Speed limits? Optional. Ditto, gravity. Only one unwritten commandment of silly action moviemaking - thou shalt not exceed two hours - goes unheeded. As usual with this unstoppable franchise - now on its eighth installment - it all works somehow.
It's been 16 years since car-obsessed thief/mechanic Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) first revved an engine on-screen, and a lot has changed since then. Dom is finished with his criminal ways, and he's lost his best friend (Paul Walker) to retirement. (Walker, who played Brian, died midway through filming the seventh movie.) But Dom's still an acrobatic speed demon behind the wheel, and he wastes no time showing off.
Such emotional maturity makes what follows all the more confounding: Dom abandons Letty after being recruited by the evil computer hacker Cipher (Charlize Theron), a new character who wears Metallica T-shirts and has long blond dreadlocks. But cultural appropriation is the least of her sins. In a sign that the Furious franchise is taking tips from Marvel, the sadistic supervillain seeks world domination.
But back to the action: Cipher must be stopped, and there's only one group to do it. Enigmatic special agent Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell, clearly having fun) recruits Dom's old crew, including Letty; former federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson); hilariously histrionic Roman (Tyrese Gibson); and computer nerds Tej and Ramsey (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges and Nathalie Emmanuel). With each movie, the crew gains a few allies. This time, it's onetime villain Deckard (Jason Statham) and Mr. Nobody's new rube of an underling (Scott Eastwood), who becomes an easy target for the team's jokes.
Of course, nobody comes to the Furious franchise looking for jokes. It's all about action, which doesn't disappoint. Here, self-driving cars rain down on city streets from a multistory parking garage; rubber bullets ricochet off Hobbs's pulsating neck muscles; Deckard parkours out of a maximum-security prison. The piece de resistance involves a formation of cars atop an ice field, trying to outrun a submarine. As usual, the chases are gorgeously choreographed - and utterly nonsensical.
This is the first Furious film for director F. Gary Gray ("Straight Outta Compton), who previously demonstrated his mastery of high-speed pursuits with the 2003 remake of The Italian Job. The movie drags at times, especially during a tense cyber-confrontation between Ramsey and Cipher, during which the camera cuts from one character to the other, rapidly tapping on their keyboards.
Watch the trailer of fate Of The Furious:
On top of the clunky dialogue and absurd plot twists, such moments suggest that the franchise - which already has two more installments planned - peaked three movies ago, with 2011's Fast Five. Even so, Fate gives fans of the franchise exactly what they want, provided they can ditch logic as easily as the movie does.
Two and one-half stars. Rated PG-13. Contains prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggestive content and strong language. 136 minutes.
Ratings Guide: Four stars masterpiece, three stars very good, two stars OK, one star poor, no stars waste of time.
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