When you walk into the 8th edition of any film, there are no surprises. You know exactly what you’ve paid for. The only question is – does it deliver? I’m happy to report that Fast & Furious 8: The Fate of the Furious does what we need it to do – we get spectacular set-piece action sequences, countless sleek cars, a few good quips – all spiked with sentimental talk about the importance of family. Of course it’s determinedly silly. And by the time it’s done, you will feel a bit battered. But there is fun to be had here – especially in the climax when the furious family is trying to prevent – I’m not kidding – World War 3.
When the film opens, the family seems to be leading happy lives with a semblance of normalcy. Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are celebrating their honeymoon in Cuba – this involves an entirely unnecessary but highly entertaining car race. And then a deadly blonde arrives – Charlize Theron with braids and a death stare playing the cyber-genius-hacker-terrorist Cipher. What does she want? Nuclear weapons so that she can force the superpowers into having accountability. What does that mean? I have no idea but she blackmails Dom into going rogue. Now the family has to go after their own.
The weakest link here is Cipher. Charlize looks deadly but her character doesn’t get to do much. She mostly stands in front of screens and delivers lines like – let’s get this party started or it’s zombie time. Director F. Gary Gray does better with cars than with people. At one point, Cipher remotely maneuvers dozens of cars in New York City and we get a staggering sequence in which cars are cascading down from a high-rise garage to the street below. It’s a sight to behold. I also enjoyed watching Dwayne Johnson face off with Jason Statham. Their characters have a love-hate relationship with some memorable lines. If only, the censors hadn’t ruined the fun by bleeping out words - I don’t know who decided that we can’t handle a character saying ass.
These are minor irritants. Grab your popcorn, don’t ask too many questions and prepare to be exhausted and exhilarated. By the way, I used the same words for Furious 7. Full marks to the franchise for consistency.