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The Fate of the Furious Review (2017) | What it was and What it will be

The Fate of the Furious is more or less what the franchise is, and has always been about. There is no changing that. What continuously changes is the story. There is one primal plot in every flick that stands like a nub to steer the story. Since we need to keep the franchise up and running for it’s been ridiculously successful, studios are trying their level best to blow our minds. And in doing that they are leaving no stones unturned, no enclaves untrodden.

Luckily the magic formula is still working. As long as the audience is entertained, and the producers are making tons, who’s complaining?

Yet another installment that’s brimming up with death-defying stunts, mind-boggling action, eye-popping theatrics, cool jests, classy melodrama and some exhilarating adrenaline pumping action, The Fate of the Furious is everything you wish to see in the Furious universe.

Theme and Plot of The Fate of the Furious

Just two minutes in the movie and you realize it’s going to pack in tons of cheesy stuff. That it’s going to be full of it and that we should probably brace ourselves for that dumb impact. But surprisingly the movie rises up from its ashes the moment it begins to put on a show. Who saves it? It wouldn’t be wrong to say Dominic Toretto, the awesome Vin Diesel.

The one huge steer we have here is, “What if Dom goes rogue?” And I am pretty sure a room full of producers and writers might have gone nuts with that very thought. They found a way to make it happen, and they didn’t even have to use a cyborg chip, or Poison Ivy magic to hypnotize Dom. Dom does it all pretty convincingly like a robot following orders taking hell from Cipher, the stunning 41 years old showstopper Charlize Theron. Hell she could have convinced anyone to do just about anything sans conditions.

still of charlize theron as cipher and vin diesel as dom in the fate of the furious

So Dom falls like a domino rampaging everything that comes his way, turning his back on the one thing he loves the most – su familia!

And it isn’t a pleasant sight for anyone. It’s the worst for Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). One of the most impactful drama lies in the wake of the repercussions when he comes face to face with Letty on two occasions. Each time you can’t help but feel sorry for her when she fails to fathom why Dom’s become a leering bastard all of a sudden.

The movie becomes then an affair to understand Dom, to stop him from doing something awful, and failing at it of course, and then eventually being helped by him when things are all sorted out. All of this, of course, stands in their usual chaotic playground of fascinating action.

Exquisite Wrap (Spoilers Ahead)

The Fate of the Furious is strewn with four major action extravaganzas that happen like their regular jobs, only this time the perpetrator is none other than Dom himself. Others are simply trying to stop him to figure out the what, and the why, they have been hit with.

The first one happens with the main betrayal, EMP getting stolen right from underneath the unsuspecting nose of Hobbs. The second one happens at his Team’s headquarters, from where he walks in like the badass hero he is, to grab the God’s Eye. The third one happens at New York with the stealing of Nuclear launch codes, and the last one in Russia where the actual EMP is brought to use to take control of a submarine that holds weapons of mass destruction. The great thing about all of it is that there is a plausible reason for everything. The creators are constantly spending a good deal of thought in whatever they are doing. So, that’s commendable.

Racking Action

Some of the movie’s best fight scenes are delivered by the body decimating machine Hobbs, and the Parkour fighting specialist Deckard played by Jason Statham. While it’s a delight to watch Hobbs slither into his full “The Rock” mode delivering Rock Bottoms out of nowhere, forcing the WWE community to miss him even more, it’s an equal delight to watch Deckard kick some more ass. One of the best fight sequences is, hands down, the prison bit when both of them are desperate to get a piece of each other.

Roman is just as great with words as he has always been, making everything appear effortless with his innate flair. Little Nobody played by Scott Eastwood was a pleasant addition although he was mostly patronized for the better part of the flick.

There is this elongated section where a foreign minister is attacked by hacked cars. Though absurd as it might sound, or how it appears, it has been brilliantly pulled off. To achieve something so huge on such a colossal level, that’s something! It is one bit that you might remember the movie by for a really long time.

