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Fate of the Furious, The (Blu-ray Review)

21 Jul, 2017 By: John Latchem



Universal
Action
Box Office $225.76 million
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray, $44.98 UHD Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggestive content, and language
Stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron.

These “Fast & Furious” movies are really just exercises in seeing how more over-the-top each subsequent installment can get over the previous one. This eighth one (which works the word “fate” into the title to cleverly play on the F8 marketing) is sure to give hope to all the street racers and con artists out there who one day hope to make it as international spies.

But, lest we think the franchise has completely forgotten its roots, it does start off with a supercharged street race through the streets of Havana, Cuba — a good place to start since director F. Gary Gray points out that street racing is the biggest thing fans of the franchise tell him they miss about it.

What’s interesting about all this is that the core elements of the franchise are still there — family bonds and hot cars — they just keep getting repurposed in newer and fancier ways.

Anyway, the hook in this one is that Dom (Vin Diesel) supposedly turns his back on his “family” and they have to take him on. This is all orchestrated by an international hacker named Cypher (Charlize Theron), who is revealed to have been the mastermind behind the evil schemes from the previous two movies.

There’s not much logic to be found here, just cool cars, spectacular chases and a few imaginative action sequences, such as a fleet of self-driving cars plowing into each other in the streets of New York, Jason Statham taking out a plane full of gunmen while holding a baby, and sports cars racing a nuclear submarine.

The Blu-ray does a pretty good job taking viewers behind the scenes of all this mayhem with several featurettes devoted to different aspects of the production, running about 70 minutes total.

“The Cuban Spirit” deals with how the production team took the unprecedented step of actually filming in Havana, and all the difficulties that entailed. Of course, some attention is given to Cuba’s car culture, which essentially involves 50-year-old cars being refurbished through the decades and passed down through the generations.

“In the Family” offers four featurettes that look at new characters and how the dynamics of the returning characters are affected by them.

“Car Culture” serves up the bread-and-butter of this franchise, looking at the myriad vehicles on display in the film. There’s also a look at how they filmed the New York diverless cars sequence, plus a profile of a tank-like vehicle called the Ripsaw, which looks like it drove out of a “G.I. Joe” episode but is a real-life asset of the U.S. military.

“All About the Stunts” looks at how the action scenes were filmed in Cuba, Iceland and New York.

The Blu-ray also includes five minutes of extended fight scenes, one a longer prison fight and the other a longer fight on the plane. There’s more such goodness to be had in a 13-minutes-longer extended cut available through the digital copy code.

Finally, Gray offers a solo commentary in which he enthusiastically relays his experiences making the film.


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