Tag Archives: Vin Diesel

‘Fate of the Furious’ Too Dumb for its Own Good

fate of the furiousSomeone needs to start a petition to make studios put subtitles on the screen every time Vin Diesel speaks, I can only make out every fifth word that man says…

“The Fate of the Furious” is the eighth installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise (take a moment to let the fact we’re eight films and 16 years deep into this thing sink in), and follows Dominic Torretto (Diesel) who is blackmailed by a cyberterrorist (Charlize Theron) to go rogue against his team and steal weapons. Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell and Scott Eastwood also star as F. Gary Gray takes over directors duties.

The best part of this film, much like the previous one, is Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. They both play off each other well and seem to be the only actors who truly know what kind of film they’re in and enjoy every minute of it; Kurt Russell also chews scenery as the covert ops leader. Russell, Johnson and Statham have other films and properties to fall back on and have excelled in comedies (I still think Statham didn’t get enough love for “Spy”) so they don’t take themselves too seriously and they’re great fun. Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson have some witty banter back-and-forth, even if sometimes it comes at inappropriate moments or the jokes fall flat.

Like I said up top, Vin Diesel is as inaudible as ever and mumbles his way through another performance in the series that made him a household(ish) name. Some lines go completely undetectable while others are overacted and if it wasn’t for Scott Eastwood, Diesel would be the worst performance in the film (Eastwood is so annoying here).

The action is, for the most part, top notch as we’ve come to expect. F. Gary Gray takes over the director’s chair from James Wan and he stages some incredibly impressive set pieces, including one of the most ambitious of the series to date; let’s just say ludicrous isn’t just the name of a cast member. Ranging from a street race in Havana to a hundred car pile-up in New York City, the series has officially jumped the shark (if it somehow hadn’t already) and we are one step closer to “Fast and Furious in Space.”

The biggest problem “Fate of the Furious” has (aside from its acting, plot and dialogue) is its pacing; clocking in at 136 minutes, you certainly feel every second of the runtime. Scenes go on too long or just feel aimless, and by the time the climax is reached you’re close to exhaustion. And that aforementioned climax, much like “Fast & Furious 6” or “Furious 7,” features an elongated chase that just gets repetitive after a while, and at times defies even the most suspended of belief.

“The Fate of the Furious” is a hard film to critique because it’s a bad movie, but it knows it’s bad, and that’s part of its charm. With a $250 million budget it looks great and features some impressively staged sequences, but all too often I found myself teetering towards bored and that shouldn’t happen in a film that features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson hanging out of a car to shove missile towards a submarine in artic Russia. Here’s the bottom line: if you love these movies, you’re going to like this one. If you’re like me and these films are just alright, then this is certainly one of the weaker installments. And if you enjoy logic and films obeying the laws of physics and gravity…well then you checked out about five movies ago.

Critics Rating: 5/10


‘Furious 7’ More Over-the-Top Fun

Furious_7_posterAnd with this, the summer movie season has unofficially started.

“Furious 7” is the, well, seventh film in the Fast & Furious franchise. This time around Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and company must take on a vengeful Jason Statham. James Wan takes over the director’s chair.

Seven films in, you probably know if you are a fan of the Fast & Furious films. If you’re willing to overlook the fact that they take place in a world lacking the laws of physics and are ripe with painful dialogue, then the films are a lot of fun. If you like your films with a shred of intelligence, then you need not apply. And “Furious 7” makes no effort to break free from the franchise’s formula.

“Furious 7” is the type of movie Michael Bay has spent his entire career trying to make: filled with shots of scantily clad women, fast cars, and clever one liners. Only difference is when the Fast & Furious films do it, the shots don’t come off as creepy, the cars aren’t moving product placements, and the one liners aren’t racist.

For most of “Furious 7”, I was having a blast. I got to see Jason Statham, one of the biggest action stars on the planet, get into a fist fight with The Rock, and then watch cars drive out of an airplane and parachute onto the ground. It is stupid and impossible and I loved near every minute of it.

