One can only imagine the challenge the 2 screenwriters faced 2 years ago after the success of the last Fast and Furious movie. All of the actors in the last movie were signed to multiple film deals in this franchise and despite the fact that one of them, Jason Statham is in a maximum security level prison and one of the main stars, Paul Walker was very tragically killed in an auto accident. Now they had to come up a new story that would explain all of this for the new movie but for some reason, it seems that they completely forgot to explain why Paul Walker’s character Brian was not in this story. The new actor who will probably be his replacement, Scott Eastwood, has been added to the cast as the new Mr. Nobody who works with the old Mr. Nobody played by Kurt Russell. On top of this, the murdering criminal enemy in the last film, played by Jason Statham, now has to somehow, miraculously become the “good guy” and friends to the entire Fast and Furious family at the end of this film. Didn’t Statham’s character try to blow up Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, his baby and his wife in the last film? Are we suppose to forget about the murders he committed and now consider him part of the family? Of course, all of this is just too stupid, but somehow we are expected to accept this as part of the story.

I thought that the last movie had a very good story and very good action and a great tribute to Paul Walker at the end of the film. This new one had a very stupid and convoluted story that made no sense and the action scenes were not nearly as good as the last film. You cannot blame the 2 screenwriters, Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson who were actually given the impossible task of writing a script that literally had to be “reverse engineered” into a story that had to satisfy the contracts of the actors and preserve the continuation of a franchise that has always been based on a stupid concept. Essentially, the idea of fighting terrorism and master criminals by driving cars fast is completely absurd from the start. We overlook stupidity like this for this movie franchise because the special effects and the stunts involved are so amazing to watch. However, at some point, the upside of seeing stunts and special effects are not enough to cover up a bad story, stupid plot, corny lines that are repeated too often and a series of events with the characters themselves that have now become ridiculously over the top and absurd. How many times can a character die in a movie series and not really be dead? What is the count of non-dead people in these movies so far? I lost count of this a long time ago.

Two new actors have joined the continuing cast of the Fast and Furious franchise, Charlize Theron and Scott Eastwood. It seems the producers are grooming Eastwood to take over for Kurt Russel or eventually take over for Paul Walker because he looks a little like him. As far as Theron, I thought she was miscast for this part as the evil mastermind criminal who obtains leverage over Vin Diesel’s character so he turns rogue.  You had to figure that the producers thought they needed this new idea or twist with this movie to hopefully prevent it from becoming stale, but what they overlook is that the more convoluted and ridiculous the story the larger the threat to this franchise continuing. In my opinion, if in another 2 years they come up a story or illogical events for Fast and Furious #9 as bad as with this movie, then this entire franchise might just have reached its limit too soon.

For me, the best part of this movie is the violent banter between The Rock, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, when they first meet up in prison and later in the movie when they somehow, despite what happened in the last movie, slowly start to like each other? The Rock is becoming famous for several of his over the top lines in these movies and this one was no exception. The one time when the Rock tells Statham what he would do to him in a fight, that involved brushing his teeth, the audience I was in as well as the two actors just had to laugh out loud. It was by far the best line in this movie.

The ending of this movie that involved driving cars on a glacier in Russia seemed to be just an excuse to drive cars on ice and blow them up and like the rest of this movie made no sense. This final scene also involved the use of the submarine and an ending car jumping scene with Diesel that was far too similar to the ending of the last film. At this point in the movie, I was overwhelmed and very annoyed at the ridiculous plot that made no sense and action scenes entirely for the excuse to have special effects or stunts, rather than a story had some logic to it. This movie pushes the envelope of absurdity and over the top dialogue more than any of the other previous 7 films and because of that reason, ruined the film. At some point there just has to be a plot that makes some sense and not a storyline that was created just so all of the actors involved can have their contracts honored for future movies. Another flaw I saw in this story was the computer expert, played by Nathalie Emmanuel, who in this movie is a passenger in cars during the action scenes and in harm’s way, even though she is the computer person who should be working on computer issues remotely. Why is she involved with these action scenes and almost getting killed when she never even drives a car? This just another example of stupid decisions for this movie that made no sense.

Normally I would say to see this movie just for the special effects, but the insane story and just above average special effects are not enough for me to recommend this latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise.

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