On Friday, April 14, audiences will finally get their chance to check back in with Dominic Toretto and his running crew for the eighth installment in The Fast and the Furious franchise, The Fate of the Furious. Directed by F. Gary Gray, the director of Straight Outta Compton and The Italian Job, the latest installment in the world’s best action franchise is set to be a globe-trotting romp in which the gang is confronted with their most dangerous villain yet, a hacker played by Charlize Theron. When this mystery vixen extorts Dom into unleashing a string of crimes around the world, it’s up to the rest of the team to bring their leader back into the fold. If you’re not on the Furious bandwagon by now, you’re missing out. And if you’re one of the millions of people who are psyched to see the whole crew get behind the wheel one more time, then here’s a wish list of stuff we’re hoping to see in the next entry of The Fast and the Furious saga.
1. Vin Diesel Needs a Criminal Counterpart, a New Brian
The cast of the Furious films is a motley crew of lovable jokers, but there’s no one who can truly go toe-to-toe with Dom. Hobbs comes close, but behind they’re ideological opposites (and Hobbs can’t drive for crap). Dom is at his best when he’s got a like-minded foil who can push him to crazier and crazier stuff. With Paul Walker’s untimely death, that role is empty. Sources suggest that F. Gary Gray and the writers realized the issue and have cast Scott Eastwood to fill that role.
2. Let’s Get More Michelle Rodriguez in the Mix
Score one for the Furious series is that they’ve managed to incorporate a relatively strong mix of female characters in a genre typically dominated by dudes. That said, throughout the entire series the single standout has been the scrappy driver, Letty Ortiz, played by Michelle Rodriguez, perhaps the most believable butt-kicking chick in Hollywood. Of course, in addition to delivering on the action front, the Rodriguez is also a no sh*t good actor. So, with Dom going rogue, it’d be nice to see some of the dramatic pressure land on Rodriguez a little more common than is usual.
3. The Rock v. Vin Diesel, Round Two
When the two titans first encountered each other, it was on opposite sides of the law. Dwayne Johnson’s upright Hobbs was hunting Dominic Toretto for his past crimes in Brazil. A series of kinetic confrontations led to a knock down, drag out, wall-destroying series highlight fist fight. Since then, the two men have been on relatively good terms. With Dom having hopped the fence, it’d be nice to see these two action heroes mix it up once more.
4. Give Me Helen Mirren With Two Guns, Pretty Please
There’s still no telling what part Dame Helen Mirren has in the Fate of the Furious, so it’s possible that she’ll never get her hands on a weapon. That would be a shame, because even as Mirren kills it in austere English roles that win her tons of Academy Awards, she can also bring it on the action front, as evinced by her role as a snarky assassin in R.E.D. The lady might be graying, but she still kicks butt, so let’s hope The Fate of the Furious uses that aspect of her talent more than her ability to convincingly portray Queen Elizabeth.
5. Keep the Action in the Real World
With a film that’s got such high expectations behind it and such a massive budget, it can be tempting to lean more and more heavily on the CGI-action sequences rather than hire stunt doubles and block up traffic for days at a time. Don’t do that, please, because computer-generated action is fine for Marvel, but the draw of a good Furious movie is real explosions and the light hint of real danger. Knowing that they took the time to actually run that tank over random passenger cars really means something, you know?
6. Let Tyrese Win One For Once … No, Just Kidding
The team’s resident joker is at his best when he’s faking his way through an awkward or dangerous situation. He never really wins, he ekes by. And those moments are always a series highlight. The mildly oafish con artist is the voice dissent among the group, and let’s hope it stays that way.
7. Embrace the Evil, Charlize Theron
Okay, let’s be real. The Furious movies seriously rock, but it’s not like they’re Oscar material. Meanwhile, Charlize Theron is an actress with some serious dramatic skill, who — put frankly — is kind of a step above the whole Furious series. But, she’s here, and it’s amazing that she’s decided to continue her action streak after owning Mad Max: Fury Road as the enigmatic Furiosa. Of course, since Theron can act, it’d be great to see her do something different and go full-on Bond villain evil. Bring the cartoon evil, Ms. Theron. You deserve it, and so do we.
8. Skip the Long, Drawn Out Paul Walker Odes
While the series is certainly less fun and engaging with Walker’s absence, the touching tribute to the departed actor’s memory at the end of Furious 7 was enough to convey the cast and crew’s sadness. However, let’s remember that Brian got a happy ending, folks. He’s living the good life with his wife and kids so the time for mourning is over in the Furious world. Let’s move things forward with some new set pieces and new characters and keep the “Paul Walker is gone” sadness on the back burner.
9. More Kurt Russell
As CIA spook Mr. Nobody, Kurt Russell showed up to play in Furious 7. On screen, he looked like the only one who wasn’t deadly serious about the dramatic stakes at play, and the movie was all the better for it. I mean, sure, high stakes revenge story yada yada yada, but there’s no reason to be so dour about it (looking at you, Vin). Hopefully Kurt Russell has a little more screen time in the series’ latest installment. There’s really nothing to lose.
10. Give Jason Statham Something Real to Do
As awesome as it was to welcome Jason Statham into the fold in Furious 7, his whole part in the movie essentially amounted to showing up in the middle of set pieces to try and screw with the plan. That was literally it. And while he was delightful as a mostly mute action person, it’d be great to give the lovable Brit a real character and some actual dialogue this time around. Here’s hoping.
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