MMT Quick Review: THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS by contributor Darryl King

I don’t know how they do it but the Fast & the Furious franchise has done it again! Just when you thought it was safe and that this franchise was running out of gas… the movies that cry out about family… continues at record speed.

“The Fate of the Furious” is an explosive movie filled with the usual large action set pieces, corny one liners, fight scenes that capture your imagination and at its core, a heartfelt storyline of family.

This time the family must face its biggest challenge to date… Dominic Loretto (Vin Diesel). For some reason, revealed within the movie, Dominic must turn his back on the one thing to him that matters most… family. “Fast 8” then goes upon a journey to find out why he betrays his friends and how they must deal with him, while saving the world. His turn is a common subplot within the action genre yet this provides an interesting twist upon this series, opening the door for some new characters to be introduced to help balance the scales.

What the Fast & Furious series has always done very well has been the introduction of new characters into the mythos, villains and heroes, who are germane to the storyline without severely diminishing screen time for others. All your favorites from the franchise return, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Tej (Ludacris), and Roman (Tyrese) along with a few forgotten characters which help soothe the void of the loss of Paul Walker (O’Conner).

The villain from the last movie, Ian Shaw (Jason Statham) similarly turns sides like Dominic and joins our “Fast” team. His inclusion on the team creates an intriguing dynamic and a wonderful chemistry between Statham and the Rock. The energy between them is special and adds a much-needed spice for this movie.

But Charlize Theron as the evil technological spy known as “Cipher” grounds this film with a dark reality which we haven’t witnessed within this franchise. She is calculated and cruel with a purpose that serves the story.

Helen Mirren also fits so well in this “Fast” world, especially for those who loved her role in the movie “Red.” The only addition that doesn’t work is Scott Eastwood who plays an agent under Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell). It is obvious that they planted his character as a potential replacement for Paul Walker, but he becomes annoying while ciphering screen time from Russell.

Perhaps what makes us love Fast & Furious series, the characters, their stories, and the unbelievable, over the top action is that ever since Fast & Furious 4, this franchise has done a wonderful job at concealing a storyline/twist that changes the outcome of the movie. To that end, this alliteration doesn’t disappoint by tying in the plots from the other movies in this franchise.

Mainly this ploy has been to show that Dominic is much smarter that we realize, so that he is more than a racer/mechanic/leader of the pack of car racers, but this other view always shows our heroes always had another plan. This discovery by us the viewers attempts to make the unbelievable… believable but what it does is it manufactures an even more ridiculous story but ironically allows the film to feel more real.

So, in the end, the movie asks the rhetorical question… what is the Fate of the Furious? The fate is that we will get at least another 2 more movies in this franchise, with millions of enduring fans who can suspend disbelief, buy a big bucket of popcorn and put our faith again… in family.

Darryl King is a video director, film writer and avid Marvel/DC comic book/movie lover. Check out his reviews of Logan, John Wick: Chapter 2 and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story right here on MMT.

MMT Quick Review of THE ASSIGNMENT

Surrounded by controversy from the get, THE ASSIGNMENT – the latest film by director Walter Hill who is best known for the pop cult classic “The Warriors” – does not live up to the hype of some of Hill’s earlier works, but it will give action seekers some thrills.

In the film, Michelle Rodriguez takes on the double role of Frank Kitchen and Frank Kitchen – before and after his “involuntary” sex reassignment surgery that is. As a hitman that becomes the victim of a crazed surgeon named Dr. Kay (Sigourney Weaver), who is seeking revenge after her brother is killed, Kitchen spends much of the film in search of his own brand of justice – and to Rodriguez’s credit, she does well with most of the action scenes.

But it wasn’t the action I took issue with. It isn’t even the hotly contested transgender theme that has given me pause – although I can empathize with those who believe its being used as a tool for revenge is inappropriate, as I understood those from the women’s advocacy community who took issue with the 2015 psychological thriller “The Gift” and the sexual assault theme, which many believed was a misguided tool used to drive the script. But, unlike “The Assignment,” The Gift took the time to deliver a big reveal, which I feel leaves the audience with a more exciting and satisfying pay off.

The “rub” in this film was the fact that the audience knows where it’s going from the start, and there isn’t a big enough twist or pivot to make this B movie as bad@$$ as it could have been. When the film starts, we find Weaver’s character in a psychiatric facility, and we also know she’s being blamed for Kitchen’s actions. We also know what gripe the protagonist has against everyone he comes up against in the story – except for one of Kay’s accomplices he discovers later in the film – but that reveal alone and the fairly decent action scenes aren’t enough to elevate the movie to classic or even multiple re-watch status.

