5/10 “The Fast and the Furious” franchise has really grown and come a long way since its humble inception back in 2001. Some of the movies have been great fun (“Fast Five”) whereas the most recent offering, “The Fate of the Furious” was my pick for the 8th Worst Film of 2017 and a complete disaster. Due to a falling out between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, The Rock will no longer be in movies in the main franchise. But due to his massive popularity and how great his chemistry with Jason Statham was in a couple of the Furious movies, this spin off was born. There are some things this movie does well. Like in the aforementioned previous movies together, our two male leads’ chemistry is fantastic and their back and forth bantering leading into a bit of a bromance is very entertaining and fun to watch. The entire cast is having a blast and having Idris Elba as the villain was a great casting decision. Vanessa Kirby, whom is great on “The Crown” brings some class and badassery to the female side of things and is a welcome addition. The action is crazy and over the top as you would expect, but also a ton of fun to turn off your brain and enjoy. Any time Idris Elba’s motorcycle is onscreen driving itself, changing shape or racing under semi-trucks is a feast for the eyes that will make you feel like a kid again. The end battle was also fun to watch unfold and there were two surprise cameos that I loved because they not only brought some more humor to the movie but they were also kept secret until this movie came out and it is rare for things like that to not get spoiled by the internet these days. Despite all of the mindless fun and action spectacle to be had, this movie definitely has problems that hold it back. The overall plot is completely ridiculous and unrealistic. The evil organization of which the antagonist presides would never be able to secure the kind of funding it does while simultaneously not being shut down by any number of our three letter agencies that monitor these kinds of illegal activities. There are some really bad or cheesy lines (“Genocide, shmenocide…”) and way too many “Game of Thrones” references that not only spoil the end of the series to a degree but are also heavy handed and will not age well for future generations. The score is very forgettable and the soundtrack is full of modern garbage. Statham and Kirby play brother and sister and in a flashback they are only a couple years apart as kids, despite being 21 years apart in real life. The ending battle in Samoa goes from night time to broad daylight in about seven minutes, which was insane that the film makers didn’t seem to care about. The direction is generic and how over the top and silly the movie is really brings it down. Near the end, a helicopter falls off of a cliff and not only does everyone involved survive a situation in which they would all surely die, but a previously damaged device that they are protecting is still fully functioning as well, even after the fall. If you can turn off your brain, there is some over the top fun to be had with an enjoyable cast having fun. But if you think about the plot or character development for more than ten seconds, you might get pretty…furious. A solid rental that falls in the middle of the franchise and holds us over until next summer’s 9th movie numbs our senses even further.
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