The Fate of the Furious (2017)

There is an undeniable love for The Fast and the Furious franchise over here. My husband and I are huge fans. We own all the movies and have seen most of them in theatres. No doubt, we got our tickets and went to go check this one out.

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

fate of the furious

Director: F. Gary Gray

Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Charlize Theron

When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before. – IMDB

Bigger, badder and a whole new meaning of family comes together in the eighth instalment of The Fate of the Furious. And we can’t and shouldn’t expect anything less. There is no doubt at this point that as any franchise running this long, the die-hard fans will eat this up and love every minute of it. For newcomers, this might not be the one to start with. Perhaps one of the biggest flaws of long franchises is that it is hard to be self-contained. The Fate of the Furious is also prone to bring back characters and build on past events and storylines. The best way to describe sitting down to watch a Fast and the Furious movie, particularly the later instalments starts from the fourth till this most recent one, is a gathering with old friends or even a family reunion. If you walk in on this one, well, you might just get caught up in a lot of inside jokes and feel like you walked into someone’s life and really trying to grasp onto what happened before. However, this storyline isn’t overly complex as they usually aren’t and focuses a lot on high octane action with car chases and explosions, lots of witty and funny one liners and a team that can really bring it on with the best cars and fantastically well-plotted heists. If over the top action is what you like, this movie definitely delivers. Everything you expect of a Fast franchise movie is all here and I loved every minute of it starting from the beginning. About maybe half an hour in or probably more since this movie flew by so fast, it was obvious that I had a grin and just enjoying it so very much.

Image: Universal Pictures

The Fate of the Furious is about family. This franchise is about cars and action and crazy stuff that just gets bigger and badder but in the core, it is about the family and the team. This time, we really zero in on Dom who has some hold that has brought him to go rogue and now his team needs to go up against him. While everyone’s views are starting to falter about whether he’s really just lost it, Letty won’t let up. She knows that look in his eyes and that through everything he makes each choice for a reason no matter how dangerous or how crazy or how ridiculous. There’s something more and she’s out to find it. And everyone knows that when Dom’s not around, they listen to Letty. Michelle Rodriguez is not a great actress, I’m going to be completely honest on that and yet this tough chick thing works for her. Same goes for a lot of the team. Ludacris is getting a bigger role and I truly love his character Tej. He delivers some really fun lines especially when he always mocks Roman, played by Tyrese Gibson. There’s a great emphasis of mocking Roman’s whiny and scaredy-cat personality and just his loud screaming in general and I love how they address it by no one greater than Luke Hobbs played by Dwayne Johnson, the addition that possibility made this series even better and his presence is so appreciated all the times. This time his feud with Jason Statham’s character, Deckard that joins the team because of the common enemy, creates some great hand to hand combat moments and some great chemistry there with one-liners, particularly one that was laugh out loud and completely memorable. Finally, the rookie of the team enters where as “Little Nobody” which is somewhat of Mr. Nobody’s (played by Kurt Russell) minion who is learning the ropes and there are some funny moments with that.

The Fate of the Furious

In terms of enemy, we have the mysterious “organization” or just smart lady, Cipher played by Charlize Theron. Cipher is pretty cool character. She has some nice outfits and seems to be really philosophical about what she does and choice theories and all that talky stuff. Its good seeing as this franchise isn’t about talking so it adds a nice layer to it even though evil Charlize Theron always seems to be very similar, but then I only have Snow White and the Huntsman as my comparison and other than the different setting, it didn’t feel all that different. We know that she can drive since she was in Mad Max and she can do the badass bit well enough (which she does alright). Don’t get me wrong. Charlize Theron was fine. She is a great actress with a lot of range and you don’t really need all that much acting chops to be in Fast because of the action and yet, I kind of hoped to see some more from her. There were some parts that she seemed to channel in the right balance of cyber security hacking genius and yet, I don’t quite know how to word what is missing. Teaming up with her is the rogue man, Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto. Dom obviously has an agenda and we soon find out why he’s joined forces with Cipher. I’m not going to spoil it for you. Dom is Dom. I love him because of who he is: a man of few words and solemn expressions and yet there’s this gentle side to him when he’s with family and yet still so very manly. Anyways, its Dom and I love his character.

The fate of the furious

How do we not talk about action, right? The last part is all about that. While others have issues with the unrealistic and over the top ridiculous action and the bigger and badder, it comes at no surprise at this point that its my cup of tea. I love it for the high octane adrenaline rush fun. This time, we get auto-drive cars down New York City and the ice fields in northern Russia or something and submarines and missiles. Its full of explosion and destruction. I love how the movie starts with the face-off for pink slip or respect. It is a great time through and through.

This review was supposed to be so objective and yet, it ended after the first paragraph, maybe. There’s a lot to love here and a lot of it has to do with the love of the team and just the franchise and its over the top action that works all the time. It helps to cheer the characters over and over again. It might not live up again to the awesomeness of Fast Five but its definitely somewhere in line with Furious 7. The Fate of the Furious, I believe, was sprouted because of Paul Walker’s desire to make this so although we all know he isn’t there anymore, the spirit of his character still lives in this one as he gets one mention and its something that I like a lot. This movie has its flaws, no doubt about it. Its not very deep and Charlize Theron leaves a lot to be desired in a villain and yet, the emphasis on family is never as important, plus there’s a few new characters that work well.

