* * *
(Outrageous action and fun)

The “Fast and Furious” franchise is something of a phenomenon. Take an outrageous plot, add a bunch of B actors, surprise us with a couple of A actors, throw in a multitude of car crashes, bad guys, beautiful women, muscular men, add some humor, and have everybody running around trying to save the world.
Know what? It works.
Most of the movies, including this one, the eighth in the series, are pure escapism, outrageous action, and fun to watch.
This one has our old friend Dominic (Vin Diesel) going rogue on his team, and they can’t believe he would betray them and his country. When we learn why he is aiding and abetting the enemy we are sympathetic, but we also know that the stoic hero will figure out a way to turn things around.
Before the opening credits, we enjoy a road race through the streets of Havana that seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the two and a quarter-hour movie until one of the Cuban racers appears near the end of the film.
Diesel is surrounded by interesting characters, including the love of his life (Michelle Rodriguez), his enemy turned friend (Jason Statham), a government official (Kurt Russell), his brawny crew member (Dwayne Johnson) and two comic-relief actors (Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson). Add Charlize Theron as the nasty enemy, a cameo appearance by Helen Mirren as someone’s Mom, and the cutest baby ever to appear in an action movie, and you have a cast that seems to be having a blast making this movie.
Car chases and crashes have always been the center of the series, and this one has a melee on the streets of Manhattan that will blow your mind. Even Joyce, who is not the biggest fan of the genre, was overwhelmed with the action.
The final showdown, filmed in Iceland, is overwhelming, and what we thought was the last of the series, seems to be open for more to follow. We stayed through the endless credits, expecting a hint, but there was none.
“The Fate of the Furious” will never win an Academy Award, but it will satisfy its fans and even provide entertainment for those who are curious as to what can be so fast and furious.
Rated PG-13, with lots of violence and some profanity.


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