It is, however, hard to beat the final lines of Dom, when he names the baby Brian as a tribute to his bestie Paul Walker. You can’t help but feel satisfied with that apt icing.

You can order The Fate and the Furious here:

Weird Stuff

As always there are a lot of things that remain oddly placed here as well. Like how Dom still fails to even scathe himself even after being in an accident. Fire doesn’t bother him. His Godly powers still eludes us. If only someone walks in one day and says he isn’t human.

Then there are laws of physics that the franchise has never really cared about. You see when you are involved in a ridiculous action movie, clearly it is always about how and why you have ended up there in the first place. Yes, you weren’t paying attention in the class.

There are absurd loopholes aplenty, badly written comebacks at times. Deckard single-handedly bringing a flight full of hooligans down as bullets are flung around, and he is carrying a frigging baby at all times with him. Like how safe is that? Things aren’t made worse when he keeps taking pit stops to talk with the baby on numerous occasions. Ah! the cheap thrills!

Worst is when subplots are deliberately shoehorned to tell us what had happened in the past, and it is like a to and fro motion to tell us exactly how things went down not leaving anything for viewer imagination. Even during the submarine stint, bullets never hit the target; villains remain like dispensable stormtroopers.

The Final Verdict

It’s the USP of the Furious that sells this franchise. Keeping Dom at the center of the action, like a beacon that shows light. Everyone, nay, everything revolves around him, and you know it when you see him as this epitome of power that’s hard to challenge. You don’t mess with him, no matter on which side of the court you are. Period.

You see him do the unthinkable with his muscle revving beast. He wheelies his Dodge Charger too, and it is hard not to go crazy when he does. There are tons of thrilling action scenes waiting at random junctures that will make you jump on your seats. It is just sad that you see everything coming all along.

The Fate of the Furious is yet another insane and inane part that will blindly entertain you. It is trickling down with extraordinary action, and Hobbs, Deckard and Dom make it worth every penny. Rest of the cast end up getting clouded, and that’s both sad and bad.

That being said we all know how the sequel is going to deliver, and how are things going to be. Nothing much changes around here. Even though it’s fantastic, it is becoming a daft charade. I just wonder what if every possible action run runs out, would things be as thrilling?

You can check out the trailer of The Fate of the Furious here:

xXx Return of Xander Cage Review (2017) | He Shouldn’t Have Returned

Mindless action! xXx Return of Xander Cage bends laws of physics, banks on cliched action at times to deliberately showcase what its director thinks “would look cool” stunts. It has cheesy lines galore, and a really insipid plot in its baggage. The worst however remains, that instantly piercing and bothering demeanour that Vin Diesel wears throughout the flick. His smugness is the worst. It makes you go, “Is this guy for real?” Overlook Vin and you see how hollow, cliched, stupid and pointless the whole movie is.

Plot of xXx Return of Xander Cage (Spoilers)

Presumably dead the legend, Xander Cage (the one who gets on your nerves avatar of Vin Diesel) from the first one, is hunted down by CIA to bring a stolen device called Pandora’s Box back. It is a device that can ensue destruction on a massive scale, since it holds the reins of military satellites. To successfully complete the mission he hires his own team, deliberately throwing an unprepared bunch of soldiers out of a moving plane. Whaaaat?

Wait, that’s nothing. He breaks a gun, yes! a frigging gun with his knees just to prove a point! He brags a lot about himself, or let others go on and on about him, which gets on your nerves.

To make matters further indigestible, he goes on a bike chase in the sea. I repeat, in the sea! When that’s going on, you wonder if they plan on ever stopping. A water station maybe? To get some gas? They appear as if they were planning on crossing the ocean on their bikes.

The Competition

His competition is Xiang portrayed by Donnie Yen who is the guy Cage is supposed to race to get the Pandora’s box before he does. Xiang has plans of his own and a team too. Eventually both the teams end up joining hands to fight the double crossing government instead. In words of Sebastian from La La Land:

“It is all very very exciting.”

