Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious (2017)

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Plot:When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.

I am quite the big fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. I reviewed the entire series a while ago, and naturally the mere mention of the return of Dominic Toretto and his family was enough to get me excited. These movies have become progressively bigger and more extreme as the series developed, and the Fate of The Furious makes no exception.

To be honest, this is the first film that I felt was overly ridiculous. It has always been very ridiculous with this franchise, but this one went very extra. The “banter” between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham made my toes curl with embarrassment. Seriously – the testosterone these two emit in each other’s presence was nothing short of hilarious. Dwayne Johnson had some pretty funny lines as a school soccer coach, and his desperation in having his girls win the game to avoid a Tay-Tay concert was quite funny and understandable. Fast 8 tries to market Jason Statham now as one of the team, as a Shaw brother it is quite confusing as he was a main villain about fifteen seconds ago.

Dominic Toretto abandoning his family seems crazy, and that is exactly what he does. Villian Cypher (Charlize Theron) shows Dom something on a screen and it is enough to make him drop his wife Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) and his team. What could make him do this? What does Cypher want? That’s never too clear, because I don’t think the plot is the primary point of this film, and we are left in the dark more than once.

I won’t say why Dom did what he did, but there WAS a BIG reason. Naturally Brian (Paul Walker) must be mentioned loudly at least once, and that he can’t come help because they decided he needs to be away. I don’t really agree with the decision on that, because Brian O’Connor in the Law of the Furious would never drop Dominic Toretto – however sad Paul Walker’s death may be, I think the character would have died too instead of abandoning his family.

Charlize Theron’s Cypher has a very blurry reason for the things she does. The chemistry between her and Vin Diesel is less than zero, and that kiss they share is cold and plain weird (despite Diesel’s strange comments about it). There is a lot of explosions and more bad dialogue, and when Diesel, Johnson and Statham appear together onscreen the manly manliness is almost too much to witness. The rest of the crew – Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Megan (Nathalie Emmanuel) and  Ludacris (Tej) get laughably terrible lines. Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) is still cool AF, and he’s joined by tough guy Scott Eastwood as a new recruit. The awesome Kristofer Hiviju is Cypher’s henchman, and I still love Tormund even though he’s a baddy in here.

The last few scenes of the film is naturally very dramatic and highly unlikely, and the end is  mushy but manly-still. This formulaic fan festival of epic proportions is outrageous, crazy and very similar to the last couple of Fast films. I found it slightly less engaging with a little worse dialogue, but I’m not even fooling myself – if there is a Fast 9, I will still watch it.

Rating: 6/10

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Movie Review: Furious 7 (2015)

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Plot: Dominic and his crew thought they’d left the criminal mercenary life behind. They’d defeated international terrorist Owen Shaw and went their separate ways. But now, Shaw’s brother, Deckard Shaw, is out killing the crew one by one for revenge. Worse, a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde and a shady government official called “Mr. Nobody” are both competing to steal a computer terrorism program called “God’s Eye,” that can turn any technological device into a weapon. Torretto must reconvene with his team to stop Shaw and retrieve the God’s Eye program while caught in a power struggle between the terrorist and the United States government.

Rating: 7/10

I’m finally through the franchise! I’ve really had a blast, despite some of those first few movies that made me legitimately wonder how they ever got more movies approved.

Furious 7’s production was initially halted when Paul Walker tragically died in a car crash. The world was horrified – both by the death of this well-loved actor and the way that he passed away. Walker has always been a car fanatic, and the car he drove in 2Fast 2Furious was actually his own car. His brothers helped out with filming the remaining scenes, which ensured that Brian O’Connor got the end he deserved.

As for the film? There are numerous mentions for the need for Brian to stop and properly commit to his pregnant wife and son. He struggles with being a standard dad and not an adrenaline seeking ex-cop turned car thief turned assisting the FBI, and wife Mia (Jordana Brewster) notices these struggles. She urges him on one last mission to avenge the death of Han (Sung Kang). Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) is still struggling to regain her memory and Dominic is struggling with impatience because there are obvious things he wants her to remember. Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson) returns to make bad jokes and Tej (Ludacris) returns to being geeky and cool. The most recent permanent instalment returns as Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who seems to have found even more muscles since the last film.

Furious 7 is as expected over the top, this time with Lamborghinis crashing through sky towers in Dubai. Brian O’Connor escapes a few certain deaths himself, and I couldn’t help but think the writers really wanted to leave clues everywhere. In terms of insanity, the airdrop scene came only second to the Dubai scene. Okay, there was the final collapse in Los Angeles was very crazy too.

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Djimon Hounsou is some form of African warlord and he is basically ignored only when he’s really needed. Jason Statham replaces Luke Evans as the Shaw brother to sort out, and for all his capabilities in dealing with action sequences, I have never thought him to be the most solid villain. Elsa Pataky returns as Elena, and I am not really sure why, except (hopefully) that she and Hobbs end up together – a girl can dream! Kurt Russel also has some role, and I was surprised when he was the good guy to the end, it seemed shot in a way that he would have ulterior motives.

