While fans have mostly been enthusiastic about the expanded role of Jason Statham in The Fate of the Furious, there is one thing that has stuck in their collective craw. While Statham’s character has the movie’s best moments, he never stops to address the elephant in the room: Shaw did kill Sung Kang’s Han, perhaps the most beloved character in the franchise and (we assumed) an unforgivable offense for a movie built on family. Will the filmmakers address this in a future installment of the Fast and the Furious films? Or, perhaps more intriguing, could Sung Kang find his way back into the franchise?
It may not have made a lick of sense within the emotional continuity of the series, but it’s hard to argue that the comedic highlight of The Fate of the Furious was Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s snappy banter. Johnson’s Hobbs winds up in jail right across the hall from his old arch-nemesis Deckard Shaw, played by Statham, and their chemistry is immediate and hilarious. Their playful back-and-forth throughout F8 kept things light and fun even as Dominic Toretto sold out his beloved family to work for Charlize Theron’s evil hacker Cipher.
It may seem strange to describe the eighth film in a blockbuster franchise as a transitional moment in the series, but then again, few franchises have had to deal with the death of an actor as essential as Paul Walker. The Fate of the Furious was always going to be a bittersweet affair for those involved; while the movie promised to push new characters and new relationships to the forefront, fans wondered how exactly they would choose to address the loss of Walker’s beloved Brian. The solution screenwriter Chris Morgan came up with should leave diehards and newcomers alike very pleased.
For years, one of the internet’s dirty little secrets has been that people really enjoy The Fate of the Furious: Tokyo Drift. A healthy flop at the time of its release — the film’s $60 million gross is half that of 2 Fast 2 Furious, the second-lowest grossing movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise — Tokyo Drift has climbed steadily back into fans’ favor due to the lasting appeal of Sung Kang’s Han Lue and a bit of chronological trickery in a later film that boosted this one’s reputation. It’s amazing how much better a film gets when you stop being mad at it for failing to bring back any of the main characters.
Back when Universal announced their classic monster movie reboot series plans, many of us were quick to roll our eyes at the prospect of yet another franchise that’d pound beloved characters into the ground by sheer overexposure. And it’s a valid concern: I’ll be the first to admit that I, a superhero movies lover, have become a little bored with the formula lately. Universal, however, is taking a very cautious approach with all of this, as evidenced by the fact that they still haven’t announced a timeline a la Marvel’s various Phases.