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“The Fate of the Furious” is the entry that finally got me to break ranks with the recent Fast franchise reappraisal. I get that it’s fun to paint these movies with the Hal Needham paintbrush. It’s a bunch of friends making movies about fast cars and having fun. Does Anderson hate fun? Not really. I just hate poorly shot fun that kinda pisses on the goodwill that these movies have been earning since “Fast Five”. More than anything, this entry belongs neck-and-neck with the first and fourth movies.

Somewhere between Charlize Theron sleepwalking through her role and botching the shots needed for the NYC chase, I was disappointed. I didn’t hate the movie, but I hate when a film series makes me long for the cinematic complexity of James Wan. Wan made these films look like real movies rather than Hot Rod highlight reels. Plus, the pacing made sense and didn’t make the films feel like they were an hour longer.

Action cinema is a beast that plays different than dramatic or comedic fare. There’s something to be said for shot composition and building a world around action set pieces. Between the harsh color schemes of Havana, the set feel of the prison fight and the weird seemingly CG reaction shots in NYC & Siberia…something happened. This series has been built on insane levels of escalation that would feel far-fetched in a DC or Marvel film. When the look of the film doesn’t match that, then it becomes something else. This is the Fast film where the series has officially become a video game.

Nothing matters among the characters other than getting from Point A to Point B. I get that it’s hard having Vin Diesel do the bulk of the character work now. Plus, it seems like Dwayne Johnson is stealing this franchise from him. It’s just that Johnson feels like a Harlem Globetrotter playing for the Washington Generals. If Hobbs is practically a superhero on Dom’s team, then why have Dom? By the time “The Fate of the Furious” ended, I was left sighing. Of course this is going to get two more films.

Scouring the site’s social media feeds, the Fast love makes me feel out-of-touch. There are readers with sincere opinions on whether Han should come back. That’s Asian Han, not Harrison Ford finally getting his wish Han. I’ve had more film fans try to warm me to this series and it almost worked. But, this misfire was almost a given. Get James Wan out of Atlantis and back on these movies. A master director is needed to help this franchise hang that proper left turn.


  • 2 hrs and 16 mins
  • PG-13
  • Universal


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