The Fate of the Furious (2017)

I quite like alliteration. The relentless pattern-sthe_fate_of_the_furious_theatrical_postereeking device that is the human brain happily ascribes some sort of significance to any deliberate repetition it happens to spot; mine usually ascribes playful whimsy. I like alliteration so much that I’m generally happy to ignore blatant use of it to try and hide clunky writing.

And I was fairly pleased when the fourth film in the The Fast and the Furious franchise forwent the definite articles, becoming simply Fast & Furious. This is because when all the nominalised adjectives[1] in a series are prefaced with ‘the’, it implies distinct, non-overlapping categories. The Long and the Short and the Tall refers to three different groups of people, not one group of people to whom all three descriptors apply. The same goes for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.[2]

Compare this to [Lifestyles of] the Rich and Famous,[3] or even The Royal and Ancient [Golf Club of St Andrews]. In each example, both adjectives describe the same noun.[4] Which brings us to The Fast and the Furious, the original film, where both nominalised adjectives[5] were proudly prefaced with definite articles. Which therefore implied that ‘the fast’ and ‘the furious’ were distinct groups. They might as well have called it The Fast vs the Furious. But of course they didn’t, because in the film, all parties to the conflict could be said to possess both fastness speed and fury.

Which is why I was satisfied when what could’ve been titled The Fast and the Furious Four[6] was instead named Fast and Furious. No implied juxtaposition of disparate groups, just two adjectives. Clean and succinct, but no less descriptive.

None of this, mind you, is directly relevant to The Fate of the Furious,[7] the eighth film in the series. The number eight has been cleverly inserted phonetically into the title, by way of the word ‘Fate’.

Listen, it could’ve been worse. It could’ve been The FVIII of the Furious.[8] And it is a near-certainty that at some point in time, the word ‘Feight’ was written on a whiteboard in a meeting room, somewhere. I am profoundly grateful to the Universal Pictures employee who crossed it out.[9]

As for the film itself, expensive exotic vehicles are driven quite fast; things explode competently. Everything, from beginning to end, is painfully contrived. One and a half stars.

Alternative plot: A small-town primary school in financial trouble, filled with the students nobody else wants, the students whose anger-management issues have gotten them kicked out of every other school in the state. A listless town that’s given up on the school and a despairing community that’s given up on its children.
And then a new teacher arrives, one with spunk, and optimism, and ideas. She believes in these kids; where others saw anger, she sees untapped energy. These angry students are going to put on the best damn fundraising event this school has ever seen.
The fête of the furious.

[1] That is, adjectives used as nouns; for example, ‘the rich’ and ‘the poor’.
[2] So it turns out the title is a mistranslation of the Italian, in which the adjectives refer to individuals rather than groups, but the point still stands. The Quick and the Dead is probably a better example, happily from the same genre.
[3] Again, not the greatest example, what with Good Charlotte sticking an extra ‘the’ in before ‘famous’. I’m reasonably confident that this was done purely for metrical reasons.
[4] In the former, the people whose lifestyles are under scrutiny, and in the latter, the Golf Club of St Andrews, in case that wasn’t immediately clear.
[5] Refer to footnote 1, above.
[6] by Enid Blyton.
[7] A.k.a. Fast and Furious 8, a.k.a. FFVIII, a.k.a., the one with Squall and Rinoa and Seifer.
[8] See also:
[9] Similarly, the potential neologism ‘Fnine’ (rhymes with ‘benign’; also, is stupid) will probably get focus-tested. How about something like FIX the Furious? If that’s what it turns out to be, then Universal owes me money.



  1. atthematinee · April 26, 2017

    Nice post! Do you ever share your writing on any film websites?



  2. Señor Kim · July 19, 2017

    See also:


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