2015’s “Furious 7” marked an emotional, critical and financial high point for the 16-year-long “Fast & Furious” franchise, mostly thanks to the larger-than-ever all-star cast and the unfortunate but admittedly profitable death of series star Paul Walker. When Vin Diesel announced soon after the release of “Furious 7” that three more films were in the works, it was hard to imagine how the series could continue on an upward trend after having lost one of its leading men and having reached unparalleled emotional weight for the franchise. The eighth installment, “Fate of the Furious,” thus had the unfortunate task of trying to maintain audience interest and up the ante on action and audience thrills. In “Fate,” Dom Toretto and the F&F gang travels to Cuba, Germany, New York City and Russia, visiting urban streets, prison complexes, a decommissioned military base and a frozen lake, all the while picking up newer, sexier and more fantastically souped-up cars along the way. This film is as ridiculous as any in the series, and it can be frustrating at times to have your experience broken by hammy dialogue and plot devices. That said, the advantage “Fate” has over “Furious 7” is that it is at least consistently absurd. “Fate” mostly manages to maintain engagement simply because it’s never not ridiculous, and it’s therefore easier to buy into. In the end, “Fate of the Furious” feels like just another episode in the over-the-top adventures of the series. And while that’s not totally a bad thing, it certainly doesn’t make two more installments sound all that appealing.
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