But is the film good? Well, it’s not bad. I thought it was a bit loose at the ends and it didn’t gel as it should have. Overall, as part of the franchise, the film didn’t feel like the best. I am glad it ended like it did, but I also thought that Brian O’Connor would never leave Dom behind – ever. It’s pretty much that feeling that Mark Darcy should rather be dead (like in the books) than leave Bridget Jones – I can’t believe I just compared the Fast franchise to Bridget Jones, but there we go.

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What are your thoughts? How do you feel about what happened in the last film? Do you agree with the arc regarding Brian O’Connor? Share, share!

Movie Review: Furious 6 (2013)

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Plot: Hobbs has Dominic and Brian reassemble their crew to take down a team of mercenaries: Dominic unexpectedly gets convoluted also facing his presumed deceased girlfriend, Letty.

Rating: 7/10

This movie is so big for a lot of reasons. The end finally ties in with where Tokyo drift finishes, and the sad death of our beloved Han. It is also where we say bye to beautiful Gisele who dies to (ironically) save Han’s life. It is such a useless way to go, but she couldn’t have known her boyfriend would die only months later. It is also the movie that reintroduces Lettie, which probably needed to be done. The relationship between Elena and Dom felt just way too forced, like something the writers wanted but no one really thought it through. I did find it funny how nice Elena and Lettie were to each other in the end. If Vin was my honey and his dead girlfriend pitched, man, I would not have been that smiley. I thought that Brian and Mia’s baby was expected and has been a long time coming, but I also once again had to laugh at how she basically chased him away because “family needs help”. Agent Luke Hobbs is also back in the picture, and I still think The Rock was a great addition to the cast. Luke is starting to see more of who Dominic is, and realizes that this particular criminal is quite decent under it all. (I think, and it may be too touchy feely for this franchise, that Hobbs is starting to question what he has always believed in). The best scene in the entire film has to be the square off fight between Hobbs, Toretto, (Luke Evans) and his sidekick, played by Kim Kold. The way everyone automatically aims for the guy with the same body type makes me laugh without fail. Luke Evans is probably the best villain yet. Evans does everything with a quiet, dedicated intensity that makes any role he takes on a success. Could they have fleshed out his motives more? Definitely, but this series isn’t interested in doing that. I also thought it was a generally good idea to tie the villain to the villain in 4, which made Lettie’s sudden reappearance more believable. The cars and races are as impressive as always, and grounding that plane so dramatically is as completely possible as that vault scene in 5, if ya know what I mean. I also love how Hobbs is suddenly also capable of racing muscle cars. The man’s talents knows no bounds. It was very cheesy in the end when Hobbs and Toretto finally acknowledged each others’ worth, but I loved it. There is a lot of other things I’ve come to expect and enjoy – Roman Pearce’s makes the worst jokes ever as usual, Han being all calm and collected, Ludacris being his cool self. The crew in this franchise has always been its’ strongest point, and as always brings the feeling of family across. I’m a little bit apprehensive to move on to the 7th film, because I have no idea how they addressed Paul Walker’s death in there.

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Fast & Furious 6 (2013) (L to R) Hobbs (DWAYNE JOHNSON), Dom (VIN DIESEL) and Brian (PAUL WALKER)

Movie review: Fast Five (2011) – AND THINGS THAT MOVED THE FAULT

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Plot:Dominic Toretto and his crew of street racers plan a massive heist to buy their freedom while in the sights of a powerful Brazilian drug lord and a dangerous federal agent.

Rating: 7.5/10

As we move through the franchise to approach the final (released) movie, we all know what happens – more unlikely, death defying stunts. This 2011 movie features the scene absolutely everyone remembers and absolutely everyone references when talking about the franchise – that vault crashing through Rio attached to two muscle cars by the strongest ties in the universe.

But before we come to that, let’s talk a bit about what else happens. Mia (Jordana Brewster) is pregnant, and it is a very big celebration. I would personally be quite upset being pregnant while on the run from the FBI, but she’s happy and Brian’s happy and I’m happy for them.

Dom is dealing with Lettie’s death still, being a badass and still not able to get his arms through a T-shirt. It’s a really hard life. He decides it would be a great idea to steal from the Brazilian mafia, because when last did such a plan ever go wrong?

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He calls in a crew to come and assist – Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), who is still really strange, Tej (Ludacris), who thankfully dropped the afro and is now really quite handsome, Han (Sung Kan), our favorite Asian, gorgeous Gisele(Gal Gadot), Tego (Tego Calderon) and Santos (Don Omar) the last two who still acts in their capacity of attaching moving things to other moving things. Dom’s friend Vince (Matt Schulze) from the first movie is now living in Brazil, he has a girl and a child, and is still shady as fuck and still really hates Brian.