And although it was cool to see some solid character actors like Tony Shalhoub (Monk) and Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) in the cast, neither they nor the Alien series icon Weaver were enough to push this film forward.

Currently On-Demand, and in select theaters, THE ASSIGNMENT isn’t for those seeking a more complicated thrill, but will do for those who don’t mind the storyline and want to enjoy some action.

Until next thought, Thomasena

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY: advanced screening for THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS Tuesday, April 11 (Philly, Pa area)

Happy Sunday MMT Fam! I know many of you have been waiting for this one and are ready to enter, so let’s get to it! We’re giving away 25 pairs of advanced screening passes to THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS, screening April 11 in King of Prussia.

The film is the eight installment in the wildly popular Fast and the Furious franchise, and finds lead character Dom (Vin Diesel) being seduced by a mysterious woman (Charlize Theron) and betraying those closest to him.

This a subscribers-only contest, but if you’re reading this and haven’t done so already what are you waiting for? To enter, send an email to contests@musicmoviesthoughts.com with the subject line “Fate” and your full name in the body. Winners will be selected at random and notified on Sunday, April 9. And remember: those who follow MMT on Facebook, in addition to the website, always increase their chances of winning!

You can watch the trailer below and get additional info at the official website here. THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS opens in theaters nationwide on April 14.

Good luck!

 

GIVEAWAY: advance screening of ‘Furious 7’ Wednesday, April 1 (Philly, PA)

Furious 7 (photo: Universal Studios)

Happy Friday Night MMT Philly Fam!  Remember last November when MMT gave that quick look at Furious 7? Well, we’ve partnered with Allied-THA for a special advance screening of the film next Wednesday night, April 1. I know all the Furious fans have been waiting for this one, especially since it’s the final franchise appearance of the late Paul Walker.

The first 15 MMT website followers to send an email to thinkmusicmovies@gmail.com, with the subject line “Furious” and their full name in the body, will receive an admit-two pass for the screening. Winners will be notified by Monday, March 30.

You can check out the official trailer for Furious 7 below and get additional information at the website here.

Good luck family!  Until next thought, Thomasena

A Quick Review of Fast & Furious 6 (featuring guest reviewer Brian Henderson)

Fast & Furious 6 (photo: Universal Studios)

Hey Family,

Today marks a MusicMoviesThoughts first!  For the first time in almost two years, I am turning over the quick review of a movie, in this instance Fast & Furious 6, to trusted movie fan and MMT follower Brian Henderson.  Brian has been a long time supporter and is a HUGE movie fan.  Since I could not make the screening, I asked him if he would share his thoughts (minus spoilers of course) and he kindly obliged.

Here is Brian’s synopsis of Fast & Furious 6:

“OMG!  First off, Fast & Furious 6 was so action-packed, I didn’t go to the bathroom!  It’s definitely a great movie; (the kind) when you don’t want to get up and miss anything.  I was so excited to see the whole crew (cast) back again.  The acting was awesome, and I really liked the intense connections that everybody seemed to have with each other; if they weren’t in a movie together you could still imagine them all hanging out.  

Tyrese was funnier to me this time around.  Ludicris had several funny parts, where Tyrese and him (joked) back and forth with each other.  The action scenes  were done perfectly and will have you on the edge of your seat.  Michelle Rodriguez had the best fight scene in this movie, and it was so amazing the audience jumped up and down.  Vin Diesel did a great job, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was excellent as usual.  My son, Taj, couldn’t keep still and neither could my friend (and long time MMT supporter) Carolee.  It almost felt like we were on a rollercoaster ride!

The film wasn’t too long, as some movies are, so I didn’t feel sleepy when I got home. We constantly talked and compared notes on the car ride home.  I definitely will go to see this movie again this weekend when it comes out. If you want an action-packed movie that will keep you jumping up and down ,and  have you screaming with excitement, go see this movie!  Two thumbs up!”

Well family, I think Brian gave a great synopsis of what to expect from Fast & Furious 6.  I will give the disclaimer that Brian is a fan of the series and I know he enjoys action films; so if you are more on the tame side of movie viewing, and constant action isn’t your thing, this may not be the film for you. But if you enjoy thrills and edge of your seat excitement, I think Brian has given you a great movie choice for this weekend. 🙂
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lead an all star-cast in Fast & Furious 6, which opens today 5/24/13 nationwide.  You can check out the trailer below and visit the official website for more info at www.thefastandthefurious.com.
A big thanks to Brian Henderson for sharing his vivid thoughts and excitement about this film!  I’m looking forward to MMT’s next guest review…will it be you?
Until next thought family, Thomasena