The Fate of the Furious, a film you’ve almost certainly already seen by now (I’ve been overseas the last two weeks and have a bunch of reviews I need to catch up on), continues the never-ending story of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). We last caught up with Dom driving away to a Whiz Khalifa song in the tear-jerking finale of Furious 7. Presumably not too long after that, Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriquez) are on their honeymoon (I think? But also don’t remember them ever getting married in this series?), and it’s here where a mysterious woman approaches Dom. Her name, hilariously and unfortunately, is Cipher (Charlize Theron), and using a video we never once see throughout the entirety of this movie, she coerces Dom into working for her, forcing him to turn on his family.
Rarely is Dom’s betrayal able to hit the same emotional heights present in the last installment, and that is, I feel, this film’s weakest aspect. His betrayal isn’t necessarily a betrayal, more so a task he’s blackmailed into doing, and because we’re told that right from the get go, nothing ever has as much depth to it as I would’ve liked. We’re supposed to care for Dom and root for him as he… he… Well, I don’t really know what he was trying to do. Or what anyone was trying to do. Or why they had to have a car chase on ice with missiles and a submarine, but damn that was cool. I guess it goes to show the state upon which this franchise is in. The fans aren’t in it for the plot, they never have been. They’re in it for fast cars, over the top action and Dwayne Johnson’s baby oiled body, so with that in mind, The Fate of the Furious delivers in every way it can.
However, credit’s due where credit is due, and everyone seems to be giving it their all. Vin Diesel’s best roles are typically those that don’t require too much acting capabilities, but Fate of the Furious switches things up. Instead of being a mindless muscle head with a car infatuation and love for family, a lot is required of Diesel, and shockingly, he delivers. This may just be the best performance of his career, and while the screenplay feels undercooked, Diesel shines. Sharing a lot of his screen time is Theron, and it saddens me to say she’s given little to do outside of staring at a screen and yelling things. Expectedly however, it’s The Rock who comes to save the day, able to redeem almost every insufferable aspect of this movie. Every line, every punch and every scene he’s in is just pure perfection, and his chemistry with Jason Statham steals the show in the most surprising of ways.
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