The first entry in the F&F franchise, 20 years ago, was a relatable, real-world tale about street racers. What it’s morphed into, though, is so absurd that it’s beginning to resemble The Avengers. Sure, if the reason you go to the movies is car chases, macho philosophy and fiery explosions, you could do no better. The filmmakers had a lot of money to throw at special effects. Mileage may vary. But I’ve always felt that for a thriller to, well, thrill, it has to be based in reality, and this complicated, overstuffed franchise left that station a few furious flicks ago.
The only thing more absurd than the physics-defying stunts is the between-action “meaningful” dramatic pieces reminding us about the importance of family. This entertainment product is overlong at two and a quarter hours, and things get more than a little repetitive during the final chase/explosion scene. Also, like the MCU, it assumes you remember waaaay more stuff from the first eight pictures than you really do.
Never mind the cameos by slummers Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron and Kurt Russell; they’re only there for the posters. Word is, there will be two more F&F entries. I’m going to give them a pass. (143 min)
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