Let me start by saying that prior to going into Fate Of The Furious, I enjoyed the Fast And Furious series overall as a whole. I found the first movie to be a fun Street racing film with a touch of Point Break to it plot wise with an undercover cop befriending a criminal. I didn't particularly care much for 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift as I found them more to be throwaway entertainment then actually being good films. The series for me really began to improve once Vin Diesel returned for the 4th sequel and since then, each of the films has gotten progressively better quality wise in regards to action and the filmmakers attempting to present more of a story to the audience rather than it just being about the cars. The concept of family, friendship, and brotherhood is introduced in great depth with these films. Like many fans, I found Furious 7 to not only be a fitting end to the story arc of Paul Walker playing Brian due to his sudden and untimely passing, but also felt that the series could've and should've ended with how Furious 7 concluded as a whole. Apparently the filmmakers didn't agree with me as they chose to carry on the series insisting that Paul Walker would've wanted another Furious film made regardless, and to make it a full ten films total in the series. Having seen the early previews for The Fate Of The Furious, one is confused at the idea of Vin Diesels character becoming a villain and turning against his own crew with Charlize Theron's character pushing him to do so. Having seen Fate Of The Furious now, things make more sense however one carries mixed feelings towards this entry given how they felt the last one should've been the end for the franchise as a whole.
The Fate Of The Furious is not a bad action flick by any means as it serves its purpose of continuing the franchise properly after Brian's exit from the series along with entertaining it's audience, it's a question of whether the new installment was needed in the series to continue after Furious 7 wrapped things up beautifully. Fate feels like a sequel that is guilty pleasure for those who love the action aspect of the series but at the same time feels unnecessary and only serves to draw the series out further for the sake of profit. All of the main characters from the last several Furious films are back particularly Vin Diesel in the title role, remaining just as exciting to watch as the main star of the film with Charlize Theron making an effective protagonist. Dwayne Johnson does well as Dominic's sidekick turned rivalry in this one with Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, and Kurt Russell delivering strong supporting roles with Jason Statham making his return in this one being forced to help Torettos team fight against Dom's new enemy. Action wise, Fate remains as outrageous and over the top as the previous installments, throwing logic out the window. The film comes with twists and turns that fans of the series will be shocked and enjoy such as the revelation that Toretto has a son from Dwayne Johnson's partner whom he became connected with in the 5th and 6th installments. What makes this franchise work is the amount of chemistry that the main cast has together as a whole as it's both compelling and a great deal of fun to witness. As for Paul Walkers absence, one does feel his absence as there is a clear missing link in the film when one watches it but director F. Gary Gray more than compensates for that factor with lots of action and humor from the main characters, not to mention a fitting tribute to the character at the end. Having previously worked with an ensemble cast the size of Furious with the 2001 remake of The Italian Job, Gray makes the old members of the team shine as well as the newer ones such as Kurt Russell Jason Statham who goes from being an enemy of Toretto's team in the previous installment to becoming an ally, and the inclusion of Scott Eastwood's character who feels like the replacement for Brian O Connor. In regards to whether Fate Of The Furious is successful in prolonging the series with an additional set of films while establishing itself as a sequel and mini reboot, it succeeds ultimately while feeling unnecessary at the same time, giving the impression that the teams missions are complete as well as their Street racing days now fully behind them. If one goes into this series with just an interest in the action then they won't care how much h further the series goes, but if one cares about the characters and story then they'll agree that the ending of Furious 7 should've been the official sound off for the series as it not only was perfect but bittersweet for both Dom and Brian's characters. With the latter's absence, the series is missing the brotherhood angle as well as the cop and criminal becoming great friends arc that was a significant part of the series as a whole. The rest of the series looks to focus primarily on Dom's adventures and his newfound revelation as being a father figure now. While that isn't necessarily a bad thing for the expansion of the series the question still persists of whether it was truly necessary.
Overall The Fate Of The Furious achieves what it sets out to do which is to be entertaining while delivering the heavy doses of over the top action with the same infectious chemistry between the characters that got audiences hooked on the series in the first place. Fate is an entry in the series that comes with mixed emotions as one finds it to be decent but unnecessarily expanding the series further out than it needed to go. Fate gives audiences exactly what they come to expect from the franchise but perhaps this time it feels a tad stale as the film clearly misses the presence of its other screen star who passed, and the movie now focuses on Dominic's adventures. It's not a question for the filmmakers behind Fate Of The Furious on whether they could but whether they should. The film is worth watching if you're a longtime fan of the series of want to see the same insane action delivered to you like the previous installments but one will also feel that it's unnecessary to let the series continue after how brilliantly the ending of Furious 7 was.
7.5 out of 10