If your intent is to go see The Fate of the Furious this weekend, there's a good chance that you're no stranger to the franchise. You know it's going to be a rather silly, there'll be some cool car chases and stunts, there will be the requisite bootie-angle shots of scantily-clad starting-line women, and little to no relationship to reality with any number of the stunts or plot premises. That said it's two hours and ten minutes of relatively mindless fun.
The film opens with Dom (Vin Diesel) and his crew in Havana, Cuba. Before you know it, Dom is lining up for a race in his cousin's rustbucket of a car against a local thug's high-end model. Yea, sure, it's fun. You know who'll win, and as Dom crosses the finish line inches ahead of the other guy (because when you're driving a car that's barely holding together, going backwards while it's on fire, it always goes just that much faster), you make the choice to either go with it and just have fun, or leave the theater and find out if there's still some open seats for Boss Baby.
A mystery women named Cipher (played by Fury Road's Furiosa, Chaelize Theron) shows up in Havana and shows Dom something that starts him down a path that quickly has him parting ways with his chosen family. Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) shows up to recruit the gang to steal an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) device which has the ability to wipe out all electrical devices within a wide range. After the heist, Dom double-crosses Luke and steals the device for Cipher.
From here on out, it's sorting out the mystery of why did Dom turn on his BFFs, what is he and his new partner in Crime, Cipher up to. Kurt Russell reprises his earlier role of government agent, Mr. Nobody and backs the team's efforts in catching the pair. Cipher turns out to be an elite-level hacker and in one of the films most interesting (and amusing) conceits, she takes over all of the self-driving cars in New York City in an attempt to rob the Russian Minister of Defense. The cars come to life and start chasing after the Minister both on the road as well as sailing out of the upper-floor of an auto dealership. The scene looked nothing so much as like a cross between Cars and World War Z.
We've been following this crew though ups and downs for seven films thus far, and this one is just as much about seeing the band back together as it is in seeing the car chases. There's the best running battle and chase on a frozen body of water since James Bond's Die Another Day (and this one is far better than Bond's attempt). I mean really, you have a remote-controlled Russian nuclear submarine chasing a bunch of sports cars while shooting heat-seeking missiles. We won't point out that the top speed for a submarine isn't even 50mph (and that's while submerged, surfaced it's even slower and that doesn't even touch on doing so while breaking through ice). Yea, it's got some deeply silly ideas about physics and basic mechanics, but the series hasn't really bothered itself with the real world; it's about having a fun time watching a group of characters who are more old friends. So take it for what it is, hanging out with that one friend from college who always tells the most outlandish of adventure stories, but the stories are a blast, so you let him keep on talking.
However, if you're someone who gets annoyed by unrealistic action films, this might be something to hold off on, unless you're in the mood to flip a table.
The film is directed by Straight Outta Compton's F. Gary Gray and the script is credited to Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson. Producers are Morgan, Michael Fottrell, Neal H. Moritz and Diesel.