If you’ve seen the last few movies in this franchise you may have noticed it’s veered slightly away from bad boys street racing with undercover cops who occasionally take on villainous drug dealers, it’s now more in the vein of films like Captain America: Civil War where heroes take on super villains in over-the-top action set-pieces, and like our current line of superhero movies the obvious death toll occurring on screen is kept rather sanitized and downplayed. Seriously, the amount of innocent lives lost that can be laid at Dominic Toretto’s feet in this film would land him about twenty life sentences if this was the real world.
Of course this isn’t the real world it’s the “Fast and the Furious World” where reality is for chumps.
The movie opens with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) on their honeymoon in Havana, in which Dom and a local tough guy race for pinks in what could be considered a nod to where the series started, but there is trouble in paradise as villainous cyberterrorist Cypher (Charlize Theron) has arrived to recruit Dom for her nefarious world dominating scheme. Toretto would like to tell her where she can stuff her offer but Cypher has something in her clutches that is very near and dear to his heart. You would think by now that villains would realize that if you need the talents of the hero, because the hero is so badass only they could pull it off, at some point those particular talents are going to turn around and bite you in the ass.
Meanwhile Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has his afternoon soccer game with his daughter’s team interrupted and he and the team are assembled and race off to Berlin to retrieve an EMP device from a military outpost. It’s while making their daring escape that Toretto reveals he’s not playing for their team anymore and Hobbs ends up in a maximum security prison, one that also happens to be holding the Deckard (Jason Statham) who was the villain in Furious 7, and Dominic disappears with the EMP device.
The Fate of the Furious is a ludicrous movie and if you embrace the insanity you will have an amazing time. With the right mindset you will giggle along with our heroes as they race through the streets of New York City while Cypher remote controls a thousand autonomous cars to steal the nuclear football from a visiting Russian Minister of Defense, you will laugh as cars make insane jumps, flip and crash all while still remaining fully functional, you will snicker at every tough guy line that Diesel, Statham, and Dwayne Johnson utter at each other, and you will cheer as our heroes out race a nuclear submarine, avoid massive explosions and fireballs, dodge bullets and even evade a heat-seeking missile as if this was simply a normal Tuesday for them.
Basically what I’m saying here is that as action-comedies go you will not be disappointed with this installment, but if you are the kind of person who is bothered by plot holes big enough to swallow said nuclear submarine than you may want to avoid this entry in the genre. Director F. Gary Gray does solid work here in keeping the action and banter coming at you so fast and furious that you won’t ask questions like, “If Cypher obtains the codes for Russia’s nuclear arsenal wouldn’t the Russian government immediately change those codes?” This film doesn’t even bother to give Cypher any kind of motivation or plan that makes a lick of sense, at one point she tells Toretto that she wants to, “Hold the world’s governments accountable.” Accountable for what exactly? Does this mean if America invades Syria she will nuke Manhattan, or if Russia rigs an election she will wipe out Moscow? Nothing is made clear pertaining to her long-term goals so I’m not sure if she was being set-up to be some crazed altruistic supervillain but the film spends so little time with her that we never find out.
It is great to see the gang back in action, and it’s truly sad that Paul Walker is no longer with us, and as an action blockbusters go there is worst ways to start your summer off. This is a fun film with fantastic stunts, lots of good laughs, beautiful women, cool cars, and then of course there’s Kurt Russell who is always a treat no matter how small the role.
Now that all said there was one element that bothered me greatly, setting aside the ridiculous plot and the indestructible nature of our heroes, the one element in the film that made no sense whatsoever was everyone using what looked to be bloody CB radios during those insane car chases. Have none of these idiots heard of hands-free phones? If you are crashing through city streets or barrelling across frozen wastelands you’d think you’d want both hands on the wheel.