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New on the scene is FBI special agent Luke Hobbs, who has flown to Brazil to find and imprison Toretto and his gang. We obviously hate him because how dare he wish to enforce the law? He specifically asks for Elena (Elsa Pataky) to help him with his Brazilian mission, presumably because her smile is pretty, but we eventually learn that her husband was killed while on duty and she is working to avenge his death.

So I enjoyed the film, but that is not much of a surprise – I’m a fan, I love a good dose of cheese once in a while and the last part of the franchise has been exemplary. However I’m not quite sure whether I’ve enjoyed Fast Five or Fast Four more – I was so happy that they reverted back to the old gang that I loved the fourth film.

The death defying antics start with a jail break where a bus is flipped – and no one dies. I might add that breaking your friend out and seriously endangering his life at the same time might not be the best idea.

Rio is then full of gangsters with guns, and a very smart villain who realizes that if people have something to lose, they will fight very hard to protect it. Brian decides to take on a contract for stealing vehicles and through some more gravity defying maneuvers, they escape with a car that contains a chip with the mafia’s data on. Hence the massive scheme is devised to be rich forever and hopefully being cop free for quite some time.

Luke Hobbs, however, really wants to catch Brian and Dominic. His passion for doing this is purely because it is his job, and I liked it. No over the top agenda or massive secret that is kept from us – he is a special agent and he likes to get done what he is paid for. I thoroughly enjoyed Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs. He was convincing and intimidating, and those muscles must be manufactured somewhere. He is so not ready to let any criminal slide, no matter what sorry excuse they think of. I really liked that, making the quick difference between him and Brian quite obvious.

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I thought Elsa Pataky was quite cool as Elena. I don’t see the necessity of making her a love interest of Dominic, who obviously still mourns for Lettie, but I could see why they would find something to bond over, having both lost partners.

The masculinity is on another level in this film, especially when Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel is on screen. The flashing red lights screaming TESTOSTERONE is ever present, and I couldn’t help but laugh when they finally fought it out. It was like GRRR everywhere.

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THINGS THAT HELPED MOVE THE CARS WITH THE VAULT ATTACHED:

  • VIN DIESEL’S MUSCLES
  • DWAYNE JOHNSON’S SWEAT
  • (AND MUSCLES)
  • BROTHERHOOD
  • MAGIC

Movie Review: Fast Fridays: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

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Plot:Former cop Brian O’Conner is called upon to bust a dangerous criminal and he recruits the help of a former childhood friend and street racer who has a chance to redeem himself.

Rating: 4/10

Okay, wow. 2 Fast 2 Furious is bad. Like, Shitfest bad, Pappy. Of the original cast, only Paul Walker returns for this one, and it was probably the biggest mistake the franchise ever made – not that including Walker was a terrible idea, it was a good one, but completely removing the other cast members? Disastrous.

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It took me three tries to sit through this movie. It seemed like the biggest waste of time the second I got to unconvincing facial expressions and a story that doesn’t fit in with the entire damn franchise. To be honest, neither the cars nor the racing impressed me much in here. The tile offends my grammar, the outfits offends my sense of aesthetics, the plot line does not appeal to my good sense and bloody hell, can someone not have given a few acting lessons?

However, I forced myself to just get it done because I really want to watch everything in the franchise. It didn’t improve in my estimation throughout though. It is as bad in the end as it is in the beginning.

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The acting is painful to watch. Walker is at his worst, Tyrese Gibson is about as convincing as a satsuma pretending to be a carrot – terrible comparison, I know! Devon Aoki as Suki has one important role and that is to be the stupid, prototype Asian girlfriend (and how obsessed is this franchise with Asians?!). Mark Boone Jnr, most notably the scary Bobby in Sons of Anarchy, has a teensy role where he appears wimpy and contributes nothing to the story.

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The best part of this is Eva Mendes. She’s the only one vaguely capable of saying her lines without looking really stupid about it. However, she’s an FBI agent who waits on an ex-cop to save her ass, and that was really hard to get over.

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So much lameness and cheese ensues. I honestly don’t know what these guys were doing. It was ridiculous. I was not really sure most of the time what was happening, who were the villains, why on earth the story was in the franchise and what the hell Paul Walker was wearing? I’ll call them acceleration scenes for a lack of a better name, but they looked so improbable and fake. And seriously, showing the speedometer clocking 100km/hour? THAT’S NOT EVEN SPEEDING.

I hope the remaining two before I hit the films I know are good is better – this is horrible, and I think we all deserve better in life.

PS: I thought I would have an aneurism the six hundred and eighty eight time Brian O’Connor said “bro” and tried to walk like a gangster.

#whereIsDominicToretto