I’ll open this with the biggest spoiler of all—there is nothing after the end credits. I sat through them, and boy did they feel long. Also, be ready to spend a good chunk of your day watching this, if you decide to go to theaters to see it. Its total run time is 2 hours and 16 minutes. I watched a 1pm showing and got out around 3:20ish. (By the way, I figure I should also mention that this is going to be one long as anything entry. It kind of got away from me as I started writing.)
And for those wondering if the Fast franchise is dead due to Paul Walker’s absence, I think you might be surprised. I know I was. Walker is without a doubt a huge part and central to the Fast franchise, and I did feel that without his character, there’s something left to be desired in this movie. There were plenty of times where I thought “Brian O’Connor definitely could have gotten them out of that one” or “O’Connor could have provided better insight on Toretto’s behavior here.” I definitely felt something not seeing Walker’s name pop up in the opening credits. I also couldn’t help at certain points of the movie wondering how the story might have changed or could have been different if he was still here. I do think, however, that the team did the best with what they had.
Part of me thinks they should have concluded the series with the last film, but given that they continued the franchise, I have to say I was surprised that the movie left me wondering what they have planned next. That said, here are my thoughts and questions after watching.
I may have mentioned this in an earlier entry regarding a previous installment in this series, but I think it really does help that I started watching this series back when the first movie came out when I was in middle school. If this series had started when I was much older, perhaps in college, I probably wouldn’t be nearly as invested as I am now.
This is one of those movies where I go in knowing the story isn’t really going to blow my mind away, but I go because there’s a childhood nostalgia there. For those who have followed this story from the beginning, and have seen every single installment, there’s a few inside jokes littered throughout that would likely only make sense to people who have watched the other movies that you might appreciate.
I enjoyed every minute of The Fate of the Furious, but I will admit that the story is not without its flaws. Then again, that’s pretty much the Fast franchise for you. If you’ve followed this series of movies from the beginning, then of course you’ll walk in knowing that there are certain givens that you can readily expect. You’ve got your drag racing, over-the-top action scenes, flashy cars, cast of familiar characters (with some expected and unexpected cameos), Roman’s humor, and the central theme of family that ties all these movies together. Oh, and a great soundtrack. I thought the music they featured was well-timed with certain action sequences.
Of course, the movie is not without the usual chinks in the armor. For those who prefer realism to their action scenes, you’re going to see a lot of non-realistic things happen here. Those familiar with the Fast franchise and who are avid fans are most likely not going to care, but if you’re all about the technicalities, then prepare to be severely disappointed. There’s also plenty of major plot holes—some of which may or may not eventually get resolved in later installments, but again, this is usual for the series. Fans like myself acknowledge that these are all things, and we really don’t care.
As far as main villains go, Charlize Theron was not bad at all. She’s extremely good at playing psychotic villainous characters. In my opinion, she definitely has the cold, heartless stare perfected to an art.
Now, here’s where the spoilers begin. If you do not want to get spoiled, then STOP READING HERE. I do not spoil the entire movie, but I do touch on a few scenes which I consider key highlights. Of course, as always, if you just prefer to know what I ultimately thought of the movie, then scroll all the way down to the bottom. I’ve tried to use a spoiler code to hide them, but in case this isn’t supported for your browser, you have been warned.
Click to Reveal Spoilers
Spoiler #1: Scott Eastwood’s character.
Maybe you’ll wonder if he’s going to take on the mantle as Brian O’Connor’s successor. I couldn’t help think that myself. Not sure if that was the intention, but I liked Eastwood’s character here, and I think there is potential for expansion of his character, should they decide to explore that. On an unrelated note, I am actually interested to see someone give Eastwood a chance in general. I’m curious to see what kind of actor he is if he ever manages to break free of his father’s shadow. As for his character’s role in the Fast franchise, I think it would be fun to explore him as a new addition to Toretto’s crew; see what he could bring to the table.
Spoiler #2: Cipher—the character and her motives. (Plot hole #1—I have questions.)
We learn that Cipher is a sole individual and not just the name of an organization of hackers. Interesting. What isn’t clear, at least to me, at any rate, is what exactly her motives are. I kind of get the sense that she might see herself as some sort of ultimate vigilante of justice, however, I’m more interested in finding out what got her going in that direction in the first place. From what we’re given, I don’t find that I have a clear picture of what drives her. I feel like there were a few allusions to some extreme loss in her life, but if it’s as flat as I found Zemo’s reasons to be in Captain America: Civil War (2016), then I think I’m going to be seriously disappointed.
Spoiler #3: The Shaws. (Plot hole #2—I have more questions.)
Yes, that’s plural, and apparently they were never actually evil? What? I mean, if Deckard and Owen Shaw suddenly become part of Toretto’s crew, I honestly wouldn’t mind that either. In fact, particularly the Deckard scenes in this movie (which I seriously wish there had been more of), I can only hope that they case Statham, at the very least, as a member of the regular cast. I’ve wanted him to be a part of this since his Transporter days, and I enjoyed his role here. In fact, the scenes featuring him seemed like a tiny nod to his Frank Martin role, but I can’t say for sure whether or not that was intentional on part of the filmmakers.
In addition, there are a few events that take place that make me wonder if it is the intention for the Shaws to have a bigger role to play next movie, but only time will tell, I suppose. There is a moment though, where Owen just kind of…disappears. Like it seems like he’s part of a plan, and then he’s goes poof and no one really wonders about it. I found this to be a bit curious, and I hope the next movie does something about this.
Spoiler #4: HILARIOUS and ADORABLE baby.
I won’t spoil this too much other than the fact that I wonder how on earth they got this baby to react in the best of ways with such perfect timing. The baby by far stole the show for me, and I look forward to what they do with this in the future. It also makes me wonder how much longer they’re going to make films in this series, only because I wouldn’t be surprised if they did some kind of next-generation type of movie.
Final Thoughts: All that said, there’s definitely a lot more to this movie that I haven’t covered. I personally think it’s worth seeing in theaters, but depending on your preferences, you might want to wait for this to become available as a rental. As for me, I look forward to seeing where the films go from here. The ninth installment is currently slated for release in 2019, with Lucas Black (from 2006’s Tokyo Drift) rumored to return, according to IMDb. There’s also potential for O’Connor to come back in a different form, as there is speculation that Cody and Caleb Walker may reprise their late brother’s role as well, though I’d take those rumors with a serious grain of salt unless the filmmakers or Fast cast say anything about it directly.