I’ve been a fan of director F. Gary Gray for a long time without even realizing it. Gray is responsible for the classic 90’s comedy FRIDAY, which is one of my favorite laugh-out-loud films. He dabbled with music videos and a few other films for a while afterward, until 2015, when he once again gained notoriety with STRAIGHT OUTA COMPTON, the biographical adaptation of rap group NWA. Now, Gray has moved into action territory with the most recent installment of the FAST AND THE FURIOUS series, THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS.
I have to admit: I wasn’t sure the franchise could keep the storyline fresh with an eighth film. After all, you can only do “fast cars save the day” so many times. But thankfully, Gray and his production team came up with a unique and entertaining plot that fans of the series should love. Granted, it’s a bit over the top, but we could argue that every film in the collection shares that trait. THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS is a fine addition to the franchise’s canon, and I can’t wait to see where things go with the next installment.
If you are not familiar with THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment:
Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Michelle Rodriguez lead an all-star cast as the global blockbuster franchise delivers its most action-packed, high octane adrenaline rush yet in The Fate of the Furious. Now that Dom (Diesel) and Letty (Rodriguez) are married and Brian and Mia have retired from the game—and the rest of the crew has been exonerated—the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman (Oscar winner, Charlize Theron) seduces Dom into the world of crime he can’t seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before. From the shores of Cuba and the streets of New York City to the icy plains off the arctic Barents Sea, our elite force will crisscross the globe to stop an anarchist from unleashing chaos on the world’s stage… and to bring home the man who made them a family.
THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS is shot well and looks great onscreen. I had the pleasure of watching the film in 4K Ultra HD, and the picture is stunning. The detail is precise, and the dynamic color range forces the picture to burst off the screen. I definitely recommend the 4K format, if you have the capability to utilize it.
The acting is very good, with the film boasting an all-star cast. Vin Diesel once again reprises his role as Dom, and he is joined by fan favorites Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and Tyrese Gibson. This veteran group is accented by newcomers Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, and Scott Eastwood.
The action is swift and intense, and the storyline moves at a nice clip. As I mentioned, things get a bit over the top, especially when the team winds up in the Arctic, but you’re having so much fun with the film by that point, it’s easy to forget just how Ludacris things are getting. And when the film really gets going, it’s like a huge jolt of adrenaline was just injected into the script with a syringe. By the time the credits roll, you’ll be ready for a cool towel and a cold drink.
THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS is a big win for me, and I recommend it. If you’re new to the franchise, you’ll probably want to give the previous films a look; but if you’re already in the thick of things, then you’ll love the direction in which director Gray takes the plot. Buckle up before you watch, though…the film might just give you whiplash. The film hits store shelves tomorrow.