The Fate of the Furious Zooms Down a New Path
March 29, 2017
The Fate of the Furious comes out in less than a month, and being the eighth installment in the highly popular franchise, the film is catching the attention of many. But maybe not for the reasons you’d think.
Family. Since the beginning, this solitary word has defined the Fast and Furious Franchise. The Fast and the Furious (2001) established the now-iconic characters Dominic Toretto, Letty Ortiz, and Brian O’Conner. An unexpected hit, the film told the story of O’Conner, a young detective drawn into Toretto and Letty’s fast-paced world of street racing. Remarkably down to earth, Toretto took in O’Conner and the two became close friends. Together with Letty and Mia (Dom’s sister and Brian’s love interest), the ‘family’ established its unending loyalty to one another. This film blossomed into the most popular racing film franchise in the world. As the franchise progresses and the missions prove increasingly challenging, Dom’s crew includes new friends, like Dwayne Johnson’s DSS Agent Hobbs. Whether racing against cartels or chasing down cyber terrorists, the team works together beautifully on screen; the actors’ strong performances convince the audience of the authenticity of the bond shared within the family.
So what does all of this ‘family’ talk have to do with the new film, The Fate of The Furious? In the released trailers, it’s revealed that Dom has seemingly turned on his family, after all they have lived through. Working for Charlize Theron’s antagonist, Dom seems emotionless and deadlier than before. Hobbs steps up as leader of the shaken team, who must now pursue and capture Toretto. Although we’re led to believe Dom has turned for the worst, the 2nd trailer hints that he might not have turned on his family willingly. Like many this shocked me; the Fast and Furious movies-although extremely entertaining- are rather formalistic. Each mission ends with Dom’s team triumphant amidst explosions and roaring engines. Now the team’s mission becomes infinitely more complex as Dom’s betrayal weighs in; will he be redeemed or not? This new direction is a bit of a risk, but if done right, will introduce high stakes and attract more interest to the franchise abroad.
I have faith that this film will pull off this ambitious challenge; the franchise has done it before. The last installment alone, Furious 7, had to deal with the death of Paul Walker, who portrayed Brian O’Conner. Although Walker managed to finish most of his scenes before his tragic death, fans were anxious to see if the film would give him the send-off he deserved. In an emotional conclusion, Furious 7 masterfully retired Brian from the franchise while paying respects to Walker himself. Walker’s absence amplifies the importance of family in the upcoming installment. Hopefully, The Fate of the Furious manages to approach Dom’s story arc with the same finesse as seen in Furious 7.
Every few films the Fast and Furious franchise evolves. The first three films, The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, were centered around street racing. The plot revolved around the heroes confronting the baddies, utilizing their knowledge of cars and winning street races. The fourth film, Fast and Furious, transformed the franchise into a series of action-packed heist films. Fast 5 introduced Johnson’s Agent Hobbs to the franchise, and ever since, these movies only seem to rise the bar higher. Furious 7 similarly transformed the franchise by introducing the government into the mix. With Dom’s team allied with the U.S. Government, the family turned from heist schemes to more spy-type missions. Clearly, audiences are loving it, since Furious 7 made over $1 billion at the global box office. From unbelievable fights and stunt sequences to light-hearted comedy, the Fast and Furious franchise has established a loyal global fan base.
The Fate of the Furious signals another turning point of the ever-changing franchise. Released in theaters April 14th, the movie features all trademarks of a Fast and Furious-scale adventure: mind-boggling stunts, beautiful locations, comedic banter, massive explosions, and (most importantly) fast cars. However, The Fate of the Furious’s all-star cast and intense story promises to have the drivers outshine their vehicles as the family seeks to become whole once more. Check out the second trailer below and be sure to watch the family’s next adventure in theaters April 14.