8th ‘Fast and Furious’ still entertains

In 2001, the now biggest Universal franchise opened with the first of an eight-movie series: “The Fast and the Furious.”
The series has since produced seven other movies: “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003), “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” (2006), “Fast and Furious” (2009), “Fast Five” (2011), “Fast and Furious 6” (2013), “Furious 7” (2015), and “The Fate of the Furious” (2017).
The most recent installment opened April 14 in the United States and has already earned $98 million in gross pay, according to IMdB.com. The website also rates the movie 7.3 of 10 stars.
The movie offers familiar faces that I have come to know and love through the franchise: Dom Toretto, played by Vin Diesel; Letty, played by Michelle Rodriguez; Roman, played by Tyrese Gibson; and Tej, played by Ludacris.
I will admit, I came to the series late, seeing all of the movies in the last two years, and only because my boyfriend asked me to watch with him.
After the emotional toll “Furious 7” took on me, I was not looking forward to the eighth movie, knowing that my favorite character, Brian O’Conner, would not be featured. Paul Walker, who played Brian, died ironically in a car accident while the seventh movie was still in filming.
But, again, my boyfriend wanted to see the new movie, so I said I would go as long as I got popcorn out of the deal.
Shockingly, the movie exceeded my expectations.
The opening scene pulled me in with a familiar location of Havana. I spent the first few weeks of the New Year in Havana and immediately recognized the city and found my hotel from the first 10 seconds of the movie. The movie even featured a car race along the Malecon, or sea wall, that my friends and I walked along multiple times during our trip.
Although the Havana of the movie was Hollywood-ized from the real-world Havana I experienced, I still loved the theme the movie set in its first few scenes—family and respect before all.
These themes are common throughout the franchise and are part of the reason I did not fall away from it.
The movie would not be complete without the fast, tricked-out, expensive cars and a few broken laws, but for someone who cares little about cars and a lot about safe driving, I still found myself hooked.
With story lines that are hidden until the right moment of exposure, the movie kept my heart racing and my breath short. The fast driving and risky maneuvers are nothing new for the franchise, but the movies focus on much more than just the action.
Going into the movie, I heard that most people thought the movie was awful and people I knew were not expecting a lot based on the trailer, but my boyfriend and I decided those people were just simply wrong.
While the movie wasn’t quite the same without Brian along for the ride, the movie added to the series’ story and took care of the missing character in an interesting and satisfying way.
I would improve IMdB’s rating to 8 of 10 stars.
I left the movie satisfied and happy; the humor worked into the action-packed drama and the car-loving stereotypical movie provides much more than fast and furious driving. The movie brings about the idea that family is everything, and family does not always mean those who are our blood, but simply whomever we make our family.
There is heartache and pain involved, but that should be expected. Despite that though, the movie simply adds to the wonderful series that started 16 years ago.
Let go of your prejudices and give the movie a shot. You might just find yourself on the edge of your seat like I was.

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