There's a stupefying beauty to the arc of the Fast and Furious movies. With 2001's The Fast and The Furious, a Point Break for gearheads starring two relatively unknown young actors and made for $38 million, we learned about a tight-knit crew of thieves in Los Angeles who like to drag-race, throw backyard cookouts, and steal DVD players from trucks. Sixteen years and $4 billion in gross revenue later, The Fate of the Furious features the same characters, along with an ever-growing family of cohorts, fighting a Russian submarine. This is not a normal trajectory.
Like the saga's bulbous figurehead Dominic Toretto, played by Vin Diesel, this series lives its life "a quarter-mile at a time." When you're strapped into your seat at the multiplex, nothing else matters: not the convoluted chronology, not the rivalry between the stars, not the tragic death of Paul Walker that has added a melancholy quality to the later films. For those two or more hours of rubber-burning mayhem, you're free.