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The ‘Fate of the Furious’ Exit Survey

Breaking down the latest high-octane installment in the ‘Fast’ franchise, from Charlize Theron’s villain to Jason Statham’s babysitting skills

(Universal Pictures/Ringer illustration)
(Universal Pictures/Ringer illustration)

Like pretty much everyone else in the world, we went and saw The Fate of the Furious this weekend. And since we too — much like Dominic Toretto’s horde — consider ourselves a family, we got together afterward to answer 10 questions about the film. Because that’s what family does.

1. What is your tweet-length review of ‘Fate of the Furious’?

Sam Schube: The most fun I had in a movie theater since the last Fast & Furious movie.

Amanda Dobbins: Shout-out to dumb, fun movies that do not involve superheroes!

Andrew Gruttadaro: A pretty bad movie that made me smile for two straight hours.

Donnie Kwak: This is the baldest movie franchise of all time.

Kate Knibbs: The most entertaining PSA for not wearing white-lady dreads I ever could’ve imagined.

Alyssa Bereznak: It would’ve been a lovely short film if it ended after the first 15 minutes in Cuba.

Shea Serrano: ❤ x 140.

2. Who was the MVP of this movie?

Gruttadaro: It has to be the baby, right? Or maybe it’s Jason Statham? Honestly, deciding between the baby and Jason Statham is like choosing Russell Westbrook or James Harden.

Schube: The Rock is now the true center of this franchise, but Jason Statham is the MVP of F8. I had forgotten how funny dude is! Whether he’s mean-mugging with the Rock, knifing his way through a prison riot, or consoling his mum (shout-out Helen Mirren), he’s consistently wonderful.

Bereznak: Dom’s secret baby. What a calm and adorable baby! Deckard Shaw killed multiple people next to that baby and he didn’t even cry.

Serrano: The MVP of this movie was not a person, but a plan: The MVP of the movie was how quickly they were like, "Bang! Dom’s a bad guy now. Good luck."

K. Austin Collins: Anyone who sits through it without a bathroom break. (136 minutes? Why?)

Dobbins: I think you gotta give this one to Charlize, screen-time-wise; the Devil Wears Prada–but-with-ill-advised-dreadlocks performance is quite something. Honorable mention to my new favorite babysitter, Jason Statham, though.

Knibbs: The Rock and Jason Statham’s crackling chemistry.

Kwak: Tyrese is underappreciated, but I’ll instead vote for Dom’s baby, who is a dead ringer for DJ Khaled’s son.

3. What was the best stunt?

Schube: Statham’s baby-in-hand gunfight. Extra points for the black carbon-fiber tactical bassinet.

Dobbins: JASON STATHAM WITH A BABY.

Serrano: Five words: (1) Gun. (2) Fight. (3) With. (4) A. (5) Baby.

Kwak: I liked when all the cars in NYC (I mean, Cleveland) got hacked, Maximum Overdrive style.

Collins: I could watch cars cascade out of buildings all day.

Gruttadaro: The zombie car sequence was truly stunning — but is there anything better than Dominic Toretto driving a car engulfed in flames over a finish line and toward a large group of people, bailing, then watching as it flies into the ocean? Nope, there is not.

4. What could there have been more of in ‘Fate’? Less of?

Gruttadaro: Way more Helen Mirren, way less Vin Diesel attempting to conjure emotion.

Serrano: I could’ve used about 20 percent more of the team chasing Dom down. And I could’ve used about 80 percent less of Hobbs at the soccer game.

Dobbins: MORE JASON STATHAM WITH A BABY.

Schube: It was weird that they blew the entire location budget on … ice. Beyond that, we got Cuba, Cleveland-as–New York, and the inside of a large plane. Kind of a comedown after going to Abu Dhabi and the Caucasus in Furious 7. Gimme more far-flung locales.

Knibbs: There could have been way more Corona!

Bereznak: More: Helen Mirren in leopard-print blazers and gaudy gold jewelry. I’m not entirely sure I understand who her character is, or why she’s there, but I would definitely watch a Fast spinoff in which she bosses around Deckard and Owen. Lots of potential there.

Less: Close-ups on Vin Diesel’s face as he struggles to act through the realization that he’s a father.

Collins: I would’ve watched an entire movie about the Cuban honeymoon, just saying.

Kwak: I left the theater with about 30 minutes to go, so I’d say it definitely could’ve been 30 minutes shorter.

5. Finish the sentence: "Charlize Theron’s villain, Cipher, was …"

Dobbins: … entirely nonsensical. I loved it.

Schube: … actually pretty scary. Good job, Charlize.

Serrano: … actually super gnarly. I mean, she literally [REDACTED] [REDACTED] right in front of [REDACTED]. It was the single most evil thing we’d seen any Fast villain do. I was actually very uncomfortable during that scene.

Kwak: … bad and boujee?

Collins: … not licensed to drive, it seemed like?

Gruttadaro: … criminally confined to a control room in an invisible plane. She spent so much of her time in that dang room that I’m now wondering how many days they had Charlize on set. Less than a week, right?

