THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS: MOVIE REVIEW
Dom and Letty are happy and enjoying a relaxing honeymoon in Cuba. Of course, Dom is always ready to hop into a nearby junker and recklessly hotfoot it ’til the car blows up in a road race. But, hey, that’s a relaxing afternoon for him. In fact, it’s that kind of easygoing, leap-out-of-a-burning-vehicle-in-downtown-Havana fun that has Dom and Letty cuddling and wondering what it might be like to actually settle down and raise a family.
I mean, just think of all the nitrous oxide-boosted life lessons Dom could give his children.
They have to put those musings on hold for a while, though, because Dom is soon approached by a mysterious woman who assures him that the only thing he needs to think about is coming to work for her. And then—before he can object too strenuously and, say, take out a city block with a flaming delivery truck or something—she shows him a certain video.
And that stops him in his tracks.
What’s so special about this mind-changing vid? Well, only Dom and Cipher know for sure. But it’s something powerful enough to prompt the beefy car jockey to walk away from his beloved bride and join Cipher’s dark and mysterious cause.
Letty and Dom’s crewmates and friends are understandably confused by his actions. That’s especially true when they realize that Dom is not only ramrodding around and stealing some rather dangerous items, he also appears to be aiming all his high-octane skills in a direct attack against them.
Is it possible to stop this one-man army? Even if they work as a team? They’re not sure. But a secretive government operative named Mr. Nobody tells them that they’ll have to try.
Otherwise … the fate of not just this furious crew, but of the world itself, may be in jeopardy.
Even though Dom does end up fighting his makeshift family of friends, he still espouses a deep love for them. Cipher asks him directly, “What’s the best thing in your life?” He quickly responds, “Family.” Dom’s friend, Hobbs, says as much, too. “The only thing I love more than saving lives is my daughter,” the big man declares. And though Letty is faced with the reality that her husband has turned to the “dark side” she never gives up hope in him.
[Spoiler Warning] We eventually learn that Dom is being forced to serve Cipher’s nefarious cause because she has captured the son he never knew he had, and she’s threatening to kill the boy. Obviously, that’s hardly good, but we eventually understand the powerful leverage she’s using against Dom.
Dom wears a cross made of rough-hewn nails. He sits at a table with friends and volunteers to say grace (though the scene fades out before he prays). Elsewhere, a character crosses himself after surviving a shootout.
The crew uses a planet-wide satellite search program called the Eye of God. At one point, a person misremembers the program’s name and calls it the “Devil’s Bunghole.” After being shown a room packed with expensive vehicles someone quips, “This is heaven.”
As is the norm in any Fast and Furious movie, there’s a scene (in this case, the opening one) featuring a crowd of beautiful young women in skimpy, revealing attire. The camera leisurely ogles their bodies, zooming in on various anatomical attributes.
Dom and Letty cuddle in bed together and kiss a few times. Cipher turns and kisses Dom passionately in front of Letty at one point, to communicate her control over him.
A character jokes about cold weather’s effect on his anatomy. A few other veiled genital quips get tossed out, as well.
The Fate of the Furious races forward with a pell-mell attitude and the destructive force of a war zone. The furious crew often smashes their seemingly indestructible cars through cinder block walls and detonated barrages of explosive fire. They dodge heat-seeking missiles and torpedoes—yes, torpedoes … the kind that come from a submarine—and make impossibly nimble 100-m.p.h escapes. Generally, their opponents’ cars and motorcycles and other vehicles get crushed to scrap simultaneously.
One scene features a gigantic wrecking ball that smashes dozens of military vehicles and sends them tumbling in flames and crumpled sheet metal. In another instance, hundreds of cars flood a city street like a tsunami wave while other vehicles fall from the upper levels of a parking garage like dropped bombs. During one chase on a frozen lake, dozens of armored vehicles are regularly sent tumbling with massive, fiery explosions. And that aforementioned submarine is involved in a seriously explosive confrontation as well.
If all that weren’t enough, Cipher threatens to hold the world hostage through the use of nuclear weapons.
In addition, up-close gun fights abound. Men are shot in the head and torso. Thugs are brutally bashed into walls, floors and any solid object within range (though these obviously violent melees are generally bloodless). Cipher orders a woman to executed while she holds the woman’s baby (the killing headshot is just off screen). That same baby is carried (with its ears covered) during a long scene where a dozen or so men are shot.
In the course of things, arms, legs and necks are visibly and audibly snapped. Rubber bullets strafe men during a massive prison escape, and several officers are knocked out. Concussion grenades level a large room full of people, leaving them all writhing on the floor.
CRUDE OR PROFANE LANGUAGE
One f-word and more than 15 s-words join many uses of “h—,” “a–,” “b–ch,” “d–n” and “b–tard.” Jesus’ and God’s names are misused about 10 times each (with the former being combined with “d–n” four times). We also hear uses of the British vulgarities “bloody” and “wanker.”
DRUG AND ALCOHOL CONTENT
Hobbs and the crew are given access to a number of supercars said to have been seized from drug dealers.
OTHER NEGATIVE ELEMENTS
Cipher tells Dom that his devotion to family is a “biological lie.”
We all have our preferred brand of superhero flick. And the Fast and Furious franchise is nothing less than superhero escapism—only instead of people in flying iron suits and flapping capes, you’ve got people in flying steel supercars and flapping muscle shirts.
Frankly, even if you don’t care for this kind of action movie fare, you’ve got to admire the formula, the way the filmmakers repeatedly take their ever-expanding Furious cast list and keep that cavalcade of quasi-heroes running, leaping, thumping and obliterating at top speed for a full two hours. For the eighth time.
Of course, the dirty little secret is this: They’ve got to keep up that pedal-to-the-metal pace. Because if the audience ever slipped into idle for 30 seconds, they’d realize just how physics-defying and ridiculous this frenetic cinematic shebang really is.
If any of this actually happened in the real world, the furious crew wouldn’t just be driving like maniacs and catapulting nuclear subs, while spitting fever-pitched epitaphs and flexing their abundant biceps. Nope. In the real world, they’d be laid up in traction and in need of a constant hospital support crew. The torn and crushed peripheral body count around them would be somewhere in the thousands.
Truthfully, that’s my biggest bother with this brand of superhero mindlessness. Sure, we know none of it is real. But stories like this can still impacts us. And while your average testosterone-fueled teen will never hope to wield Thor’s hammer, he probably has access a decent set of wheels. Movies like this one invite immature imitators to find out how furiously fast they can go, too.