The Fate of the Furious - Box Office Success Despite Predictability
It does not happen very often that a film series gets 8 installments or more without the usual wear and tear in the sequels. Sooner or later, franchises like Friday the 13th, Halloween or Saw just were not as successful as they used to be at some point which is also the chance for something new.
But perhaps, the problem with the mentioned horror franchises are the expectations audiences have. Kills that need to be more and more innovative were basically the main criterion. From the very beginning, the F&F series was focused on car action that has become more and more over the top over the years, yes. But values like team spirit and family have always been just as important. Fans around the globe like that and it also leaves a lot of room storywise. And of course, the tragic death of actor Paul Walker had its fair share to say the least. The last installment Walker was involved in, Furious 7 (2015), made $1.5 billion (!) worldwide.
That this basic formula becomes kind of boring over the years is proven by the way the action scenes are being staged: With every new sequel they become fancier and more unrealistic because the action needs to be more over the top than the action from the previous one. In The Fate of the Furious, it is a submarine for a change. Not much left to top that...
But the producers are aware that the franchise can't be taken serious anymore and they are fine with it. According to them, a trip to space would not be an issue if it fits right in the story. So far, they have a plan for 10 installments but there'll surely be ways to squeeze more money out of the franchise. For instance, a spin-off with the characters played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham is already in the works.
The Extended Director's Cut and What It Really Contains
It is at least doubtful that director F. Gary Gray (Friday, Set it Off) actually got to release his own vision of the movie. Not only is Vin Diesel the lead but also executive producer who has already used that influence during the shoot. Allegedly, Diesel and The Rock did not get along which resulted in Diesel scrapping some scenes The Rock was supposed to shoot. In addition to that, the originally planned post-credit scene with The Rock and Statham had to be removed even though the movie was already shipped to theaters. Is family not as important as it seems?
At first glance, the Extended Director's Cut of The Fate of the Furious appears to be superior because it is 13 minutes longer than the Theatrical Version. But wouldn't it be nice if the additional footage was actually worth the time? Well, as far as the 13 minutes go, one might very well deduct two thirds of it because that is the time wasted for numerous slightly extended shots in the Extended Cut. Why you ask? Because they can. Besides, a movie that long would have had a harder time to achieve more than $1.2 billion worldwide just due to running time issues in cinemas. For that reason, those many many tiny alterations are not being listed in the following comparison in order to stick to the relevant alterations on the one hand and to keep it as simple as possible on the other.
The scenes that are actually new are all character based - occasionally, it is just a few more sentences. As a result, Roman gets to be a bit more hysterical, Cipher and Dom's verbal duel is a little longer and almost any character gets more screentime. Whether the additional action had been removed in order to ensure the PG-13 rating is undetermined. Either way, censoring was not really an issue here - unlike it was for the Theatrical Version of the 5th installment.
One thing is for sure: Introducing a new medium to the market has always its consequences and it is no different this time. Since the 4K UHD Blu-ray is not as successful as expected, digital streams have become standard - thanks to sites like Netflix, Amazon etc. And there is always trouble when people believe they are being blackmailed in some way. In this particular case, it means people are upset that the Extended Director's Cut of The Fate of the Furious is only available via Digital Copy which is part of the Theatrical Version Blu-ray release. Both collectors of physical media and people with slow internet are not happy about that kind of policy. Well, maybe the following comparison can shed some light on whether or not the Extended Cut is worth buying.
Compared are the Theatrical Version and the Extended Director's Cut (both available - Theatrical Version physically, Extended as Digital Copy code - on the US Blu-ray by Universal Pictures).
The Extended Director's Cut is 12 minutes 16 seconds longer than the Theatrical Version.
0:03:21: Raldo responds to Dom's question why he was towing away his cousin's car: "Your cousin's car? Not anymore"
0:03:53: Raldo says to Letty: "Do you know what I respect? Money. Let the men negotiate, girl."
0:07:10: The race between Dom and Raldo contains several extended shots. The only recognizable ones are the exclusive shots of Letty and Dom's cousin on their bikes & one of Raldo's men takes a call.
0:09:48: The end of the race is also longer. There are additional shots of Dom inside the burning cockpit plus an extended shot of the cars in the water. The shot of gloomy Raldo is slightly longer as well.
0:14:28: The conversation continues:
Letty: "And do you have enough faith in the world?"
Dom: "I'll always ride for us."
Letty: "Yeah, but would you ride for the world?"
They kiss and smile.
Dom: "You hungry?"
Dom: "Same thing?"
Dom: "Two minutes!"
Dom gets out of bed.
0:28:36: Roman tries to calm Letty down when she approaches Ramsey with anger. He tells her they were going to figure it out and they were all in the same boat to which Letty challenginly responds with the question with that was really them.
0:32:10: Hobbs points out he and Deckard did not have a lot in common. In the Extended Cut, he makes an additional comment: "So why don't you get your candy-ass back out there and toss some more salad, boy?"
A sexual reference probably removed for the PG-13 rating.
0:33:29: Cipher shows Dom around and speakly highly of his plan which totally worked. Dom snappishly says watching this from 30,000 feet must have been really fun. But Cipher believes he was having a little fun himself.
