The Fate Of The Furious (what a title), the eighth entry into the seemingly infinite Fast/Furious/etc. film series, is inarguably fun, and endlessly entertaining. But where F8 gives us snowmobile chases and nukes, it weaves together endless, and listless plotlines in time that would have been better spent on more hijinks from the team. Less talking, more explosions, please.
Sexy cyber terrorist/aspiring supervillain Cipher (Charlize Theron) is our bad guy, but she’s a white woman with dreadlocks, so it’s instantly impossible to take her seriously. Cipher approaches Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) while he’s trying to enjoy his honeymoon in Havana and tells him something so alarming that he’s forced into working for her. By some pointless reason, that leverage is withheld from the audience for the first act, but the message is constantly repeated throughout the film about a thousand times: he has to betray his family. This storyline would be heartbreaking had the secret not been kept from the audience for so long, and not explained casually to the family later in the film.
And that family, of course, is the ragtag gang of drag racers slash criminal geniuses slash secret agents who are now tasked with stopping their brother from unleashing weapons of mass destruction on the world. Like the best, or worst, of Bond films, F8 zigs and zags the gang around the world, beginning in Cuba with the world’s friendliest drag race, and ending in an obscure corner of Russia where they attempt to outrun a rogue Soviet-era submarine remotely manned by Cipher in an airplane (more on that later).
To battle Cipher, the family begrudgingly works with the government and a freshman G-Man (Scott Eastwood) who truly thinks he has the chops to handle their hijinks and provides some minor comic relief. It really ends up with him spinning through utter chaos in NYC like he’s Benny in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but nobody’s counting. It’s strangely the government interference storyline that packs the most punches in F8. Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) goes full Hulk Smash on Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) — he’s back, btw — during a no holds barred prison sequence and I would 100% believe it if someone said Dwayne did this in real life.
After receiving his healthy beatdown, it’s revealed that the sworn enemies have been brought together to take down Dom and Cipher. As much as this film is about betraying family, it’s also about building it. Decker becomes the interim Dom, and his inclusion is a hell of a lot of fun, especially after seeing him take down an army of bodyguards literally singlehandedly.
Cipher’s hacking prowess again and again proves too much for the crew to handle, even for Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and yet, their fast and furious driving skills mean they can outrun her every move. She’s trying to take over the world, but if that doesn’t matter if their cars are fast enough. Fast forward to a pivotal sequence in remote Russia, where Cipher’s managed to hack into the mainframe of a long dormant submarine. Yes, the crew races a submarine that’s submerging and emerging constantly through the ice. It’s absurd, but that’s what the franchise does best: put a crew of drag racers turned secret agents into insane scenarios.
Altogether, this is just another entry into the Furious lexicon. It’s not the best of the franchise, but it’s certainly not the worst. It’s clear, though, that the engines are starting to sputter, and it’s not long until the fun and the fervor start to burn out. The franchise has to end at some point, right? Eight more movies it is.
HollywoodLifers, are you pumped to see Fate of the Furious? Let us know in the comments!