Director: F. Gary Gray
Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham
Release Date: July 11, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Michelle Rodriguez lead an all-star cast as the global blockbuster franchise delivers its most action-packed, high octane adrenaline rush yet in The Fate of the Furious. Now that Dom (Diesel) and Letty (Rodriguez) are married and Brian and Mia have retired from the game—and the rest of the crew has been exonerated—the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman (Oscar® winner, Charlize Theron) seduces Dom into the world of crime he can’t seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before. From the shores of Cuba and the streets of New York City to the icy plains off the arctic Barents Sea, our elite force will crisscross the globe to stop an anarchist from unleashing chaos on the world’s stage… and to bring home the man who made them a family.
In ‘The Fate of the Furious’, the eighth installment of the high-octane blockbuster franchise, Dom (Diesel) and Letty (Rodriguez) are now married and in the midst of enjoying a beautiful and relaxing honeymoon in Cuba. At least until Cipher (Theron), possibly the globe’s greatest hacker forces Dom to join her team and betray his family otherwise pay an unthinkable cost. After betraying his team and stealing the nuke they were trying to protect, Hobbs (Johnson), Tej (Ludacris), Roman (Gibson) and the rest of the team must join forces with Mr. Nobody (Russell), his new protégé Little Nobody (Eastwood) and even an old enemy if they stand any hope of stopping this massive terrorist unit and hopefully saving Dom in the process. Get ready for a high speed trip across the globe that includes Cuba, the streets of New York City and even the freezing arctic in the latest action-packed installment of the beloved franchise.
Directed this time around by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton, A Man Apart) from a screenplay once again penned by Chris Morgan who wrote the previous five entries in the franchise, Gray does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘The Fate of the Furious’ having no apparent trouble capturing the spectacle, fun and overall heart of the previous installments. ‘F8’ once again features numerous fan favorites from the series combined with some notable newcomers and this time around includes Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron along with more, nearly all offering perfectly fitting performances in each of their respective roles.
‘The Fate of the Furious’ delivers another wild, explosive and logic defying good time with most of your favorite characters from the series over the years. Managing to capture all of the over the top insanity, fun and heart we’ve come to expect, while constantly brimming with downright spectacular action sequences and fast cars along the way. It also offers some truly hilarious moments as a result of the surprisingly phenomenal chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham whose frequent banter is easily one of the film’s finest elements, the duo easily managing to steal nearly every scene they occupy together throughout. Taking viewers everywhere from Cuba to the streets of New York City, then all the way to freezing arctic, ‘The Fate of the Furious’ is another action packed and logic defying entry in the long running franchise that should have no trouble keeping a grin plastered on your face for the majority of its duration. Even if by no means the best entry in the franchise and a mild step down from the last few installments, it still holds up splendidly and is far superior to some earlier entries, providing the over the top and high speed action and flashy cars (and of course girls) that fans have come to expect from the series over the years. I would strongly urge fans of the series who didn’t have the chance to catch this one in theaters to make a point of checking it out when you have the opportunity to do so. Fellow fans that haven’t yet had the pleasure but have been collecting every film in the series thus far should be able to comfortably drop the funds on a blind purchase without having any regrets later, it’s definitely a wild and insanely fun ride that you’ll almost surely want to revisit repeatedly down the road along with its predecessors.
One important element I want to make a point of clarifying about the Blu-ray release (due to some mild confusion I’ve seen regarding the subject) is that all of the physical releases of the movie including the Blu-ray include the theatrical cut of the film only. Each release does include a digital code for the Extended Cut (as well as the theatrical) but the Extended Cut is indeed only available for viewing via Digital. Nonetheless, fans will definitely want to redeem that code as unlike the previous Extended Cuts of the Fast films which often run seconds (or a minute or two at most) longer, the Extended edition of ‘The Fate of the Furious’ runs over ten minutes longer (clocking in at approximately 148 minutes compared to the theatrical’s 136 minute runtime) which will make it worth checking out, even if it’s undoubtedly quite disappointing to see what appears to be the franchise’s first true extended cut not included on the physical discs.
Overall, ‘The Fate of the Furious’ is another ridiculously enjoyable entry in the long running franchise, proving that even with seven previous installments under its belt and the painful loss of one of its most important stars, it still has the ability to deliver the goods. It doesn’t quite manage to achieve the level of fantastic that the last few entries attained, unavoidably due in part to the painful and noticeable absence of the late Paul Walker, but it still holds its own remarkably well and delivers some of the most insane sequences of action and vehicular warfare that the series has ever seen. Along with a competent enough story with a noteworthy new baddie in Theron that works wonderfully and some brilliant chemistry between Johnson and Statham which is easily one of the movie’s most notable strengths, it comes together surprisingly well. ‘The Fate of the Furious’ definitely comes highly recommended for fellow fans of the franchise, and even while far from the best that the series has to offer it’s still a wildly fun and solid addition to the ‘Fast & Furious’ saga that any fan won’t want to even consider missing out on.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Fate of the Furious’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks quite outstanding as a whole and provides a sharp, detailed and clean presentation from start to finish without any notable faults to be found within. It holds up impressively even during the numerous fast moving action sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible at any point. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Universal complimented by a more than sufficient bitrate that should have no trouble thrilling the fellow franchise fans.
The Blu-ray release features a DTS: X (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA presentation. This lossless multichannel soundtrack delivers a consistently crisp, clean and hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer in the action by sending grenades, debris and bullets whipping throughout the various speakers with regularity, along with cars rumbling past you, crowd chatter and more; while always making certain that all dialogue that might be occurring simultaneously remains clean and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is an aggressive and incredibly fun DTS: X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that compliments the film splendidly around every turn and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Fate of the Furious’ may not include the Extended Cut of the movie on the disc, but it does offer a pretty solid collection of bonus content that takes the fans deeper into bringing the film’s on-screen insanity to life. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director F. Gary Gray’, in addition to a couple of ‘Extended Fight Scenes’: an ‘Extended Prison Fight’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length) and an ‘Extended Plane Fight’ (running 2 minutes). We are also treated to a number of behind the scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘The Cuban Spirit’ (running approximately 8 minutes), along with 3 separate sections featuring various Featurettes within; the first being ‘In The Family’ which includes: ‘Betraying the Family: Cipher and Dom’ (approximately 7 minutes), ‘Leaderless: A Family Lost’ (5 minutes), ‘Shaw Family Values’ (4 minutes), and ‘Meet the Nobodys’ (6 minutes). The second section focuses on the ‘Car Culture’ and includes: ‘The Hero Cars of Fast’ (10 minutes), ‘Zombie Cars’ (6 minutes) and ‘The Ripsaw’ (5 minutes). The last collection of Featurettes is ‘All About The Stunts’ and features: ‘Malecón Street Race’ (6 minutes), ‘Iceland Stunt Diaries’ (7 minutes) and ‘The Streets of New York’ (5 minutes).