Pedal to the heavy metal
I'm not oblivious to what many people really think about the Fast and Furious franchise; many labeling it a lazy guilty-pleasure, critic-proof, a franchise that just needs to stop, etc. Just to clarify: I'm not one of these said people. While I don't think it's the best franchise in the world, there's no denying its' universal appeal and worldwide popularity with fans all over. Honestly, I watched these films just for the fun of it if nothing more than to have a good time at the movies. The Fate of the Furious doesn't do anything conventionally new with the series (think about it: it's about fast cars. What is there to innovate?) but that isn't to say the tank on this franchise is empty. Picking up after the events of the last film, we find Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) on their honeymoon in Havana, Cuba. During their escape to paradise, Dom crosses paths with the mysterious Cipher (Charlize Theron), a cyber-terrorist who manages to obligate Dom to work for her and carry out her nefarious agenda. Dom, unable to turn down her offer, betrays his family and becomes her right-hand man. Now the team he once worked with must come after him and bring him to justice. So how does this franchise hold after seven entries and tragically losing one of their prime characters? Not too bad actually. There was some doubt about how the franchise would progress in a post-Paul walker era, and for good reason. Walker was part of the franchise's soul and was responsible for getting the genre on its' full-throttled feet in that memorable Summer of 2001. I'd be lying if I said that the film wasn't missing that bro-chemistry element that we had seen between Diesel's character and Walker's; which was part of the film's charm. That specific interplay with the other characters helped bring the movies together, in both the quiet and action scenes. To be honest, it will take a while to adapt to the new changes but in the least The Fate of the Furious delivers on everything else; from the fast paced races to the over-the-top set pieces that has become a staple for the series. Even though the sequels have stopped trying to be unique for a while, I was surprised by the twists this time around, so much so I won't spoil it. Granted, it's nowhere near the kind of revelations on a Star Wars level but it is still something you won't see coming. The Fate of the Furious may skid the familiar roads but it still continues to be a successful run and shows that the franchise still has some gas left in the tank.