All seemingly cool frames seem very deliberately created just to prove a scene. There is one bit that shows Cage playing with grenades with Xiang and Serena (Deepika Padukone). What a way to make a conversation! *Facepalm* It is hands down one of the most forced scenes in the movie, and makes it very laughable. You know, spoofs get made because of such absurdity!

image of Vin Diesel Deepika Padukone and Donnie Yen in xXx Return of Xander Cage movie

Oh wait! Cage gets shot too. You know when in a movie hero would get shot, a voice in your head would always go, “he must be wearing a bulletproof vest? Or the bullet might have been stopped by an impenetrable object? Well the former’s your answer.

Yes, the story is as if a kid wrote it. I remember thinking all that stuff when I was five.

All the Shooting

Then there is that cliched gun fight scene too, where two badass chicks come out in the open and then shoot at random army of villains who somehow never stop coming. Yes the one where they are leaning against each other’s backs to look dope. Yeah! It’s all in there.

Just then to break the monotony, everyone’s bullets run out, and you predict the director has something up his sleeve, in comes the protagonist from the second part, which was an even shittier movie. Ice Cube comes with a grenade launcher reprising his role as Darius Stone and the music in the background turns into a rap. It is supposed to mean the “Lord is here!”

Tony Jaa gets a role of a psychotic fighter who looks like he has been on a strict Red Bull diet all his life. Nina Dobrev plays the one fun character that we have seen in so many movies before that it should actually cease to exist. But no! Every movie has it.

Deepika Padukone doesn’t cause any ripples either. She seems weirdly out of place whenever she comes to do her bit. Her icky walk to meet Xiang would make you wonder what the director must have been expecting to see, and what came out as a result. And he chose to include it too.

And what’s with the tats? The director D.J. Caruso seems like he must have been saying: We should not leave the tattoo! Let him wear a Capri so that the tattoos show!

Worthy Bits

If you still expect something cool to happen, then it is Donnie Yen’s fight bits that takes off the heat for a while. You watch him go full Ip Man on rogue soldiers and you get your money’s worth then and there with his badass action moves. Inclusion of known faces from the past, like Darius Stone too at one point makes you smile.

Amongst other worthy scenes, okay, now I am drawing a blank.

If you are a huge Vin Diesel fan, you can still watch it.

You can buy xXx Return of Xander Cage from here:

The Final Verdict

xXx Return of Xander Cage is nothing but a fully flawed flick. If you are a diehard Vin Diesel fan, and are ready to accept him in every avatar he portrays, this movie might make you happy.

To be honest, nobody remembers the first XXX movie. Now when did that happen? 15 years ago! I was a kid back then and might have mistakenly considered Xander Cage to be cool.

So far Vin has been mighty successful in the Fast and Furious series. He should stick to that. Because at least the direction and story there weaves up something worth watching. It lets us digest all the nonsensical stunts.

You can check out the trailer of xXx Return of Xander Cage here:

The Last Witch Hunter Review (2015)

The Last Witch Hunter is yet another Vin debacle!

So he has a knack for action. Or so we have perceived and accepted him as. The action bloke! But he seems to drive the action well only when he is behind the wheels. Apart from the Fast and Furious franchise, we have rarely seen him successfully take a movie to a badass fruition.

The Last Witch Hunter is anything but a good action movie. The witch action depicted was overshadowed by the cranky looking disgusting witch-faces and the flick’s average CGI. At one point the growing roots and branches of the trees looked so animated, I wondered if I walked in for an animated movie. The action ends up without a proper focus and it becomes hard to concentrate. Also, it was horrifically limited.

The plot is downright outrageous. The minute I saw Vin give a cheesy one liner to the air hostess in the beginning scene, I at once understood, what I was in for. The story contains a prologue and a follow up eventually to connect the dots, which could have been directed beautifully had we not Breck Eisner to helm this flick.

The concept of the movie is based on sheer fantasy, which if not depicted well, naturally goes to the toilet. So, if there is nothing engaging to watch, you automatically slip into a jaded zone.

