Given that Furious 7 has been the best entry in Universal’s juggernaut franchise to date, The Fate of the Furious was always going to have a rough road ahead of it. Living up to James Wan’s film is no easy feat, and it seems that director F. Gary Gray hasn’t managed to reach quite the same heights as his predecessor did. We know this because the movie premiered last night in New York City and now, the first batch of reviews have raced online.
IndieWire‘s put together some of the more notable ones, which you can check out below. On the whole, though, they’re not terribly positive. The site’s own verdict was that The Fate of the Furious is “the worst of these films since ‘2 Fast 2 Furious,’ and it may be even worse than that. It’s the ‘Die Another Day’ of its franchise — an empty, generic shell of its former self that disrespects its own proud heritage at every turn.” Ouch.
Elsewhere, Variety seemed to be a bit more positive, calling it “elegant” and “smart,” but there’s not much enthusiasm to be found here. THR says that it recycles too much from previous entries, while Forbes notes that it’s “narratively unnecessary.” Admittedly, it’s not all doom and gloom, but critics definitely don’t seem as hot on it as they were the last entry.
For more, here are some of the early reviews:
“‘The Fate of the Furious’ is nothing more than pulp done smart, but scene for scene it’s elegant rather than bombastic, and it packs a heady escapist wallop. The fact that it’s the first film in the series to have been made after the death of Paul Walker (and the first not to feature him since ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,’ in 2006) only gives fans that much more of a reason to rally around it.”
“The result isn’t as big a gear-shift as some fans expected in the wake of founding cast member Paul Walker’s death. In fact, it recycles plot-twisting devices from earlier chapters and keeps action firmly in the street-hoods-save-the-world neighborhood entered a couple of years ago. Fate delivers exactly what fans have come to expect, for better and for worse.”
“This isn’t my favorite of the series – that’s still ‘Furious 7’ (it’s hard to top those jumps from skyscraper to skyscraper, but this is a worthy entry). These movies know what they are. These movies know they are fun. These are fun movies! I had fun watching this. Fun! I mean, don’t you kind of want to see Dominic Toretto race a heat-seeking missile?”
“Paul Walker, who starred in most of the earlier movies, died in a car crash in 2013, and his role in “Furious 7” was completed by using doubles and some CGI. This brush with mortality has affected this current picture enough that they have decided to name a new character after Walker’s character Brian. And so the ‘Furious’ series tries to have its heart in the right place, but only so that the pedal can be put to the metal for many more years and films to come.”
The film is the first one in over a decade to feel narratively unnecessary. The whole thing has a “going through the motions” feeling hurts a movie that lacks the sizzle and pop of the prior three films.
The Fate of the Furious speeds into theatres on April 14th.