The Fate of the Furious

 
 

The Fast and the Furious has long been lauded for its diversity, and if we’re looking specifically at racial diversity, then the kudos are deserved.”


Title: The Fate of the Furious
Director: F. Gary Gray 👨🏾🇺🇸
Writers: Screenplay by Chris Morgan 👨🏼🇺🇸 based on the characters by Gary Scott Thompson 👨🏼🇺🇸

Reviewed by Li 👩🏻🇺🇸

Technical: 2.25/5

If The Fate of the Furious proves its value through explosions, you’ll finish the movie a rich woman or man. But beyond the glittering excesses of special effects, I felt empty-handed. Perhaps it’s due to my lack of familiarity with the series. I only caught the first couple Fast and the Furious films, back in the aughts. Without knowing why I should care about any of the characters onscreen, I couldn’t muster up the energy to give a damn about any of their shenanigans.

Gender: 2.5/5
Does it pass the Bechdel Test? YES

I’m giving this film a decent score on gender due to its numbers. Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Cipher (Charlize Theron) are both “tough chicks” in major roles, and while the supporting cast is dominated by men, we do see a cool character in Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) as the painfully pretty hacktivist and in Helen Mirren with her much-touted yet underwhelming cameo.

Unfortunately, none of these characters fulfill any semblance of their potential. (Just one glance at the testosterone-laden cover image reveals about how much women matter in this film.) The mishandling of the fairer sex in Fate is perfectly captured by Sarah Marrs, who says:

“For all that they boast of diversity, Fast/Furious has no idea what to do with women—besides montage hot girl asses—and the problem has gotten noticeably worse in the last couple movies. This time, besides Helen Mirren Who Doesn’t Stand and Furiosa Who Doesn’t Drive, there’s also Ramsey Whose Last Name No One Knows and Letty, who has been reduced to window dressing. Elsa Pataky also returns but is literally trapped in a glass box the whole time.

No woman contributes anything meaningful to the family and Big Bad Theron looks so bored she appears comatose in some scenes.”

Race: 5/5

The Fast and the Furious franchise has long been lauded for its diversity, and if we’re looking specifically at racial diversity, then the kudos are deserved. Fate visibly shifts the white-centric lens of Hollywood towards black and brown narratives, helped along by its black director—F. Gary Gray—and the film’s opening sequences that take place in a sumptuous, celebratory Havana that oozes Cuban cool through sun bleached coloring and a raucous car culture.

By the numbers, a quick rundown:

  • (Main character) Dominic Toretto is played by Vin Diesel, who is mixed-race of unknown ancestry.
  • (Main character) Luke Hobbs is played by Dwayne Johnson, who is biracial black and Samoan.
  • (Major character) Letty is played by Michelle Rodriguez, who is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent.
  • (Supporting character) Tej Parker is played by “Ludacris”, who is mixed-race black with some Native and English ancestry.
  • (Supporting character) Ramsey is played by Nathalie Emmanuel, who is mixed-race Dominican and St. Lucian-English.
  • (Supporting character) of Roman Pearce is played by Tyrese Gibson, who is black.

To give you another sense of how the film is comfortably seated outside a white perspective, the top ten casting credits on IMDB contain 6 actors of color and 4 white actors. 

Mediaversity Grade: C 3.25/5

The Fate of the Furious delivers on its promise of racial diversity but forgets to extend that promise to women or any other marginalized groups.

Grade: CLi