In the span of 7 films, the Fast and the Furious franchise grew from a fast-paced B-action film to a full-blown, star-studded blockbuster franchise — and if Fast 8 is any indication, this series doesn’t plan on slowing down.
But from the absence of series favorite Paul Walker to an overcrowded cast of action stars, how did The Fate Of The Furious fare with the backseat drivers of cinema, the critics?
Not so bad, it seems — as the film currently has a 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Because nearly every early viewer knew the mindless action they were getting into, and praised the film for raising the bar with even more over the top stunts and explosions! (Dom racing a heat seeking missile? Sure, why not!)
Of course, those who actually paid attention to the story had a laundry list of complaints including: logic-defying action plots, a disjointed narrative, and unfathomable character decisions to make old enemies part of the gang.
Still, critics couldn’t help but love Vin Diesel‘s grunty dialogue and testosterone-fueled one-upmanship between Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham — not to mention series newcomers Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren adding some much needed femme fatalism!
See the critical Fate of the Furious (below)!
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter: “With due respect to [Walker], who is clearly missed by his colleagues in real life, it isn’t as if the Furious franchise is hurting for dramatis personae: When Dwayne Johnson came aboard in the fifth film, things started to feel crowded. Then came Jason Statham, then Kurt Russell, and now we have a villain played by Gray’s Italian Job star Charlize Theron. Somebody get Bruce Willis on the horn, and we’ll have ourselves a proper movie for Episode 9.”
Owen Gleiberman, Variety: “If this series, over the last 16 years, has taught us anything, it’s that just when you think it’s about to run out of gas, it gets outfitted with an even more elaborate fuel-injection system. And that’s never been more true than it is of the eighth film in the series The Fate of the Furious which may just be the most spectacular one yet.”
Dan Callahan, TheWrap: “The plot twists in The Fate of the Furious suggest the kind of games that 11-year-old boys put together on the playground during recess, with women in peril and so many different parts for everyone to play that you begin to lose track of who everybody is and who they are supposed to be to each other. When this gets to be too much, of course, another car will soon be sailing through the air to distract us.”
Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly: “Thankfully, it’s frequently also much funnier and lighter on its feet than previous outings, and a lot of that credit goes to Statham and Johnson, whose love-hate bromance feels like the real core of the movie: Statham revels in his Cockney-you-wish-you’d-never-messed-with shtick, and Johnson is, as always, the human Humvee with a heart of gold.”
David Ehrlich, IndieWire: “It’s telling that Diesel and Dwayne Johnson virtually never appear onscreen together, because at no point does it feel like Gray’s sprawling cast of characters is all in the same film… Whereas the previous movies were galvanized by a very real sense of camaraderie, The Fate of the Furious is more disjointed than a ten-car pileup, and just about as much fun. This family has officially become dysfunctional.”
Mike Ryan, Uproxx: “I love that no matter what ridiculous thing this team has to do, it’s still “car” based. Like, other modes of transportation might be better, but these people still use their cars because that’s what they do. There’s a scene in The Fate of the Furious in which the team is racing across a frozen lake, and of course Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) is driving a Lamborghini. This is what they do: They drive fast cars no matter what the situation is.”
Gregory Wakeman, CinemaBlend: “The Fate Of The Furious doesn’t quite reach the heights of previous installments, but it is still an exhilarating joy ride, and proof that the franchise continues to be the most thrilling and astounding in cinema.”
Jim Vejvoda, IGN: “The real standout among the cast is the series’ new adversary. Charlize Theron brings the proper degree of icy cruelty to Cipher, who is essentially a Bond villain. She operates out of a jet, has a seemingly endless supply of henchmen, and harbors plans for global domination.”
Tom Huddleston, Time Out: “Overall, there’s a sense that Fast and Furious 8 knows exactly where it wants to go and won’t bust a gasket getting there: you might ask for a little more character work here, a few more plot surprises there, but on the whole this rattles along just fine.”
[Image via Universal Pictures.]