The Fate of the Furious (out now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and On Demand) is the eighth (!) movie in a series that started with a low-budget 2001 action movie and has become the biggest action movie series in the world. As the movies have gotten faster and more furious, they've become more and more outrageous in their stunts, plots and characterizations.
F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) takes over as director and it's the first movie made without the late Paul Walker and his Brian O'Conner character.
There are three central action sequences in the movie: an outrageous street race in Havana, Cuba featuring Dom (Vin Diesel) and a crazy midtown Manhattan chase that's dominated by automated cars (hacked by Charlize Theron's villain Cipher and her crew) raining down from the sky. The climax comes with a race across the ice in Russia and the team is chased by a nuclear submarine.
For a series that's all about "loyalty" and "family," there's a lot of team switching going on. Dom is blackmailed into joining the bad guys and his crew is left to debate his loyalties. Brothers Owen and Deckard Shaw (Luke Evans and Jason Statham) find Cipher as dangerous as everyone else does and the former enemies are recruited by Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) to join the crew that's now led by Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Helen Mirren even makes a brief cameo as Owen and Deckard's mom.
All the dialog is the movie is spectacularly free of idioms so it can be easily translated into every imaginable language. Everyone involved seems to know how ridiculous these plot contortions are and rolls with the absurdity with smiles on their faces. Every, that is, except poor Vin Diesel. He's making a different movie than the rest of the cast and crew. All of his speeches about loyalty and family are delivered like he's in an ancient Stanley Kramer social justice movie. Michelle Rodriguez's Letty is also painted into a corner because she's now married Dom and has to listen seriously to all of his declarations while Kurt Russell is laughing up his sleeve.
Diesel and Johnson allegedly started a feud on the set of this movie and it's easy to see why. It's exhausting enough to watch a guy who's not in on the joke on screen. It must've been hell to work with him every day. Vin's the kind of guy who talks endlessly about his duty to "The Franchise" in interviews and there are at least two more movies planned. Let's hope the guy can loosen up a bit before the next one.
Buy the disc and you'll get access to an Extended Director's Cut available only as a digital release. Unlike most "extended cuts" that add as little as 30 seconds to the theatrical cut, Gray's extended version is a full eighteen minutes longer. The extended version is most definitely worth it for Tyrese and Ludacris fans as it gives both of them a lot more screen time for their comic arguments.
There's some behind-the-scenes documentaries that break down the stunts and a full-length commentary from F. Gary Gray.