Part of the charm of the Fast & Furious franchise has been its steadily increasing self-awareness. As it has strayed further and further from its roots, the series has come to understand—and manfully embrace—its stories’ inherent ridiculousness. Bigger cars, bigger stunts, yes. But also a bigger willingness to do what’s narratively necessary to make it all work (more or less). On this count the eighth installment, Fate of the Furious, does not disappoint. Here are all the logical contortions the film’s makers had to undertake:
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Elena was thrown out of a building while pregnant, and everything was...fine
The longer the Fast & Furious franchise has gone on, the more superhuman its characters have become. Early in the series, a car crash might actually kill a character. (The life and death stakes were in the ‘speed’ part of the equation.) Now, though, characters routinely walk away from much more serious accidents without a scratch. A small sampling: leaping off a 300-foot cliff, driving through the nose of a burning airplane in a car that’s on fire and then flips over about a dozen times, flying off a tank at about 60 mph and landing on a car.
Those characters weren’t pregnant. In Furious 7 Elena (Elsa Pataky) and Hobbes (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) go flying out of an exploding building, courtesy of villain Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), and land on a car below. The heroes of the Fast universe routinely treat cars like trampolines. They break falls and cause minimal bodily harm. But even Hobbs, robust as he is, ended in the hospital after that fall. Elena, however, was fine.
Given the timeline established by Fate of the Furious, Elena must have been pregnant with Dom’s (Vin Diesel) child at that time. It seems like a pregnant woman that just flew out of a three-story building should be hospitalized, if only for observation. (N.B. In Fast Five, Mia also jumped off rooftops and generally did damage to her body minutes before revealing she was pregnant.)
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Dom weirdly kept the phone Cipher gave him
Early in 8, Cipher (Charlize Theron) hands Dom a phone containing the mysterious blackmail material that gets him to turn on his family. Oddly, at the end of the scene Dom just keeps the phone. Is that how he was able to contact the Shaw brothers’ mother (Helen Mirren) and ultimately plot Cipher’s downfall? If so, not smooth super-villain.
Cipher didn't check Dom for tracking devices. Rookie mistake
Shaw is able to track Cipher down because of the GPS device Dom embedded in his cross necklace. (The same one that’s been passed back and forth symbolically between Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) throughout the series.) Cipher, the film makes clear, has gone to a lot of trouble to remain undetectable. She flies on a stealth plane that can’t be tracked by satellites, tracks her potential enemies through their phones, and generally makes the unexpected first move. So how does she not instruct her minions, as a matter of evil genius policy, do a basic pat down of the guy they’re holding captive?
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Cipher pulls her punches when she clearly has the upper hand
Classic movie villain move: You have the heroes in your grasp, but you decide to give away your plan in a speech rather than, you know, kill them all. When Cipher breaks into the crew’s super-secret government location, she used special weapons to screw up their hearing for a few hours. Clearly she has no qualms about murder since she takes out Elena later and, presumably, crushes all those innocents by hacking their cars.
Worse, Cipher gives away a key piece of information to Dom in the process: She tells Shaw he joined the wrong team, tipping off Dom to the possibility of recruiting his family to help him in the end.
Dom was able to drive through Times Square in about 10 seconds
Nobody who has taken a car anywhere near the island of Manhattan thinks this is possible. And yet Dom and his pursuers are able to zip through Times Square and other parts of the heavily congested midtown area no problem. Even the President of the United States couldn’t expect the same.
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Dom's car had, like, "5000 horsepower"
When the team is trying to trap Dom by connecting grappling hooks to his car, they estimate that he’s running on about “5000 horsepower.” Ludicrous. In the first film, Dom’s beloved Charge supposedly has 900 ponies—and that was a stretch. (A real-world, $1.5 million Bugatti Veyron, by comparison, has 1,001.) Maybe special running accounts for the extra power. But this detail reeks of unnecessary inflation.
Cipher was able to make non-self driving cars self-drive
The middle of Fate of the Furious reads a bit like a parable about the dangers of self-driving cars: What if a psycho hacked into every vehicle and launched them head-on into traffic or in pursuit of one another or out of garages onto pedestrians below? Scary. Problem is, the film shows dozens and dozens of older model cars that have no autonomous features built in because of their age. She might as well have been trying to hack the horses in Central Park.
Deckard Shaw got shot...but didn't get shot?
Dom confronts Deckard in an alley. Dom shoots Deckard. Deckard dies. But later, in a flashback, we see Deckard taken into an ambulance by Dom’s old friends Leo (Tego Calderon) and Santos (Don Omar). There, his mother is waiting for him with a shot of what’s presumably adrenaline.
So was Deckard shot or not? If yes, why not fill the gun with blanks or purposely miss? If not, why did he need the shot of adrenaline?
Deckard Shaw somehow got his brother out of a black site prison
The movie is long, so maybe this one just got cut but still. Early on, it’s noted that Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), Deckard’s numbskull little brother and the villain from Fast & Furious 6, is in a high-security prison in an undisclosed location. And yet he seems to have no trouble breaking out his brother from this prison site, off screen. We know he’s a one of the most dangerous men in the world, but why no explanation for how he pulled this off? If Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) was involved, why didn’t he tell Letty and the team that Dom was actually a good guy all along?
A couple of parked cars protected Dom from getting burned alive by a giant fireball
Remember when Dom drove past a submarine so a heat-seeking missile following him would blow up the sub, not his crew? Heroic…and suicidal. As a deadly ball of fire is approaching, Letty and the rest of the gang surround Dom with their cars in a bit of perfectly choreographed synchronized parking. (Do they, like, practice that on the weekends?) The explosion fire is so large it rises above the cars, and yet somehow the crew, their vehicles and their comrade Dom are totally unharmed. Pretty sure that’s not how fire works.