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These ‘Fate of the Furious’ reviews are all over the road

Where’s Dom?

It’s "the most spectacular one yet" — and it’s "the worst of these films since 2 Fast 2 Furious." It’s "bloated," "exhausting" and "narratively unnecessary" with "sentiments as fake" as the "lifeless action scenes" — and its "Fun!"

It’s … pretty much all over the damn road.

Critical reaction to Fate of the Furious is like watching Fate of the Furious: confusing, highly conflicted, but you pretty much knew what you were getting into here.

The embargo on reviews for Fate lifted Sunday morning (Mashable’s Angie Han will have her own take this week) but for now, here’s a sampling of the hot-and-cold reactions to the latest installment in this franchise that is so loopy, you can literally write two separate reviews — one good, and one bad — and get away with it.

Charlize Theron is a supervillain that no one can agree on

The real standout among the cast is the series’ new adversary. Charlize Theron brings the proper degree of icy cruelty to Cipher, who is essentially a Bond villain. … Theron underplays the role, making Cipher’s head games and willingness to kill anyone — and delivering it all with a cobra-like stillness — all the creepier.

Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Theron proves an ace villain: imperious yet personable, with a leonine cunning and directness. Cipher is some sort of vaguely left-wing power-mad cyber-warrior (she doesn’t want the usual money or chaos — she wants to force the world’s nations into “accountability”), and even her curled finger-taps on the keyboard dance with personality.

David Ehrlich, Indiwire

It stalls the moment Charlize Theron shows up. As dull and uninspired here as she was riveting and iconic in Fury Road, Theron plays Cipher, an embarrassingly named super hacker who plunges F8 into the most half-assed story of cyber-terrorism since Live Free or Die Hard … her villainous plot is so stupid that the film tries to pretend it doesn’t matter, and most of Theron’s performance is confined to cut-away shots where she says things like “Get ready for this” before hitting a button that triggers some bad special effects halfway around the world.

John DeFore, THR

Theron, on the other hand, carries plenty of weight in the story, however, she appears to have little fun doing it.

Scott Mendelson, Forbes

Charlize Theron is a compelling baddie, yet she spends most of her time in a single location pushing buttons and making threats. Not since John Malkovich in Eragon has a villain spent so much time doing so little, and she also gets zero action beats.

If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s Jason Statham

Jason Statham also gets several cool action moments, but it’s these two rivals’ verbal sparring that proves even more ridiculously macho as their insults grow increasingly crude yet funny as the film proceeds.

David Ehrlich, Indiwire

Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw makes for some of the most fun moments in “F8” (the best of which is too good to spoil), but the ease with which Dom’s pals allow the “Furious 7” villain into their club is not only a fatal misread of what fans loved about these films, it’s also a tacit admission that their sentiments are as fake as their stunts.

But overall, it’s … the best and the worst Fast movie

Boom.

Image: Universal pictures

Owen Gleiberman, Variety

If this series, over the last 16 years, has taught us anything, it’s that just when you think it’s about to run out of gas, it gets outfitted with an even more elaborate fuel-injection system. And that’s never been more true than it is of the eighth film in the series … which may just be the most spectacular one yet.

David Ehrlich, Indiwire

F8 is the worst of these films since 2 Fast 2 Furious, and it may be even worse than that. It’s the Die Another Day of its franchise — an empty, generic shell of its former self that disrespects its own proud heritage at every turn … feels like a heap of random parts that were thrown together in the hopes that fate might somehow weld them into a roadworthy vehicle. It’s exhausting.

Mike Ryan, Uproxx

Like, how did it escalate to this? What has to happen in someone’s life to go from a person who races cars and steals DVD players to a person who has to fight a submarine with a fast car? Oh, yes, the gang also fights a submarine in The Fate of the Furious. This movie is insane. I can’t help but love these movies.

Scott Mendelson, Forbes

For much of its running time, Fate of the Furious goes against what has made the franchise so enjoyable of late. The plot, with Dom being forced to go rogue and work for the side of villainy, keeps the core cast separate from each other for most of the film and keeps most of them in a state of misery and gloom. This eighth installment must depend on the relative chemistry of its dwindling ensemble. The picture cannot escape its arbitrary nature, existing as the first episode since the third with no real reason to exist.

Dan Callahan, TheWrap

A jaunt through Russia and a chase over ice are far less interesting, and the plot twists in The Fate of the Furious suggest the kind of games that 11-year-old boys put together on the playground during recess, with women in peril and so many different parts for everyone to play that you begin to lose track of who everybody is and who they are supposed to be to each other. When this gets to be too much, of course, another car will soon be sailing through the air to distract us.