The Fate of the Furious 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
I still don’t understand how the Fast and Furious franchise made it to eight films or even how it became a franchise in the first place, but here we are. Another over the top action film with zero plot, impossible stunts and dialogue that thinks it’s a lot wittier than it really is. But you should expect that kind of criticism from any critic because these films wear their flaws on their sleeve and at the end of the day, they’re not made for critics, they’re made for fans that want to see tough guys beat each other up and drive fast cars. And if that’s the target, FATE OF THE FURIOUS hits the mark.
Virtually no effort is put into FATE OF THE FURIOUS to justify the action. But the gist is that Dom (Diesel) is blackmailed by Cipher (Theron) to steal some things for her and then Hobbs (Johnson) and the rest of the team have to try and stop him. Kurt Russell reprises his Mr. Nobody role and he loosely justifies throwing in Deckard (Jason Statham), just to give Dwayne Johnson someone to bounce insults off of. The gang chase Dom and Cipher around the globe, eventually culminating in a big battle in the middle of nowhere Russia.
I’m fighting the urge to tear into the plot holes or the terrible acting, but I feel like that’s missing the point of the film. So judging this solely as a mindless, big budget, summer action movie, it has some hits and misses. The biggest success of the film is pairing of Hobbs and Deckard. Johnson and Statham have a great chemistry and immediately steal the entire movie. Rumor has it that Universal is eying a Hobbs and Deckard spinoff and they should greenlight that sooner than later. The downside to their chemistry is that once I saw it, I didn’t want to see anything else. Aside from Hobbs and Deckard, the other highlight was the NYC action scene where Cipher hacked cars and crashed them into a motorcade. That was pretty clever for this type of film and although it was a bit much, it was entertaining.
As great as Hobbs and Deckard were, Dom fell on the opposite side of that spectrum. I once argued passionately that the Fast and Furious franchise could not go on without Vin Diesel and now I’m completely abandoning that argument and using THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS as proof. Vin Diesel offered nothing of value to this film and it was better when he wasn’t on the screen. I would say he was the worst part of the film, but thankfully for him, Scott Eastwood joined the franchise. I don’t know if Scott Eastwood will end up being a big star or not, but he didn’t belong in THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS.
The trend with the Fast and Furious films is to go bigger and bigger, and the filmmakers seem to think that means dumber and dumber. I don’t think there’s anything within the franchise that’s worth preserving, but I think going back to a grittier, small scale street racing theme would do the series good. Putting Hobbs and Deckard in the middle of a big city drug ring involving race cars could be fun. But something tells me as long as these films are making a billion dollars, the series is going to continue on its current trajectory.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: From what I can gather, this is a 2K upconvert, but my eyes don’t seem to support that. My general feeling with 2K upconverts is slightly less detail, especially in backgrounds and dark scenes. That’s not the case here. The entire film looks really sharp, save for a few CGI-heavy explosions. Those explosions take a little away from the video quality, especially the submarine chase, but that’s a common issue with any CGI. The best part of the film, at least visually, is the opening shots in Cuba. The colors pop, the detail is striking and the HDR (yes, this has Dolby Vision) adds a level of clarity that you won’t find on the Blu-ray. I’m hesitant to label this reference quality, but it’s pretty impressive.
Audio: The included DTS:X audio track is going to give you a headache, in the best way possible. The reference quality status of the video might be up for debate, but this is an audio track you’re going to want to use to show off to your friends.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no 4K exclusive features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which includes the following special features:
Commentary with F. Gary Gray: F. Gary Gray seems to have enjoyed his time on the film and definitely had a good time filming in Cuba. He talks about the locations and how and why he filmed things the way he did. Overall, it’s a decent commentary.
In the Family (21:16): Four featurettes are included here that cover the plot of the film. And no, it doesn’t take twenty minutes to talk about the plot, especially since the movie couldn’t establish one in 2 hours. So these felt more like fluff pieces trying to sell the film.
Car Culture (21:21): Three featurettes that focus on the cars used in the film, with the tank getting its own featurette. Fans that show up to these movies just for the cars should appreciate this featurette.
All About the Stunts (18:27): Three featurettes cover the three major stunt sequences in the film.
Extended Fight Scenes (5:01): Both of Jason Statham’s fight scenes get an extended version. Given that these were the best part of the film, I think they should have included the extended scenes.
The Cuban Spirit (8:04): Michelle Rodriguez introduces a short featurette about filming in Cuba. There are a lot of on set interviews and Vin Diesel talks a lot about how they ended up filming in Cuba. I believe this is the first film to be shot in Cuba, so this is kind of a cool featurette.
There’s a digital exclusive extended cut of the movie, which is frustrating.