A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Fate of the Furious is the eighth movie in the hugely popular Fast & Furious action series that began in 2001. As usual, expect tons of over-the-top action sequences, with outrageous stunts, crashes, explosions, fighting, and beatings, as well as some guns and shooting. Characters die, and a blood splatter is shown; almost none of the violence has consequences. A baby is somewhat in peril in one sequence. Language includes one use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "ass," "bitch," and more. Women are objectified/shown in revealing clothing; one woman's bottom is visible under her short skirt. Two characters, now married, are shown in bed together, kissing; one also kisses someone else (mostly for show, as part of the plot). Essentially, it's all more of the same, so fans of the series probably won't be disappointed.
What's the story?
In THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS, Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are enjoying their honeymoon in Havana when he's approached by a mysterious evil computer hacker called Cipher (Charlize Theron). She has some kind of dirt on Dom, so she forces him to work for her (and betray his team), helping her get her hands on nuclear weapons and launch codes. But the secret agent known as "Mr. Nobody" (Kurt Russell) recruits the remaining team members to stop Cipher and get Dom back. Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham), ready to pound each other, reluctantly set aside their differences to help; also along for the ride are Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Mr. Nobody's trainee (Scott Eastwood). But are they ready for an entirely new level of motorized mayhem?
Is it any good?
Like other recent movies in the popular franchise, this one settles into effortless cruise control, escalated only by its extravagant stunt sequences. So The Fate of the Furious doesn't really do anything different, but it also won't disappoint. The previous film, Furious 7, was arguably the best in the adrenaline-fueled franchise to date; now director F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton) takes the wheel, and while he doesn't explore any new territory, he also doesn't sputter out.
The characters are now older (most are around 40), and their need to out-cool each other has subsided, replaced by loyalty and family bonds. (The villain in this piece, played by a cool Theron, is a direct threat to the team's family and their deals.) While the movie still occasionally objectifies women -- and still doesn't seem to care much about story, dialogue, or smarts -- The Fate of the Furious has at least four truly amazing, spectacular action sequences; their very ingenuity and the enthusiasm with which they're carried out are infectious. It's hard not to smile.
Talk to your kids about ...
Are any of these characters role models? How can they be heroes if they're destroying millions of dollars' worth of property? Can you think of other movies where "bad guys" are the heroes?
How does the movie portray women? Does it objectify them? Does it present an unrealistic body type? Are there any positive or strong female characters? What are their admirable traits?
Why do you think the Fast & Furious franchise is so popular? What's appealing about it? What are its drawbacks?
What does "family" mean to these characters? Is it OK that a baby is (theoretically) endangered in one sequence?
- In theaters: April 17, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: July 11, 2017
- Cast: Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, Dwayne The Rock Johnson
- Director: F. Gary Gray
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Cars and trucks
- Run time: 136 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggestive content, and language
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