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Dan M., here….
Fast & Furious: Civil War
(Feel free so scroll to the bottom if you’re here to talk Jason Statham.)
After the death of Paul Walker and the 7th film there has been lots of speculation as to where the Fast & Furious franchise would go and the 8th movie definitively answers that question: Anywhere it damn well pleases. By the end of The Fate of the Furious, the loudest, most insane, and dumbest (in a good way) entry in the series, the stage is set for 100 more of these films and I’d sign up for 99 of them. While many franchises are working as hard as they can to justify spinoffs and team up films, the Fast & Furious put itself in a position to justify a number of spinoffs. As a film universe goes, Fast & Furious is behind only Marvel.
To set the stage for this review, Dom & crew are retired until Charlize Theron (Cipher) shows up and blackmails Dom into turning against his family and working for her. The reasons for his flip are revealed later and set the movie into overdrive (see what I did there?) but ultimately Dom is a bad guy for an hour of the film because this series doesn’t know what to do with him after 7 appearances. By making him the “villain” Vin Diesel is allowed to show more emotion and range than his previous 7 turns as Dom combined which consisted of him tough guy whispering and giving toasts about family to his crew. The character of Dom is one half of the coin and the loss of Paul Walker was felt in every single scene that Dom was in without Brian to play off of. I know Paul Walker wasn’t a generational acting talent but he’s good looking and charming which offsets a lot of the brooding Dom scenes. I guess the point of hiring Scott Eastwood was to maybe put him in that role one day but he has the screen presence of a cup of coffee and was the absolute worst addition of any Fast entry yet.
That complaint aside, when the rest of the cast is on screen the movie comes alive. Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese) put in their best work so far and didn’t feel like bystanders this go around who were only there to shout one liners. Charlize Theron is by far the biggest actual villain the series has ever had and watching an Oscar caliber actress just have an absolute blast playing a bad guy will never fail to amuse me. Helen Mirren got her wish and turns in two quick scenes where you can see the absolute joy she has delivering some of this dialogue. Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) gets to show a few comedic chops in this one which was a welcomed surprise. Alright, we’ve waiting long enough let’s get to the stars of this movie….
Once again, The Rock shows up in a film and is the best part of every single scene. He has a hilarious “intro” in this one where he is coaching his daughter’s soccer team that was perfect. His prison breakout fight was him at his most cartoony awesome. His rivalry with Jason Statham and one-liners were delivered in a manner that only The Rock can do. He’s the best. Except for the fact Jason Statham showed up and dunked on him from half court.
If you’ve seen Spy where Jason Statham plays the “Bond-esque” bad ass who has the ego the size of the ocean and said, “Man I’d love to see Jason Statham do that more.” This is your movie. Jason Statham is downright hilarious and has unbelievable comedic ability. His arguments with The Rock were great. His action scenes were badass. His “purpose” (no spoilers) was believable in the way he played it. He was amazing in this movie. I really don’t want to spoil the end of the movie but Jason Statham has a sequence in the finale that is one of the best action/comedy bits I have ever seen. It is incredibly executed in tone on every level. He flips from shooting people in the head and punching others to being the most charmingly funny guy at the drop of a hat for nearly 15 minutes. The audience actually did a sort of laugh, cheer, and clap combo throughout this sequence that I hadn’t seen since Spider-Man’s takedown of Ant-Man in Civil War. I would pay $100 right now to have that sequence on my phone so I could show it to any non-Statham believers.
Overall the movie was exactly what you’d expect from this franchise. The additions or at least increased roles for some of the cast were well received by me. I have no clue what Fast 9 will be but I do know that much like Marvel, the Fast & Furious franchise has a stable of actors and characters that they could do anything wit. From a Rock/Statham buddy comedy, Tej/Roman hacking movie, Dom (redacted spoiler) movie, or just find an Oscar winner who wants to chew scenery for 2 hours to battle the entire crew. I don’t see any signs of this franchise running out of gas (nailed it!) anytime soon.