Fate of the Furious”
It's the eighth installment, and the narrative was never really the
point, anyway. At first it was
just about the fast cars and the beautiful young women, but over time Dom
(Vin Diesel), though still in default mode as the stare-'em-down
tough-guy, is not afraid to show us his gentler side, as well,
particularly when it comes to his team of rough-and readies, which he
calls his “family,” and especially Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), with
whom he has developed a palpable affection.
But their lovemaking is awkwardly tender, and remarkably
non-explicit. For so much
action-violence (bloodless bad guys falling everywhere) it's tame enough
to still warrant the PG-13 rating, which keeps it on its adolescent,
juvenile point of view: pretty girls are eye candy, being tough is
important and muscular even better, but what really matters most is
skillyfully driving an impressively fast car.
And if your favorite girl happens to be a great driver, also, well,
that's pretty much puerile heaven.
We've grown up just enough to know that not all beautiful girls
have hearts of gold. Enter the
villainess, Cipher (Charlize Theron), never without her full makeup, hair
styled, and wearing something provocative.
Her particular talent is cyber-hacking.
She's so good at it that not even the CIA can track her, and so
they ask our intrepid team for help, because she's definitely a threat to
international security. Insert Kurt Russel as the mysterious government
agent who knows how to appeal to our garage gang's sense of bravura and
The wrinkle is that Cipher has something on our hero, Dom---enough
to cause him to appear to work for her, and against his “family.”
They are distraught about that, obviously, but somehow the action
steers just clear of putting Dom in direct conflict with his “homies”---at
least until the tension is resolved. Then
it's Dom to the rescue once more, achieving impossible stunts with his
vehicle and just managing to bail out right before the fiery crash, with
nary a scratch on him. And
Superman has to wear blue leotards and red boots, whereas our pal Dom gets
to parade around in torn muscle shirts to show off his biceps.
But at least they have a sense of humor about it.
Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) gets kidded about his tank top being so
tight to show off his muscles that it's cut off the circulation to his
brain. And they revel in the
incongruous humor: like an
assassin carrying an infant seat in a gunfight, making sure to put
earphones on the little guy so all the noise won't disturb him.
And who doesn't like the tribute to their fallen comrade at the
end, and how many action movies end with the heroes all sitting around the
table holding hands while they say grace before the meal?
Well, if you enjoy spectacular action sequences, exotic locales,
homespun repartee, and you don't mind a little mindless retro Cold War
plot, you could do a lot worse than “The Fate of the Furious.”