Elaborate stunts in ‘The Fate of the Furious’ upstaged by Theron’s weave

Cyberterrorism. An electromagnetic pulse weapon. Nuclear launch codes. A Russian submarine. And one very orange Lamborghini skidding across a frozen Barents Sea.

It’s hard to believe all this started as a movie about street racers stealing DVD players.

Seven movies later, “The Fate of the Furious” finds Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) honeymooning in Havana, one of the innumerable cities across the globe where, whenever an illegal street race breaks out, there’s always a young lady in a skirt the size of a headband, filmed from below, who’s ready to wave the starting flag.

Dom’s enjoying the charms of Cuba, livin’ la vida a quarter-mile at a time, when he encounters Cipher (Charlize Theron), a legendary hacker who hands him a phone that instantly persuades him to turn on his family and become her puppet.

Sure, the having-to-fight-one-of-their-own thing was just done two movies ago when Letty was working with the bad guys. But she had amnesia or something. I forget.

Anyway, what’s left of the team — Letty, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), mysterious federal agent Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and hacker Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), who joined up in “Furious 7,” Nobody’s new protege (Scott Eastwood) and, for some reason, the villainous Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) — come together to track Dom and Cipher to Manhattan and eventually Russia.

“Fate” offers several shout-outs, big and small, to Brian O’Conner and, by extension, the late Paul Walker. “Brian would know what to do,” Roman declares when Dom goes rogue. “We can’t bring Brian and Mia into this,” Letty reminds him. “We agreed on that.”

In addition to the scenes that play out like car porn — and there are many — the action sequences feel bigger yet slightly less ridiculous than in “Furious 7.” A montage of Cipher and her crew hacking automobiles will make you want to rush out and downsize to the least technologically advanced car available. After this, there may even be a run on Yugos.

The directors may change — F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton”) steps behind the camera after “Furious 7” director James Wan decided to make “The Conjuring 2” and Justin Lin, who helmed movies three through six, was busy filming “Star Trek Beyond” — but the movies maintain some semblance of continuity thanks to Chris Morgan, who’s written every installment since 2006’s “Tokyo Drift.”

Family still comes first. Roman and Tej still bicker like children. And Hobbs still hurls grown men a good 30 feet during his fight scenes, although his dialogue is sounding more and more like Johnson’s days in the WWE when he was cutting promos on his adversaries.

Statham gets some fun new shades to play as Shaw. But, unsurprisingly, the biggest treat is Oscar winner Theron as Cipher.

Yeah, she comes equipped with a flying supervillain lair that’s part armory, part boutique. But you can’t talk about Cipher without talking about her truly remarkable weave. The movie’s full of elaborate stunts and even more elaborate CGI, yet it’s all upstaged by some long blond hair that falls somewhere between Bo Derek in “10” and The Predator.

Seriously, it’s nearly impossible to take your eyes off that thing.

They’re the sort of extensions you get during spring break in Panama City Beach, Florida, and immediately regret as soon as your blood alcohol level drops below 0.2.

Amazingly, the same number of people — one — are credited for being Johnson’s barber and Theron’s hairdresser. I assumed it would’ve taken at least a dozen or more highly trained professionals to wrangle that weave. I expected it to have its own entourage.

At one point, I started thinking maybe Cipher was the result of some sort of symbiotic relationship, with the weave being the brains behind the operation like the tiny Master riding the hulking Blaster in “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.”

There’s been talk over the years of Hobbs getting his own spinoff movie. I’m OK with that, so long as that weave gets one first.

“The Fate of the Furious” has plenty of callbacks to previous movies for die-hard fans to enjoy, and it’s the franchise’s most entertaining installment since at least “Fast Five.”

Even if most of the physics-defying action continues to be unbeweaveable.

Err, unbelievable.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
TLC by the Numbers
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
5 must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
Five must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table.
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like