Despite having made his name in horror with films like “The Conjuring”, Wan has a solid hand filming the action scenes. He may like to spin the camera around a bit too much, but for the most part he gives us some creative and engaging shots, and directs some moments of true tension, like when Walker is running up the side of a bus that is falling off of a cliff.

Speaking of Walker, it is impossible not to think of him for nearly the entire film. After his untimely passing back in November 2013, it put the film in delay as it was rewritten and his brothers stood in to finish filming his scenes. For the most part it is seamless, minus one or two shots of clear stock footage, and there was a touching tribute to Walker in the credits. He is the most charismatic and relatable character of the series and it is a true shame to see him go; but luckily Walker’s final film gives him a potent goodbye.

The biggest flaw “Furious 7” has is the same thing that hindered “Fast Five” and “Fast & Furious 6”: an overlong, numbing finale. When the climax arrives, it goes on for what feels like half an hour, with continuous explosions and destruction for the sake of explosions and destruction. It doesn’t ruin the film, but it makes it near overstaying its welcome.

Hopefully “Furious 7” is the final film of the franchise, both because it is a proper sendoff to Walker and the series would quit while it’s ahead. Like I’ve said through the entire review, the film is loud and doesn’t even attempt to be realistic, the writing is oh my god and the plot is predictable as anything; but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a blast watching it all go down.

Critics Rating: 7/10



‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Zany, Brilliant Fun

GOTG-posterImagine “The Avengers” and “Star Wars” had a child and it listened to nothing but music from the 1970’s and 80’s. That’s pretty much what “Guardians of the Galaxy” is, and it’s about as awesome as you imagined when you read that description.

Directed and written by James Gunn, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is yet another film set in the Marvel Universe. It stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper as the Guardians, a group of rag-tag intergalactic criminals who set out to save the world from a radical tyrant.

The first time I saw the trailer for “Guardians”, I thought it was a joke; like a parody skit from a late night show. It was so sarcastic and over-the-top and self-referential that it couldn’t be an actual film. But it was, and the final product is as entertaining as that first trailer implied it to be.

Everything about “Guardians of the Galaxy” has been done before, yet the film manages to be fresh and new all at the same time. The heroes in the film, despite ranging from a walking tree to a talking raccoon, are more relatable than the average superhero. They curse, get drunk, and debate not saving people because it would endanger their own life. You know, people stuff.

Gunn, who directed “Super”, a film where a regular guy becomes a vigilante hero, has written a script that doesn’t forget about its hero’s humanity, as well as their humor, and it is what makes “Guardians” such a fun ride. Honestly, this is one of the funniest films of the year. All the Marvel movies have their share of wit and humor, especially “Iron Man”, but “Guardians” is different. It’s just plain zany. Characters will say things that on paper shouldn’t work, or may seem awkward in a superhero film, but on screen it turns to gold (“I have a plan! I have…I don’t know, 12% of a plan!”).

The only true flaw in “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the use of filler scenes. While I was never bored, and at times was having the most fun I had had at a cinema all year, there are a few scenes that just felt unnecessary, and created some pacing issues. If the film had been an hour 45, instead of pushing it to the two hour mark, I think it would have been perfect. But hey, I’m not complaining I got an additional 15 minutes of seeing a raccoon shooting a machine gun.

The villain was also very Darth Maul-ish in that he looks cool, but in actuality has a cliché plot and is just a puppet for the main villain of the series. But that’s neither here nor there.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is like everything you’ve seen before in superhero and science-fiction films, yet unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It’s stupid, cliché, and over-the-top all while being brilliant, original and relatable. I honestly had a blast with this film and feel no guilt saying that it is just as good, and slightly funnier, than “The Avengers”. In a month of the year that normally has studios dumping out trash, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is anything but.

Critics Rating: 8/10