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NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: The first non-Paul Walker and eighth overall entry in the “Furious” franchise, features Vin Diesel going rogue (but not Rogue One—different franchise), as his usual crew (Michelle Rodriguez along with Dwayne “Doc Savage” Johnson and Jason “Anti-Bond” Statham again help Kurt Russell (along with his new Robin, ), this time to prevent Cypher (Charlize “Ice Queen on Fury Road” Theron) from—what else? —blowing up the world.
Written by Chris Morgan (characters by Gary Scott Thompson). Directed by F. Gary Gray. (That’s his first initial, not a curse.)
- For the eighth time, when you didn’t think it could get any more over-the-top, they again raise the bar but this time smash through it with a 7000-horsepower tank. Plenty of cars, fights, girls, guns, explosives, and the usual gratuitous butts-and-boobs-in-bikini shots. Not necessarily more of each, just more outrageous approaches/scenarios, especially when they throw a wrecking ball, a nuclear submarine and raining cars into the mix.
- Statham is back as Deckard, but this time he takes his rage out on bad guys for a change, while still jawboning back-and-forth insults and threats with Johnson’s Hobbs.
- Fun opening race scene. Cars include, among others, a couple 50s classics (one in sad shape), a Lambo, the Subaru BRZ, a classic Corvette, Plymouth GTX, 4WD truck with treads, and of course, Dom’s awesome AWD ’70 Dodge Charger. As before, car whiz Dennis McCarthy provided the selection of automotive amazement.
- This ain’t easy for a he-man like me to admit, but that Cipher broad is easily one of the best evil villain ever! Up there with, if not better than, any Bond baddie. Heck, in some ways she’s even meaner than Darth Vader; I mean, sure, Vader blew up an entire planet of people, but did he ever threaten to shoot a frickin’ baby? Kudos to Charlize Theron for bringing her psycho-beyotch acting chops (and hotness) as the Ice Queen and turning it up to 11.
- A nice (uncredited!) cameo from Helen Mirren, whom I don’t recall from previous F&F movies. (Sadly, though, she doesn’t use a machine gun like in RED.)
- Hobbs reveals his “crazy dad” side in a funny girls’ soccer team bit, reminiscent of his role in THE GAME PLAN. And of course, “The Rock” looks like a human mountain.
- Kurt Russell’s back as the entertaining and calmly cool Mr. Nobody, with Clint Eastwood’s son Scott as “Little Nobody,” the source of several gags.
- A few laughs-out-loud, again courtesy of Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris, especially in their horndog pursuit of Nathalie (Ramsey) Emmanuel. Also, one of the burly heroes and a baby. (And of course, the stunts.)
- A nice mention and nod to the late Paul Walker’s character (Brian).
- Despite all the volume and violence, the underlying theme of the importance of family is actually a pretty decent message.
- Did I mention the cars, the fighting, the guns and the butts?
- Suspension Of Disbelief Department: Forget it! There are so many absurdities here that suffice to say a good 50% of the film is physically impossible. (Including the opening race scene.) Mythbusters could devote half a season to busting the ones in just this one film. (At the very last scene, look at the white car, which is still bright white after taking the fire and smoke form a massive explosion)!
- We never really get to know why Cipher does what she does, other than “accountability,” which is obviously a surface reason.
- Only butts and boobs in bikinis are at the beginning. Nothing else for the rest of the flick!
- For you “diversity” freaks, the team still doesn’t have a token Asian.
- For anyone who thinks “connected cars” and “driverless cars” are the greatest thing in the future, this may make you think twice! I’ll keep my unconnected ride, thank you.
- Regarding the villain, the ending not as satisfying as past movies.
- Hobbs and Deckard don’t get to pound out their differences as the trailer suggests.
For sheer amusement-park thrills, FATE OF THE FURIOUS doesn’t disappoint. And because of Charlize’s acting, I found myself seething in my seat, wishing someone would punch her in the face, which means the film pushed my emotional buttons like it should. It’s not easy making eight two-hour fight-and-chase films without losing something, but so far, these are still so good…at least for a good ol’ All-American hetero boy like me. Grab a brew, hide it in your jeans and see this celluloid tribute to testosterone!
P.S.: Motor City Mike Pascale is from the Motor City and can pencil or pen you some kick-ass cars, muscle-men and badass babes. Want one of each or both for yourself or a pal? Mention me and get 20 percent off! (Or see him THIS WEEKEND at the Silicon Valley Comic-Con and get the same deal!) Just ask Craig here!