The Fate of the Furious

Loads of fun as long as you like Vin Diesel driving fast. And Charlize Theron

Haters love to complain that this increasingly barmy petrolhead action series still shows no sign of stopping. But would the same argument apply to, say, a decades-long TV soap opera? Deep down, that’s all the Fast & Furious franchise is – it just happens to be on the big screen, cost millions of dollars and features souped-up sports cars jumping over submarines.

The villain this time is Cipher (Charlize Theron), a platinum blonde criminal mastermind (aren’t they all?) with a cunning plan to bring Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) back to the dark side. But Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and the rest of their ever-expanding crew have no intention of letting Dom go. He’s family, after all!

So begins the obligatory globe-trotting free-for-all, as our heroes abandon their bolthole in Havana and head briefly to Berlin, followed by the streets of New York and a sub-smashing showdown in an Arctic shipyard. Of course, there are strays to pick up along the way: Scott Eastwood’s buttoned-up military man, Kurt Russell’s shady government fixer and – gloriously, hilariously – Helen Mirren as Jason Statham’s nicotine-stained Cockney mam.

The action scenes are competently handled by Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray: there’s nothing here to rival the tactile intensity of series peak Fast Five, though the New York sequence has its share of OTT, grip-the-handrest moments.

Overall, there’s a sense it all knows exactly where it wants to go and won’t bust a gasket getting there: you might ask for a little more character work here, a few more plot surprises there, but on the whole this rattles along just fine.

The bottom line
Not a series victory lap, but still loads of fun.

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