I LOVE that we live in a world where acclaimed actresses Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren join a souped up, testosterone-fuelled action franchise in its eighth instalment.
Poised septuagenarian Mirren and sometime action heroine Theron (Hancock, Mad Max) are such an unlikely combination so late in this game, but it is just one example of the crazy and unpredictable directions this series goes in.
With the loss of Paul Walker, the leading ladies balance out the chromosome count and, thankfully, get an opportunity to shine amidst the incessant engine revs.
While on his honeymoon with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in Cuba, Dom Torreto (Vin Diesel) is approached by mysterious, dreadlocked beauty and world renowned cyber terrorist, Cipher (Charlize Theron).
With compelling leverage up her sleeve, Cipher seduces Dom to help her in her plan to take control of nuclear weapons and wreak havoc, which requires him to turn his back on his family and friends.
Those who usually fight beside him, including Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej Parker (Ludacris), and former enemies Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard (Jason Statham) now must band together to stop him.
The fate of this franchise is that it has to run out of steam at some point and while it hasn’t hit the skids yet, there are early signs that some steam has escaped.
The spectacle is a slight notch below that which was delivered by Aussie James Wan in the last film two years ago (nothing here quite tops the building to building leaps in Abu Dhabi), but director F. Gary Gray certainly tries with a car shower in New York and ice action in Russia.
The rapport between Roman and Tej still sparkles and the banter between Hobbs and Deckard offers even more laughs but it is the addition of ice-cold Theron and hilarious Mirren that gives this entry its juice.
The Fate of the Furious (M)
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson
Three and a half stars
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas April 12