The Fate of the Furious (2017) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

With the death of Paul Walker and the unstoppable ego of Vin Diesel, “The Fate of the Furious” signals a rock bottom point in the movie series that we haven’t seen since “Fast and Furious.” As the series runs on fumes, the writers and producers are working over time to introduce us to dynamic new anti-heroes, all of whom can’t make “Fate of the Furious” worth watching. Unless you’re a completionist, or a hardcore Kurt Russell fanatic, “Fate of the Furious” is a convoluted and painfully long follow up that tries very hard to fill the void Paul Walker left when he died.

This time around “The Fate of the Furious” works hard to emphasize the relationships of other characters filling the hole that Dominic and Brian once held as rivals and friends. With the star power increasing, Dominic is given a more dramatic sub-plot this time around, as he’s blackmailed in to betraying his “family” by an enigmatic blond hacker with Dreadlocks. What Dom’s “family” doesn’t know is that she’s holding Dom’s estranged “family” hostage and threatens to murder them if he doesn’t steal a brand new piece of high tech technology for her and her crew of thieves and mercenaries.

Anxious to keep Dom from sinking too deep, Russell’s Mr. Nobody brings everyone on board to stop him, including Jason Statham’s Shaw. “The Fate of the Furious” works on a paper thin premise that just drags on for such a long time. It’s not often I sit through a “Fast and Furious” movie and start checking the time, but this latest installment aroused a lot of reasoning for it. Aside from the weak plot motivation, the writers and producers at least do a great job of walking in to a dynamic action team, as Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson are a hilarious and exciting new pair for the film series. As a bickering pair of muscle bound lugs, they have a good time knocking heads, and I anxiously await their inevitable film spin off.

As for everyone else on the cast, they pretty much phone in their performances, including folks like Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, and Nathalie Emmanuel. Scott Eastwood also seems to be working on filling the clean cut Caucasian quota that Walker once fulfilled for the series. It’s all nothing but a lot of globe trotting for the sake of international box office, a ton of automotive product placements, and hokey “plot twists” that inspired repeated groans and eye rolls from yours truly. “The Fate of the Furious” is an indication of the series last stretch. It’s dull, exhausting, and I hope Vin Diesel finishes off the whole shebang before losing the fan base once and for all.

The combo pack for “The Fate of the Furious” comes with a DVD copy, and digital copy. The digital copy comes with the extended cut of the film, and it’s only exclusive to the digital version. Sorry, F&F fanatics.

“The Cuban Spirit” is an eight minute segment exploring the cast and crew’s time on the island nation, which is the first major studio film to ever shoot there. “In the Family” is a four part feature that explores the film’s characters, featuring a segment on Cipher and Domb, about the leaderless “Furious” family; there’s an exploration in to the weird Shaw family, a look at the Nobody’s, and a look in to the various cars found in the film. “All About the Stunts” is a multi part exploration of the key and crucial stunt work including the various races, stunt work in Iceland, and in New York. There are two extended fight scenes from the prison and on the plane with Shaw, and finally a full audio commentary with director F. Gary Gray who covers the production of the film in depth, and offers some interesting insights in to his filming many scenes.