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Three Quick Reviews: Vanity Fair, The Upside of Anger, Gnomeo & Juliet

You know whats great about these quick reviews? Its when you have these movies that can be explained in just simple terms how you feel and you just have to write a paragraph instead of trying to analyze way too much. Anyways, it would be not feasible to write full reviews for everything unless I have everything backlogged and then, I’d just forgot I watched it.

Enough of ramblings, another three quick reviews for stuff I watched outside of recommendations ūüôā

VANITY FAIR (2004)

vanity fair poster

Director: Mira Nair

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Romola Garai, James Purefoy, Tony Maudsley, Rhys Ifans, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Vanity Fair is adapted from¬†the novel (which I haven’t read) about Rebecca Sharp (Reese Witherspoon), a girl who is orphaned at a young age and grows up poor and once she leaves the home for girls as governess, she tries to ascend the social ladder. ¬†We follow her through different stages in her life as society tries to pull her back but she always finds a way to climb back up in her own way.

I’m just going short here because this movie was a bit over 2 hours long and I have never watched a movie in 4 parts and I watched this over 3 days (at least). ¬†It just dragged on and on. ¬†If it wasn’t for a rather charming James Purefoy for a bit of the movie and hating that he got married to a very annoying Rebecca Sharp and feeling bad for him, I’d have shut off the movie. Still, I did keep on because I kept hoping it would get better. ¬†Till now, I don’t really know if I’m supposed to feel good or bad for Rebecca Sharp… I guess thats why, I downloaded the novel to my tablet and I’ll read it to know what the actual story really was ūüėČ Oh, and the girl from Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (review HERE) was in it too!

The Upside of Anger (2005)

the upside of anger poster

Director: Mike Binder

Cast: Kevin Costner, Joan Allen, Keri Russell, Evan Rachel Wood, Erika Christensen, Alicia Witt

The Upside of Anger is about Terry Ann (Joan Allen) whose husband unexpectedly disappears and she is left with her four daughters: Andy (Erika Christensen), Emily (Keri Russell), Hadley (Alicia Witt) and Popeye (Evan Rachel Wood). As much as she should be taking care of her teenage girls, they end up taking care of her instead, as she picks up her pieces and eventually engages into a relationship with an once baseball star and now radio DJ, Denny (Kevin Costner). At the same time, the daughters each have to manage their own lives.

I chose The Upside of Anger because of Kevin Costner and my lack of exposure to his roles. ¬†Other than being slightly lengthy at parts, I felt that The Upside of Anger is definitely one that should be seen by more people. ¬†I don’t know, maybe a lot of people know about it? Do you? Its the first time I’ve heard of it at least and it took me by surprise in a very good way. ¬†As with the title, there are a lot of conflicts and crazy going on but somehow it gets the story flowing and we get a good view on the relationship of Terry ¬†Ann and each of her daughters, different point of views and how she changes and eventually sees things a bit different, a lot was slowly through an outsider’s perspective who was let inside which was Kevin Costner’s character Denny. ¬†The movie starts and ends with the narration of her youngest daughter, nickname Popeye and she recaps the essence very well with this quote:

Anger and resentment can stop you in your tracks. That’s what I know now. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It’s real, though – the fury, even when it isn’t. It can change you… turn you… mold you and shape you into something you’re not. The only upside to anger, then… is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they’re not afraid to take the journey, someone that knows that the truth is, at best, a partially told story. That anger, like growth, comes in spurts and fits, and in its wake, leaves a new chance at acceptance, and the promise of calm.- The Upside of Anger

GNOMEO & JULIET (2012)

untitled
Director: Kelly Asbury

Cast: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Ashley Jensen, Michael Caine, Matt Lucas, Jim Cummings, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Ozzy Osbourne, Stephen Merchant

I’m sure I don’t need a synopsis for this classic Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet but in a children’s version with garden gnomes. ¬†Forbidden love, family feud, garden gnomes, red versus blue, etc. ¬†You know the story already. Just remember Gnomeo & Juliet is aimed to children and it doesn’t get that bad. ¬†At least I don’t remember it being too hitting adult territory. ¬†With that said, if you sit through this with a fully alert adult brain, I promise you will find a lot of flaws in the story design and the premise itself. I mean, just for starters, how in the world do the owners not know where they left their garden gnomes and not question when they are shifted or don’t look the same?

gnomeo and juliet 1

BUT, ¬†if you can overlook those things and go to being a simple mind, they do have some pretty fun moments and I loved the voices. ¬†I recognized the main voices, especially Michael Caine. ¬†Who doesn’t recognize his because its so awesome. I have to admit that I paused when I saw Jason Statham (WHAT?!?!). That just made this totally out of the world. ¬†I really love the voice work. It made the characters very likeable despite its very predictable and possibly overused storyline. ¬†The characters were very cute and there were some nice moments. ¬†And well, some pretty nostalgic ones too. ¬†I may not have had garden gnomes when I was younger because it wasn’t my dad’s thing but we had those plastic flamingos. ¬†Coincidentally, the plastic flamingo was one of my favorite characters.

