By Khalil Waldron
Let’s hop in a time machine and go back to the summer of 2001. The Fast and the Furious, a sleek racing film with undertones of an action and crime drama, sped into theaters to mixed reviews from critics, but adored by fans. With the makings of a cult classic, the starting point of the franchise operates as a faint memory in the present day atmosphere it established, in which we are fortunate enough to get a new sequel every two years or so.
After flirting with it for the past few films, The Fate of the Furious showcases our protagonists fully delving into the fantastical realm of cheesy, soap opera-style, dramatic dialogue, and over the top stunts to match. With no sign of them stopping any time soon, it is clear that everything we have seen thus far in the franchise has been leading up to this, literally, figuratively, and aesthetically. You’ll see homages to the franchise’s earlier films sprinkled throughout, but will get the sense that the racing roots are definitely gone for good, as Vin Diesel and company are accepting their fate.
After another high stakes black ops mission the Fast and Furious team go against their greatest challenge yet, Dominic Toretto. The pack burns plenty of rubber in this grudge match against their alpha male, a storyline that I’m sure left you wondering how much longer they’re going to keep doing this, when you saw the trailer. Franchise regulars such as Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and relative newcomer Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson thrive in their respective roles as the film seamlessly switches between action, comedy, and drama.
While you’re sure to enter theaters wondering how 16 years later the franchise is still taking your money while plenty of other stretched out sequels crash and burn, you’ll leave with an answer. The film’s heart, the Toretto family that is at the epicenter of each film, keeps us coming back. We are attached to them as if they were our own relatives. The Fate of the Furious doesn’t run away from what it has become while simultaneously acknowledging from where it came. A well thought out follow up after the tragic loss of one of their own, Paul Walker, the film franchise shows us that it can still thrive without the high grossing bromance that is Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Connor.
As The Fate of the Furious rushes into theaters today, April 14th, the only question that remains is where do we go from here? Space?