Marvel or DC universe with their strength. Sure, Theron’s character is not developed and is as flat as villains can come, but in the end, she is a familiar plot device to string along the beloved action scenes that fans pay the ticket prices to see. Fans of the franchise are almost certain to find “The Fate of the Furious” satisfying, as it continues to raise and redefine the bar of modern entertainment.

 

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