Star power. Early on in the history of the film industry, “star talent” became the driving force of audience’s attendance. If your movie could boast an actor or actress with a large following, the film would succeed at the box office. “The Fate of the Furious” is an example of taking this too far. The movie stars Vin Diesel (played by Dom Toretto), obviously named after his favorite car engine, as a man who can only say the word “Family.” Or does the movie star The Rock (played by Luke Hobbs), obviously named for his rock hard physique, as a man who just wants people to stop asking him to save the world? Or does it star Jason Statham (played by Deckard Shaw), obviously named after the famous actor known for action movies, as a man desperately in love with The Rock but too afraid to admit it? There is no clear star, and therefore, how do audiences know which one to go see? What if you’re a Toretto fan but the movie has more Hobbs than Toretto? You don’t want to risk that. So what if the movie broke the record for most pounds of muscle on a single screen? When I saw it this morning at the first showing of the day, the theater was practically empty. What a box office bomb! Add Charlize Theron to the mix and your aiming for such a wide audience it’s destined to fail.
Action. An action movie is one in which characters do more than just sit and talk. To be a great action film, there needs to be high-octane movement. Frustratingly, “The Fast and the Fateful 8” falls short of being even just a good action film. Sure it has a few fistfights, but every time the suspense gets built up, they just sit down on leather seats and gab. For the majority of the film, all of the main characters sit down in their cars, tap their foot, wiggle their arms, and say clipped catchphrases. The filmmakers think that they can fool us into feeling tension and danger by throwing in a few explosions behind them, but it’s clear that their cars can withstand any damage so it’s just a bunch of gimmicks. Even when they get out of the cars, they’re mostly just flirting and playfully insulting each other. Where’s the breakneck pacing and adrenaline inducing activity. I will admit that initially the film got some suspense from my fear of pedestrians being injured by the speeding cars. But by about a third of the way in, I realized that the film takes place in a world where all humans have superhuman reflexes and can jump out of the way to avoid a vehicle driving 11o mph through a busy sidewalk.
Cars. Thank god for the invention of cars. Can you imagine a movie like this, but all of the cars were horses! “The Furious Fates of the Fast” featured 15 times more cars than humans and all but *spoiler* were wrecked or destroyed. The budget breakdown for this movie must have been: $210 million for cars, $30 million for Vin Diesel, $8 million for the family, $2 million for fancy computer graphics, and 800 pounds of cod for The Rock. I have never seen so many cars in my life. They were literally raining from the sky. And honestly, they were the real heroes. If you look at the movie from a script analysis perspective, Toretto and his team were all flawless characters. It was the cars who pushed themselves to their limits and often sacrificed so much of their bodies to save the humans inside of them. At some point, the producer’s are going to eliminate all of the actors from the franchise and we’ll realize these were all just prequels to Pixar’s Cars (it ain’t just a theory).
Despite raising many questions like; Why didn’t any of the characters go into NASCAR? Does Dwayne Johnson write all his own lines? And was Scott Eastwood meant to be a replacement white guy for Paul Walker? because otherwise Scott was useless, the movie kept to the successful structure, tone, and theme of its predecessors. All in all, “The Fast and the Furiosa” was so much fun and deserves only praise for the way it perfectly combines giddying action with meaningful family drama. I give it zero popped corns!