The Fate of the Furious has two innovative action set-pieces that are worth your attention if not the price of admission. The first is a sequence in which every computer controlled car in New York City is electronically commandeered and pursues our heroes through the streets. The second, is a masterfully choreographed fight scene where Jason Statham fights his way through an airplane while cradling a baby. These are two inspired moments in a film that is otherwise devoid of inspiration, coherence, or logic.
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is lying low in Cuba when a sexy criminal, code-named Cipher (Charlize Theron), convinces him to not only get back to work, but turn on his team. This includes betraying Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson), and Taj (Ludicris). Dom sabotages a mission and makes his intentions clear, he’s romantically and professionally attached to Cipher. The one most hurt by their leader’s duplicity is his former lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez).
Returning as the Nick Fury to their squad Kurt Russell spoofs his Tequila Sunrise image as the shadow agency head, Mr. Nobody. The reason for Dominic’s turn against his “family” is the main plot point in a film that runs a numbing 136 minutes. A nearly ten-minute climax involving the gang escaping on a frozen glazier while being chased by a surfacing submarine is spectacle for it’s own sake.
There is no denying that this series is devolving into something as boring, and insulting as one of those latter Police Academy sequels. The franchise has run strong since 2001. It pre-dates 9/11, the financial melt-down, and the Marvel cinematic universe. However, it is far past time that this gang ride off into the proverbial sunset, or in this case, the exit ramps.
Director: F. Gary Gray
Stars: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron