I've never been a fan of The Fast and the Furious films, but if I had to pick one as a favorite it would be this one, The Fate of the Furious, which is the eighth in the series. Like the other films in this long-running franchise, especially the last three, it's a big, dumb cartoon and pretty much ignores the laws of physics, but Fate doesn't take itself too seriously and it keeps the sanctimonious speeches about the importance of family to a safe minimum.
This time the Furious crew has to take on a cyber terrorist named Cipher (Charlize Theron) who wants to get her hands on some nukes, and she somehow forces Dom (Vin Diesel) to help her. It's up to former Special Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to get the street racing gang back together to stop Cipher and possibly terminate Dom as well. To his surprise, Hobbs is forced to work with his mortal enemy, ex-Special Forces assassin and main villain from Furious 7, Deckard (Jason Statham).
The Fate of the Furious benefits from punchy direction from F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton) and nice repartee between Johnson and Statham. Forget that Deckard murdered Hobbs' friends in the previous installment. Here, Deckard is a cuddly ex-killer and the insults he and Hobbs throw at each other are pretty hilarious. I vote for Statham and Johnson to star in a buddy-cop film because they clearly have good chemistry together.
The action scenes are wildly absurd, especially when a submarine – remote controlled by Cipher – shoots a torpedo above the ice, and Hobbs – hanging out of his vehicle and skiing on his heels – is able to redirect the projectile with his hands. But it's done with such gusto, you laugh but go with it anyway. There is also a neat, comical action scene where Deckard has to save a baby.
Yes, I am giving this one a free pass, but enough of this street racers turned spies franchise. At 136-minutes, this is 45-minutes too long, and there are enough frame-filling explosions to last five lifetimes. It's exhausting. There is obviously going to be a Fast 9 where I suspect, Hobbs will throw an armored tank across a football field.