Gnomeo & Juliet is an average animation. It aims to please kids more than the parents.  The upside is that it has a talented cast that gives life to each of these characters to make them fun and vibrant.

OVERALL..Out of these three, I’d really say that The Upside of Anger is the best one. ¬†It has a great cast with Joan Allen, Kevin Costner and my personal favorite, Keri Russell (who I almost wrote Felicity).

What has me curious now is: Have you heard of The Upside of Anger before? What is your favorite version of Romeo and Juliet? Have you read Vanity Fair before and is it similar to this movie?

Just a little intermission while I decide which movies from the recommendations list I want to watch! ūüôā Happy Friday!!

The Expendables 2 (2012)

Last night I finally got around to going to see The Expendables 2 with my boyfriend (of course!). ¬†He’s a big fan of all the old school action stars, so it was really a lot of excitement on his end. ¬†I’d be lying if I wasn’t a bit worried (as usual) for a sequel. ¬†A lot of the actors added onto this one that I haven’t had much exposure to so my boyfriend was telling me a short description of who they were during the movies. ¬†You know, general description like martial artist or wrestling, etc. ¬†Honestly, thats what you need to expect what awesome moves they’ll pull and surprise you. ¬†Enough with the rambling…here we go!

Lets say I wanted and expected to get exactly what was in the first. ¬†If they managed to be at par, I was going to be extremely happy because I had a happy thrill ride in the first one. ¬†I LOVE testosterone movies. ¬†I’m serious…explosions, gun fights, fist fights, martial arts, etc. ¬†I didn’t expect this movie to have a crazy plot either, nothing too deep. ¬†I just expected it to have the minimum to get the action going.

What did I get? MAXIMUM SATISFACTION!! My eyes were glued to the screen.  Right from the beginning to the final showdown, I was hooked.  It was so fun!

It had a really nice mix of humor also. ¬†I felt it was mostly because the old cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Randy Couture had a really good chemistry, especially Stallone and Statham and their random bickering was just absolutely hilarious. ¬†You have Lundgren with his random comments and then Crews’ remarks. ¬†On top of that, they added Liam Hemsworth which had a little side story to supplement. ¬†I have to say that I really enjoyed his appearance. ¬†I haven’t seen any of his other movies yet since I didn’t catch Hunger Games in theatres and then I haven’t wanted to sit down and watch Last Song yet either. ¬†This will definitely motivate me to do it though. ¬†We also got an Chinese action actress, Nan Yu who started off not doing too much but built into a character that pulled off some pretty cool moves. ¬†Of course, the extended appearance of Arnold¬†Schwarzenegger¬†and Bruce Willis is always a plus (despite its constant referral to its past movies, first 2 times was alright, eventually was starting to roll my eyes). ¬†They played an interesting part in how this movie flowed. ¬†Then we have the new roles played by Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and even Scott Adkins. ¬†These roles pulled my boyfriend mostly because he grew up with them and that was the fun part I think. ¬†Scott Adkins had left his mark for my boyfriend in Undisputed 2; Jean-Claude Van Damme was for the reknowned martial arts and well, Chuck Norris…is Chuck Norris. ¬†The cast itself boost this movie’s raw action up so many levels.

Seeing as the cast itself are a lot of awesome action stars, we are expected to have just an amazing experience. ¬†Let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint me at least. ¬†I thought it was amazing. ¬†It started off with lots of explosions, guns, big cars, ramming through obstacles. ¬†There’s a lot of sticking up for each other going on as well. We get surprise covers everywhere. ¬†From the beginning, with Hemsworth’s character in the sniper role and making his appearance as the addition to the Expendables crew. ¬†Chuck Norris also comes to the rescue for a little snapshot in the middle with lots of shooting. ¬†Honestly, there really wasn’t much drama going on in terms of the plot. ¬†Its start forward: The team starts with a mission to introduce the cast, then falls into a mission that they are assigned with by Bruce Willis’s character as making up a situation to retrieve something from a destroyed plane. ¬†They go in and things end up going bad when another team, the villain played by Jean-Claude Van Damme (called Vilain) and his right hand man, (played by Scott Adkins) comes in. ¬†The plan afterwards in response to Statham’s question, “What now?” Stallone responds, “Track him, find him, kill him”. ¬†At that point, you know that the intensity level is going to shoot up. ¬†If nothing else caught you, the final showdown was seriously awesome! ¬†I mean everyone shows their crazy fighting, shooting, tackling, martial arts abilities.

All in all, I really enjoyed The Expendables 2.  I would even say that I liked it even more than the first one, which is actually quite rare (in my movie view experience at least).  The cast was great and had a huge amount of intense action. It was all I expected and I think, it exceeded my expectations so thats even better.

How about you? Did you see this movie yet? If yes, what did you think? If not, will you eventually see it when it releases on DVD/Blu-ray?