Rose Leslie’s role is that of a Dream Walker. She’s like a walking pensieve. (and Harry Potter winks!) Without a proper story she gets hazy too. Michael Caine is there in the flick just to converse with Vin, and to go into a coma. He did the latter quite well. Elijah Wood’s role headed towards naught. He should have never left his Frodo bags.

What I also almost forgot to mention, is the fact that the movie is really boring. You will be hit by a sudden indifference with all the witch-crap they throw at you without a proper explanation. Even the screenplay was an attempt at subtle one-liners, something every action movie proudly thrives on.

This movie was a failed attempt at witchcraft. I just wish a big production house and better directors to pick up this project and reboot the shit outta this!

Furious 7 Review (2015)

“For Paul”

Furious 7 is all about flying Lykan, shattered skyscrapers, mammoth bullets, Gatling rounds, super-amped destruction, relentless drone syndrome, Jaa’s Parkour, badass rides, skimpily clad models, exquisite close calls, death defying moments, Herculean jobs, mind numbing head-ons and badass action. This movie is an action-pack adrenaline pumping madness just like its predecessor. But does it have a great story? My answer would be a big No to that.

Wan unfortunately doesn’t have a good story in his baggage. What he still has is some dope action to exploit, and he manages to create insanity with that! Watch out for that insane car-dive and the skyscraper stunt! Most memorable ones! Humour shines fine by Tyrese Gibson’s presence, and he occasionally takes off the heat.

Furious 7 is thrilling throughout. Adrenaline keeps on pumping constantly. Destruction doesn’t stop. Cars keep getting totaled. Bullets fly in the air like flies. The flick has pretty great one-liners that are downright bad ass. Snappy and witty comebacks make the screenplay quite clever in a way. Dramatic bits are kind of average, but make a dash for awesomeness to pay some quality Pablo homage in the end.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Statham makes a badass entry as Deckard Shaw into the lives of Furious guys with a dope fight with Hobbs. It is here we get to see that eye candy Rock Bottom that we have been waiting forever. Unfortunately he gets sidelined by an unconvincing side-story.

We already knew from the prequel, Shaw’s brother would be lurking in the shadows waiting to drop the chaotic bomb at Team Furious anytime. So he promised Dom via a phone call. And Bam! goes the ‘home’ in splinters with a sustained visual of 5-6 blasts occurring simultaneously that engulf the entire house. The predator calls for it and Dom gears up like a Daddy to teach him a lesson.

The entrance of Kurt Russell was so pathetic that it made us instantly hate him. I swear I saw perplexed people in the theatre wondering “Why?” out loud. Mr. Nobody’s addition to the tale was simply to weave two jobs that Dom could have lived without. Just so that he could find the hunter, he agrees to lick the candy Mr. Nobody was selling. But boy does it unroll into mind-numbing stunts! Skyscrapers hyperjump by the exotic Lykan hypersport would make your teeth turn into a nail clipper. Another pretty dope bit is the car sky-diving bit. Stunts like these ensure that the franchise isn’t dead yet. It will continue to flabbergast you, compel you to jump on your seat.

Unfortunately the screen time of Deckard Shaw is quite less, and he fails to create a villainy charm in the movie. He does pop up hither and thither to overthrow Dom’s plans but passes out weak as a very average forgettable villain. He looked puny compared to Dom fury.

The best thing however remains the show stopper – a perfect adieu to Paul. Final bits show Vin in pain, and you could almost read the tears that got masked by his acting. You could instantly comprehend and empathize with his loss. A series of flashbacks of Paul show up with Vin’s narration in the backdrop and your heart falls in a heavy pit. Such a big chunk tore away! You are left to ponder in tears. It was a great decision not to kill Pablo’s character. Giving him a respectful farewell from the franchise was really thoughtful.

In an action franchise like Fast and Furious, just remember you have to overlook everything. Logics are defied, Physics taps out to action, gravity stops working and time takes a hiatus for the protagonists. Just sit back and enjoy the action packed fun this movie promises to be and is. Be super-psyched and never forget Paul!