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Review: The Fate of the Furious

If you are unfamiliar with the Fast & Furious franchise and wish to know whether this will affect your film-going experience, have no fear. I went into The Fate of the Furious having only seen Furious 7 beforehand. After both times watching a Fast and Furious film I left the cinema with a desire to find the nearest man with a breathalyser, for I wasn’t sure if I really witnessed what I had just seen or if I was merely extremely drunk.

Theron as Cipher: one of the most annoying and pretentiously written characters I have ever seen on screen

By far the highlight of Furious 7 was a scene featuring a car flying between skyscrapers, although the posters implying a chase between cars and a nuclear submarine had left me optimistic that this film would top the last. Your reaction to the previous sentence may indicate whether this franchise is for you. If you thought “pha! What a ridiculous proposition!”, then I would tell you to stop being such a snob and try enjoying yourself.

The film stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. Diesel plays Dom, who after going on about how he should never turn his back on family does exactly that when villain Cipher (played by Charlize Theron) tempts him into doing so. Here we have an intriguing mystery to flip our expectations upside down, very clever for an 8th film to do.

However this does mean we see more of our villain in this film. Theron is a great actress but her dialogue is absolute hogwash. Hers is one of few characters I’ve ever seen whose mouth should be taped up. In fact it is not just her dialogue that is dodgy: Fast & Furious as a franchise struggles with both good dialogue and accurate physics.

Good cop Luke Hobbs having put a taser to a guard’s neck; his action is insane as he throws men around like they are juggling balls

On top of that several explanations were rushed over and didn’t make much sense. Other moments are outright daft. Good cop Luke Hobbs (Johnson) is in prison at one point and having had his cell unlocked by the US government some riot guards appear at his cell. As it happens his cell is opposite criminal mastermind Shaw (Statham) who decides to make a dash for it.  Hobbs yells “he’s getting away!” and simultaneously tasers one of the prison guards in the neck, obviously offering the help needed to recapture the criminal!

While thus far it may seem I am down on the film, I could never stay mad at it. The dialogue between characters Hobbs and Shaw is very funny. The inclusion of Shaw, a British character in an American film (along with the excellent characters from the rest of his family), warrants the writers to use every English word that they think is spoken over here. In one scene the word “dodgy” is used while a relative of Shaw’s sips on a cup of tea. This tells you everything you need to know about the standard of writing in this film.

Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham)

To answer the question posed at the start of the review: Is the nuclear submarine as insane as is shown on the poster? The finale of the film is bonkers, insane and any synonym of those words you can think of. It possesses necessary moments of triumph and emotion (and a surprise which made me gape like a small child) to move the film up one star rating from what I would have otherwise given it.

Overall, if you love decent action (which the franchise offers with ease) then you should love this film, but do not expect anything more than that. Some moments of pure stupidity in the film (although hilarious) made me wonder if banging my head against a wall would lower my IQ less.

★★★★☆