The Fate of the Furious ***1/2

by D.R. Huffman

“The Fate of the Furious” makes for another fun, thrilling ride in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise.

Is it worth 10 dollars? Yes

In “The Fate of the Furious,” our group of gearhead heroes face what might be their final foe. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) betrays the “family” of mechanophiles as he joins forces with a cyber-terrorist named Cipher (Charlize Theron). Meanwhile, Dom’s former “family” must find a way to stop him and Cipher before they get their hands on nuclear launch codes.

The film features all the familiar faces, and all the actors here give fine performances. Dwayne Johnson returns as the intense cop Hobbs, and The Rock gets plenty of screen time in “Fate.” (Advice: Be a fan.) He gets to kick butt, make the audience laugh, and generally enjoy his role as one of the best characters in the movie.

Vin Diesel’s Dom ratchets up the intensity further while he’s on his own mission of sorts. It’s a welcome change to see him truly pissed throughout. Turns out Vin makes for an enjoyable demi-villain. Charlize Theron plays the beautiful Cipher icily. The talented and versatile actress convinces as the person “pulling the strings,” who seems to have thought everything out in advance. “Nobody”  is the name of Kurt Russell’s government-man character, and he’s the one in charge of Dom’s team this outing. The veteran actor, too, gets a fair amount of screen time in the supporting part. Not Russell’s best role ever, but he nevertheless brings his best, as always. Fashion model and Clint’s son, Scott Eastwood, serves nicely as a foil for Nobody. As the trainee “Little Nobody,” he prefers the old “do things by the book” philosophy.

But, the real draw of any “Fast and Furious” film is the action, of course, and “Fate” has tons of it. Laws of physics are defied, cars fly, people die, and things go BOOM! From the opening street race gone wild (in Mexico) to the grand finale involving a Russian sub (topical…), every action scene succeeds in upping your heart rate, making you want to cheer and applaud. In “Fate,” director F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton” [2015]) continues the trend of one-upmanship in each installment of the franchise. (Best action scene here: “jail fight.”)

“The Fate of The Furious” doesn’t quite rise to “best film of the series” status (that honor still goes to “Furious 7”), but it is boatloads of fun. Delivering in every way you want: bombastic, thrill-a-minute action; tests of character; comedic relief, it also continues the series’ message about family and the strength of a family bond. Ultimately, “F8” succeeds as no more or less than a testosterone-filled adrenaline ride that’s a sure bet as a crowd-pleaser.

D.R. Huffman covers new fare with an emphasis on horror and thrillers for Punch Drunk Movies. “The DR is in.”

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