With the death of Paul Walker and the unstoppable ego of Vin Diesel, “The Fate of the Furious” signals a rock bottom point in the movie series that we haven’t seen since “Fast and Furious.” As the series runs on fumes, the writers and producers are working over time to introduce us to dynamic new anti-heroes, all of whom can’t make “Fate of the Furious” worth watching. Unless you’re a completionist, or a hardcore Kurt Russell fanatic, “Fate of the Furious” is a convoluted and painfully long follow up that tries very hard to fill the void Paul Walker left when he died.
A mid-30s bank employee bored with his life and how humdrum things have been for him as of late becomes involved with a bank robber as a hostage at first and subsequently as a more and more willing participant.
At this point you know what you’re getting with the “Fast and the Furious” movie series, but they also seem to be thinking of new ways to get ridiculous. While you can’t really expect realism with these movies (seriously, gravity does not exist in this world), “Fate of the Furious” reaches new heights of absurdity that it becomes comical; and not the good kind of comical, either. Where James Bond had “Die Another Day” where he surfed a tsunami on a plane door and parachute, “The Fate of the Furious” has its own “jump the shark” moment. But this one involves a missile chasing a car, and Dwayne Johnson merely leaning out of a high speed car and pushing the missile away with his hand, allowing it to divert in to the car of a bad guy. It’s that point where I realized that it’s about time for the series to come to an end.
Like many others in Los Angeles, Josh is an unpaid intern desperately trying to make it. When his boss has him go pick up a highly valuable necklace, he figures he’ll save some time and picks it up early. While the necklace is in his possession, his housemates through a party that quickly turns to a home invasion. Co-written by Jamie Marshall and Matthew L. Schaffer with Marshall also directing, the film builds a home invasion/heist story with double crosses and not one clear cut innocent character.
Johnny Depp has never been one to be defined as a comedy genius of any sort, and it’s pretty telling of that fact when the one gag he has to ride on throughout “Mortdecai” is his mustache and how it twirls. That’s basically the defining comedic element of Mortdecai. He’s painfully proud of his mustache despite the obvious disgust by his loving wife, and he takes great pride of flashing it around. He even gleams proudly when he finds himself in America packed in to an elevator with men donning mustaches and beards of their own. That’s what counts as comedy in the painfully unfunny “Mortdecai.”
“Ant Man” seems like a stand alone superhero effort at first, but it fits comfortably in the pegs of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also introduces us to a wonderful superhero who, by all logic, should not have translated in to such a great film. Surely enough, with a script by Edgar Wright (and various others) and an excellent cast (including a welcome Hispanic presence), “Ant Man” is one of the best adaptations of Marvel’s Phase Two in their Cinematic Universe. Like every hero in the Marvel Universe, “Ant-Man” is just an average man thrust in to great circumstances, and he has to earn his stripes as a crime fighter while overcoming his own flaws and insecurities.
“It’s never goodbye…”
It’s shocking that not only is “Fast & Furious 7” not only the best entry in the series yet, but it’s also one of the best movies of the year. It’s exciting, it’s engrossing, it’s fun, and goddamn, it’s a heartbreaking last go around for Paul Walker. I say this as someone who openly hated these movies after the first film, but here I am years later, getting teary eyed at the end of a “Fast & Furious” film. In fact, this is also one of the most human sequels of the series, since it deals a lot with consequence, and revenge. Shortly after “Fast 6,” the group finds out that their latest heist has granted them a death ticket. The brother of Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) has come to wreak unholy vengeance on Dominic Toretto and his crew.
Unlike “The Expendables,” which purports to bring all stars together and pit them against perilous circumstances, “Fast and the Furious” is the film accomplishing the concept. It’s rid itself of the pretenses of being a franchise, and has embraced the fact that each movie is just a two hour episode of an extended series, and has brought together all of the best stars from the previous movies of the “Fast and the Furious” movies. It even has its own opening credits. And what’s more is that the stakes are raised more and more with each movie right down to the potential for a child’s life being risked.