0:35:15: When Cipher explains what she really sees in Dom, her description is a little longer in the Extended Cut.
"That engine. That open road. Being free."
0:38:43: Another inmate makes an attempt to attack Hobbs with a knife. At the end of the day, the attacker gets stabbed in the leg with his own knife. Hobbs then tosses him over a rail.
0:39:34: Hobbs keeps beating up inmates and guards.
When Tej wonders who Nobody and his helper Little Nobody really are, Hobbs makes an additional comment in the Extended Cut: "Trust me, brother, that's a maze that you don't wanna get lost in."
0:42:22: When Ramsey talks about Cipher, she adds she was very well capable of manipulating global markets and governments.
0:42:37: Little Nobody explains his coordinated investigations regarding Cipher were pointless, except for a picture of her.
0:43:27: Letty asks Nobody why Dom and Cipher were working together but she does not know.
0:43:51: Hobbs is planing for when they have caught Dom: "And then we put a stop to whatever bullshit they got planned."
0:45:54: Roman can't resist mentioning how awesome he is because tracking Dom with Ramsey's software was his iead.
0:47:55: When Roman imitates Little Nobody who then tells him to get lost, Roman responds in the Extended Cut: "No problem. Bad breath."
0:48:23: When it becomes obvious that Dom has to be at the secret location the team is currently at, glass explodes in the Theatrical Version and the attack begins. In the Extended Cut, Hobbs tells Tej to pull the surveillance cameras. Cipher and Dom appear on the screen. They are in the elevator and Cipher makes a snarky comment: "Surprise!"
0:48:33: Additional shot of the team going down due to the explosion.0.84 sec
0:52:39: Ramsey approaches Deckard in order to thank him for saving her life earlier. He says it was not necessary but he wants to know if she had a functional computer which she does, of course. Roman witnesses the entire thing from the distance and gets nervous because he thing for Ramsey. He calls Tej over but Tej plays it cool. Ramsey and Deckard had the very same accents because they were both British. Roman on the other hand explains he was the one with the accent because he was from another region which made him the exotic one. Tej remains sceptical.
0:58:00: Cipher keeps talking. She explains how she pictures Dom's attempt to escape after taking the gun from Rhodes: "You have the will so you'll find a way. And once you've got it, you'll take him out. Maybe even me."
1:04:35: When Deckard focuses on the British jeep, Hobbs just can't keep his mouth shut. He asks if they had something American as well. Deckard wants to know if he had issues with high quality products and adds that jeep was best vehicle ever built by the SAS. Hobbs breaks a side mirror and makes a snarky comment about it. Deckard tells Hobbs to repair that but Hobbs simply walks away.
1:05:18: Little Nobody comes up with more details regarding the tank. Roman wants to mess with him by getting rid of an imaginary fly and Ramsey asks if she had heard something but she only rolls her eyes like she always does.
1:09:10: Dom also says to Magdalene Shaw that he could see it in his little boy's eyes that he recognized Dom as his father.
1:16:01: A cop on a bike crashes into a cab.
1:23:39: Two additional shots of Dom chasing Letty.
1:24:36: The Extended Cut contains more footage of Dom pulling Letty's and Tej's cars around at the intersection.
1:24:44: Same here.
1:30:33: Cipher also says about Dom's son (and babies in general): "They're just designed to be so cute..."
1:31:14: Cipher tells Dom his family values were common knowledge to anyone. Meanwhile, a few shots of Cipher, Dom, Elena and Rhodes.
1:31:55: Dom longer after the deadly shots were fired. In addition to that, only the Extended Cut contains a (non explicite) shot of Elena's body.
1:32:49: Letty makes a comment regarding Rhodes: "He must have been working with that bitch the whole time."
1:33:24: Cipher, being the cold analyst as always, says about Dom's urge for revenge: "It's an adaptive, evolutionary response."
1:35:56: Dom psychoanalizes Cipher: "I have learned one thing about you, Cipher. Behind those contacts, your eyes are brown. Beneath that dye, your hair is black. There was probably beauty inside you once but somehow you let it all die away. You're so wrapped up in being a mystery you don't know who the hell you are anymore. You're lost. You're alone. And you're scared."
1:38:08: Roman keeps making fun of Tej's beard and calls him "Fake-ass Barry White."
1:46:36: Hobbs shoots one of the goons, then he is out while more attackers are getting closer. Only in the Extended Cut, Hobbs now yells what he yelled on the soccer field at the beginning of the movie. His attacker are highly irritated by that.
1:47:26: Looks like Ludacris had enough of being the IT guy. Now, he gets to fight a Russian dude and he stands his ground.
1:49:20: Dom gives Rhodes a nasty look. The latter puts a bag on the hood.
1:50:57: Roman is driving on some road at HQ only so he can swear and return. Numerous of hostile jeeps are following him and he warns the team. They come up with a plan and keep driving.
2:05:53: Deckard gets to take out a few more Cipher's goons.
2:07:41: Roman screams in panic: "I'm not going back in that water!"
2:16:46: Dom complains to Deckard about the glove for his son with the British flag on it because his son was "American Muscle" (which does not make any sense with him coming from Brazil but who cares?). Deckard is a good sport.