Late in the race, the fast-cars franchise twists open the nitrous and roars back to life, thanks to a standout villain (an icy cool Charlize Theron), a pleasing measure of self-consciousness about its own tropes and themes (what is family, anyway?), and better writing and humor (nitrous is also laughing gas, after all). We open with stars Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez honeymooning in Havana, and just like that, the obligatory street race feels like it makes some sense (even as it beggars belief). Yes, we’re still in the realm of cyberterrorists — the tie-the-previous-films-together storyline echoes James Bond’s latest outing in Spectre — but folks are here for the sweet rides and muscled-up bromance, not the geopolitical maneuvering. (Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham bicker like a jacked up Benedick and Beatrice.) And just when the Fast-and-the-Furious-on-Ice finale threatens to drag on past the point of action-setpiece endurance, director F. Gary Gray has the grace to send a supercar from heaven as an actual answer to prayer. (2017) — Matthew Lickona
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