“Your team,” says cyber-villainess Cipher (Charlize Theron) to Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), “is about to go up against the only thing they can’t handle.” “What’s that?” says Dom. “You,” she says. That’s the setup for this action adventure flick, eighth in “The Fast and Furious” franchise.
What would make Dom turn his back on family? Does Cipher’s plan for world domination have a purpose? Can you stand almost 2 ½ hours of mind-numbing noise, violence and mayhem? I wouldn’t choose to, but it’s my job.
All the usual suspects are here, and a few newcomers. Vin Diesel/Dom’s “family,” of course: Dwayne Johnson (Luke Hobbs), Michele Rodriguez (Letty), Tyrese Gibson (Roman), Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (Tej Parker) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsey). Joining them are Charlize Theron as one-note Cipher, determined — for no particular reason — to control the world’s superpowers, and Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw, “Furious 7” bad guy, escaped from prison and now frenemy of Hobbs.
Others in the cast include Kurt Russell and Scott Eastwood as federal agents Mr. Nobody and Little Nobody. Luke Evans is Owen and Helen Mirren, in a cameo, plays Deckard’s mother. To him, she says, weeping, “I can’t believe I’m your mother!”
“The Fate of the Furious” (“F8”) wore me out. It’s full of noise, visual clutter, brutal violence and interminable action sequences with crashing cars, motorcycles, exploding armored trucks, missiles, planes, tanks and a nuclear submarine. Directed by F. Gary Gray from Chris Morgan’s almost incoherent script, “F8” moves its characters into 007 territory where villains seek to control the world and only Dom Toretto’s family can save us. It’s just silly.
However, two themes seek to give “F8” some heart. First, and central to the plot, is “family,” of which Dom has two: his posse “family” whom he apparently rejects (for reasons which we learn half way through the film), and his nuclear family — wife and son — about whom I’ll say no more. “Respect” is the second theme, as in an exchange between Dom and his losing Cuban street-race opponent: “You can have my car — and my respect,” says the Cuban. “Keep your car,” says Dom. “Your respect is enough.” There’s also respectful homage at the beginning and end of the film to Paul Walker (“Brian O’Conner”) who died in 2013.
Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of brutal violence and destruction, suggestive content and language, “F8” runs (a long) 136 minutes. Take my word for it, you can miss this one.
“The Fate of the Furious”
Tops my latest list
Of noisy, witless flicks
I wish I had missed.