The Fate of the Furious is the eighth installment in the Fast & Furious franchise and sees Cipher (Charlize Theron), a cyberterrorist, seduce Dominic Toretto into a life of crime that turns him against his family.

This is everything you would expect from a Fast & Furious movie—street races, big action set-pieces, overlying themes of family, cartoon physics, and mediocre characters.

If you like any of the last three Fast & Furious films, you will enjoy Fate. It knows exactly what it is, and that is a fun popcorn flick that will keep you on the edge of your seat with its prolonged action sequences. The movie deserves points for keeping the action fresh, from hacking an army of cars to self-drive, essentially creating carmageddon, to a car chase on ice and surfing on a car door. It may not be as insane as driving a car across two skyscrapers, but this movie is sure to thrill you.

When the trailers played, they could not sell Dom turning against his team or Shaw joining the gang. Both were completely out of character for both of them. However, as you watch the movie, you will understand why these two do what they do. The writers managed to come up with justifiable reasons to back up these sensational twists, and the movie gets points for that.

Unfortunately, The Fate of the Furious is nothing more than a huge action movie, and two justified story points do not save any other part of it. Fate is just as passable as the previous three films because at their cores, they are all the same movie in terms of style. It opens with a car race, something brings Dom and the team together for a mission, they go on a globe-trotting adventure packed with extended, destructive action, and it ends reminding you how important family is. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Understandable. Furious 7 made over a billion dollars, so why should they change the formula? The least they could do is give us something a little different with the story structure, especially given the fact that Dom going rogue does not affect the team’s dynamic. The only one who is emotionally affected is Letty. Everyone else still has a straight face and cracks jokes even after they all meet to deal with Dom’s betrayal. You think an event of that magnitude would break the team, but it doesn’t. If most of the characters are not visibly affected over their leader turning against them, how can you believe them? You can’t.

The biggest problem with these movies are the characters; none of them are particularly interesting, nor do they have compelling personalities. You can’t name one interesting aspect of any of the main characters. Dom is a family man, just like any committed father. Hobbs is a tough guy to beat up thugs. Roman is the tiresome comic relief who does nothing but yell in intense situations. The list goes on. And who even is Ramsay? In two movies in which she was a large part of, she does not get any significant development. If she were to ever die, it would not leave a major impact on anyone, least of all the audience. The same can be said for Roman and Tej; the former is an annoying comic relief who gets stuck with the dumbest lines, and the latter is a bland mechanic who may or not get with Ramsay. But it doesn’t matter, because these characters can’t die.

What point is there to worry about the characters making it to the end if nobody even gets a visible injury? This is a huge problem with Fast & Furious because when all of the main characters walk away unscathed from everything, from driving a flaming car to avoiding rockets on nothing but a car door, there are no stakes. The audience has no reason to be afraid for any of them because we know they are all going to survive. A few characters may have been killed off before, but when Dom, Letty, Tej, Roman, and the rest of the team go through multiple car crashes and explosions without a scratch, it takes the audience out of the movie because of how unbelievable it is.

The Fate of the Furious is sure to entertain most audiences with the over-the-top action fans have come to expect, but a stale plot, forgettable characters, and absurd physics make it passable for everyone else.

The Fate of the Furious gets a C-

“If you had asked me back in grade school what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said my first choice was an actor, but if I couldn’t be that, I’d want to be a superhero.”-Vin Diesel

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