- Actors: Vin Diesel, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson
- Director: F. Gary Gray
- Writer: Chris Morgan
- Producers: Vin Diesel, Neal H. Moritz, Michael Fottrell
- Disc Format: NTSC, Subtitled, 4K
- Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
- Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
- Region: Region A/1
- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Rated: PG-13
- Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
- Release Date: July 11, 2017
- Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018
There are reportedly two more films planned in the Fast and the Furious franchise, though if The Fate of the Furious is any indication of the direction they will take, it won’t be the driving sequences that makes them a success. This may have been what made the films popular in the first place, but the ensemble cast has gradually replaced the driving as the most important element since the fifth film, which reinvented the racing franchise as heist films. With Paul Walker missing for the first time and the two most memorable action sequences taking place outside of the driver’s seat and without any of the original stars, The Fate of the Furious marks yet another transition for the franchise.
Opening with the film’s only real racing sequence, The Fate of the Furious initially feels like a campy installment that overstays its shelf life. Add in a bad soap opera storyline involving Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) the de facto lead in the franchise with the disappearance of Brian, and the beginning of this installment feels like the end for the franchise. But these films have survived due to an ability to adapt, and although it isn’t exactly original, The Fate of the Furious learns from what has worked in the past. Every time the films started to feel stale in the previous films, villains from past installments were adopted as members of the team. It worked with Dom’s character when he returned after being the subject of investigation in the first film, and it was a way to keep Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs around when he had finished hunting down the heroes in the fifth film. Now both villains from the previous two films are back to fight with the team against a new bad guy (unconvincingly played by Charlize Theron), and the original cast mostly plays second fiddle to their contributions.
After the initial setup has Dom betraying his team and landing Hobbs in prison, the film has its most successful action sequence, relying entirely upon the natural talents of both Johnson and Jason Statham. Their prison riot action scene makes the movie, despite the fact that neither of these characters have been around long enough to carry the franchise the way they now do. Statham in particular makes the action exciting again, including another fun fight sequence aboard an airplane, despite never needing to get behind the wheel of a car to accomplish this. Sure, there are still driving sequences, but they are too bombastic and over-the-top to sustain the franchise. It is the increasing star power which truly keeps these films interesting, and will likely have me returning for the next two.
Without delving too much into the melodramatic narrative, which often takes itself far too seriously despite a constant stream of comedic relief coming from the supporting characters (Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood), the film follows Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and the team as they hunt down Dom to find out what caused him to betray them. Soon they discover the world-destroying plan by a hacker named Cipher (Theron), which feels better suited for a James Bond movie. Nevertheless, these skilled drivers somehow manage to use their specific skills to help save the world in a predictable fashion, and plenty of explosive action along the way. This is a summer blockbuster through-and-through, and the success of the film is that it doesn’t try to be anything more.
These films are far from Shakespeare and will likely never win any awards, but they continue to grow in scale. As a result, Hollywood has no problem throwing endless cash at the visual effects, making it a prime release for 4K Ultra HD. Not only is there more detail in each of the computer generated effects, but the full range of colors also adds more life into each image. And the high explosion count is enhanced by the multi-dimensional sound experience. Simply put, this is the most exciting way to watch this film outside of an Imax movie theater.
The special features on the actual 4K disc only include an audio commentary by director F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job), though there is a Blu-ray copy of the film included that has a handful of additional extras. Despite only one sequence taking place in Cuba, there is a featurette about this location. There are also the usual featurettes about the cars and the stunts, as well as extended versions of the fight sequences that make this film enjoyable outside of the cars. Also included in the package is a Digital HD copy of the theatrical cut of the film, as well as an exclusive extended version, available in no other format.
Entertainment Value: 8/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 6.5/10
Special Features: 7/10