Knibbs: … truly a cipher, so at least they named her accurately. Like, where did she come from? What was her endgame? (She villain-whispered something about holding governments accountable at one point, but it made very little sense.) Where did she get enough money to afford that fancy-ass ghost plane? Who told her that hairstyle was acceptable?

Bereznak: … an abusive therapist/international villain with excellent taste in clothing and a very bland personality.

6. Can you explain choice theory?

Serrano: I honestly could not tell you one single thing about choice theory without Googling it.

Schube: How many times do you think screenwriter Chris Morgan has misquoted Malcolm Gladwell at dinner parties?

Bereznak: I barely followed this monologue. Something like: You can’t make decisions because they’re already made for you …? The whole speech sounded like it was lifted from a bad Twitter thread.

Dobbins:

Kwak: That was actually the one part of the movie that struck me as interesting. Of course, I forgot it all within five minutes of leaving the theater.

Collins: Huh?

(Universal Pictures)
(Universal Pictures)

7. Could you tell how much Vin Diesel and the Rock dislike each other?

Schube: No, because they were literally never on screen together.

Bereznak: The most time they spend on screen together is early in the movie, when Dom turns against Hobbs during a mission to hijack an EMP. Dom wrecks Hobbs’s car, then steals the EMP for himself, and lots of tense eye contact is exchanged. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this was the best-acted scene of the whole movie.

Gruttadaro: I don’t know — I was too busy watching the Rock threaten Vin Diesel’s legs to figure this out.

Collins: They barely share a scene, and they never share the same frame. I guess that tells you everything.

Dobbins: My takeaway was that Vin Diesel hates everyone? Or that everyone hates Vin? Or both? That guy did not interact with a single family member who was not Letty; it was very strange.

8. This is the first ‘Fast’ movie without Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner — how did that affect the movie?

Schube: I thought they handled it really well. Walker’s absence was palpable, and the movie acknowledged it in a couple of moments without letting it hang over the the whole thing.

Gruttadaro: Paul Walker and his character, Brian O’Conner, were the heart of the Fast movies, and I found myself having a much harder time buying the motivation behind the crew continuously risking their lives without him there. It’s also pretty sad that Jordana Brewster/Mia can’t really be in the movies anymore.

Serrano: They did about as good a job as they could’ve done in that situation, but, yeah, it was certainly noticeably less warm. I missed him a lot. I missed his smile and the timbre of his voice and the way his smile would slowly stretch across his face when he’d think of something fun.

Kwak: I’ll go out on a limb and say that the movies were way better when he was alive.

Knibbs: RIP Paul Walker FOREVER, OBVIOUSLY, but, uh … the movie was totally fine without him. This franchise is already pretty overcrowded and I honestly didn’t think about Brian’s hypnotic baby blues once (again, RIP, I’m not a monster) during the screening.

9. What, specifically, did you learn about family?

Dobbins: That Jason Statham is an excellent caregiver.

Gruttadaro: That if your longtime boyfriend, now husband, betrays you and almost kills you several times, and also he had a baby with another woman that you’re just finding out about, the right thing to do is be IMMEDIATELY COOL WITH IT.

Schube: That you shouldn’t have a second family, because a bad lady can kidnap them to blackmail you.

Kwak: You can’t escape them, even if you try.

Knibbs: I don’t think the F&F squad has as staid a concept of family as it thinks it does. So Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw ruthlessly murders longtime F&F family member Han, they get mad at him for approximately one and a half movies, and then he makes a few come-hither faces at the Rock and all is forgiven? If someone killed my brother, that person wouldn’t be allowed to come to our family barbecues just because he or she made my other brother feel emotionally and erotically invigorated.

Bereznak: If your husband starts acting weird, have faith — he’s prob just being blackmailed by a hot terrorist who kidnapped his secret baby mama/kid.

Serrano: I learned that I don’t love anybody in my family enough to jump a car over a submarine for them.

10. What is the plot of the next movie?

Collins: It’ll involve space or the desert. There’s nowhere else left.

Gruttadaro: Charlize’s Cipher gets her hands on all the bad weapons that exist in the world (very easy job), and when her plan of using WMDs as a threat to keep world leaders in check proves to be, uh, less than well-thought-out, she actually keeps her promise and nukes the entire planet. Dom and the gang survive, though; Cipher loses an arm; water becomes a dwindling resource; as the last remaining members of civilization, they battle it out in rickety-looking vehicles that come stocked with fire-blowing guitarists.

Kwak: Does plot really matter? It’s more about where the big set pieces will take place. To that end, I feel like there should be a big action sequence in Southeast Asia. Imagine the gang racing rickshaws, weaving in and out of motorbikes.

Serrano: Fast and the Furious 9: Daddy’s Gotta Go to Space: Dom and everyone have to stop the cosmonauts. "What are we driving?" Dom asks Mr. Nobody after agreeing to the mission without having been told anything about it. "Who said anything about driving?" Mr. Nobody says back to him, then clicks a button and the door to an aircraft hangar opens up and reveals seven souped-up space shuttles ready to be shot into space. "Now this is what I’m talking about!" shouts Roman.