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Film Review: Superchargers kick in for “The Fate of the Furious”

Grade: B+

“The Fast and the Furious” franchise has evolved into a spectacle we can all watch for some high-octane action and thrill-seeking adventure. The first and namesake film debuted all the way back in 2001 and after seven relatively successful installments, the series had not rusted away. Expectations were high coming into the debut of the eighth film “The Fate of the Furious,” and after such a long run, it’s hard to see how a series can keep reinventing itself to keep the story flowing. However, thanks to some rushing cinematic trailers, a clever marketing campaign (not to mention a pun-filled title) and a budget that totaled around $250 million, people definitely became intrigued once more. But, of course, when you have a director like F. Gary Gray running the show, that’s not surprising as he is coming off a cinematic triumph after directing “Straight Outta Compton.” Initial reports have even stated that he is slated to direct Fast 9.

Many faces of the franchise return for the eighth installment, including Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris. The antagonist in this particular case is played by Charlize Theron, the South African actress from other great films such as “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Cider House Rules.” When this combination of friends and foe gets together, like they have so many other times before, you know it’s going to be quite a ride: one filled with the best cars that money can buy and the heart-stopping stunts that only “The Fast and the Furious” crew can manufacture. But this time is a bit different than all the other ones, such as when trouble with the Fast family arises.

Unlike many new movies that have or will hit theaters in 2017, “The Fate of the Furious” has already amassed a large following. That is why upon its opening weekend, it skyrocketed to the top of the list of the highest grossing openings of all time, squealing past “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” This is surprising because although it was a well thought-out story filled with the usual pleasantries of a Fast movie, it seemed remarkably unoriginal. The action was kicked up a notch, but perhaps some intense drama might be in order to spice things up.

The franchise trend of filming in exotic locations is especially interesting, as the crew elected to film in places such as Atlanta, Havana, Cuba and Mývatn, a lake in northern Iceland, with the main story primarily taking place in New York City. This gives it the cultural aspect that’s unmatched by other franchises. It has also remained successful by always appearing youthful. What teen (keep in mind, this is a PG-13 movie) would not like some speedy action and quick wit that the likes of Dominic Toretto (Diesel) can give you? The answer is ‘every single one,’ because when you are 13, that is all you care about. All you want to do is to see your favorite action heroes defeat the villain.

“The Fate of the Furious” seems to be a lot of the same drama, but by the end of the film, you might realize that there were plenty of original stunts to keep your heart pounding. It’s thrilling in every way right up until the very end, which gives the sequel an excellent opportunity to keep the trend going. Now all that is left to wonder is when they will call it quits. Hopefully that is not until far into the future.

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