Eight films into the “Fast & Furious” series and somehow, the same energetic formula that made the first seven films an international phenomenon has turned “The Fate of The Furious” into one of the must-see films of 2017.
Despite this being the first film of the franchise post-Paul Walker’s untimely death, family is still the main center point in this film. Under the direction of F. Gary Gray, the film takes on the world by making starting off in Cuba where we find Vin Diesel’s character Dominic Toretto on his honeymoon with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). The film is one of the first major Hollywood films to film in Cuba since the embargo was lifted. The colors of the untouched buildings in Cuba and people highlighted throughout the opening scenes that includes a street race that ends with fire are beautiful. It is breathtaking on the big screen and will have you hooked within the first five minutes. Two hours later, the ending will retake your breath thanks to a 10-mile life or death race across the icy Barents Sea. Gray expound on how the two are connected to each other.
“I wanted to open the movie with something warm, and sexy and kind of like a party. This is Dom and Letty on their honeymoon in Cuba. It’s sunny; it’s sexy, it’s colorful, it’s beautiful. Cuba is a standing work of art itself. You can point a camera in any direction for the most part and get something profound. As far as the spectrum of people, you have a spectrum of people from Afro-Cuban to very light Cubans. It’s just a beautiful place, with beautiful people and the people are very proud. We wanted to show that. We thought it was a cool way to open the movie because it is a contrast to how we end the movie, which is in Russia, in Iceland. I like to call it ‘fire and ice.’ It begins with the fire and ends with the ice.”
To avoid spoilers because Gray says “somethings the viewers should experience first hand,” it is a pivotal moment when Dom is lured into a life of terrorism by a mysterious woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron). To his family’s surprise, he goes rogue leaving everyone to wonder why.
“When you make seven movies, and you’ve explored different parts of the world, people have died and come back to life and things like that, you either stop or you go there,” Gray said. “And Dom going rogue and turning into Darth Vader as it relates to his team and his family is going there. It’s completely different; it’s the opposite of what you’d expect. So you know that it has to be a good reason.” he continued.
Something about the F&F feels completely different from the other seven. It feels like a new beginning. Writer Chris Morgan and Gray makes this film the perfect balance of what diehard F&F fans want, and a new breath of fresh air for a novice to easily pick up. That was no accident according to Gray, “I wanted to deliver something that was stimulating not only to the fans but to the newcomer to keep them on the edge of their seats and deliver not only strong action but a strong narrative and a strong story that is satisfying to everybody.”
Although Brian (Paul Walker) is missed in this film, it does give the opportunity for characters like Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese) to shine with their perfect comedic timing (there’s a “Miss Parker” joke at the end that is perfect since “Friday” was Gray’s first feature film). Hobbs (The Rock and Deckard (Jason Statham) steal the show with their epic fight scene, and the New York City fighting scene plays an epic role in this film being arguably the most captivating film of this series. When F. Gary Gary directed his feature debut “Friday” he said he wanted to “make epic films,” he accomplished that with “The Fate of The Furious” and then some.