Fast & Furious 8/The Fate of the Furious (12a)
Directed by: F Gary Gray
Starring: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham & Dwayne Johnson
Running time: 2hrs 16mins
When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.
How?! How has a franchise that started with street racers, girls in bikinis and little else managed to last eight movies and become a massively successful franchise? By upping the ante every episode and delivering fun, thrills, physics defying madness and a bunch of characters who, thanks mostly to director Justin Lin who took the reigns from the third to the sixth movies, have become familiar and, well, loved.
So here’s the thing, if you don’t like the Fast & Furious franchise then you’re on the wrong page. If you’ve made your peace with the fact that these movies are stupid and not for you then you’re not going to want to see this one anyway.
If, however, you’ve decided that, despite your better judgment, you love these movies (like myself) then, dammit, you’re in for one hell of a ride.
Fast 8 sees Dominic Torreto (Vin Diesel) on honeymoon with Letty (Michelle Rodriquez) when he’s approached by Charlize Theron’s new baddy, Cypher who has something that terrifies Dom so much that he turns on his team and becomes a bad guy who, in typical Fast & Furious fashion, cuts a swath across the globe in search of… well, that would be telling.
On the way it turns out that the team needs to team up with Deckard Shaw (Statham), the villain from the last movie and one of the only people in the world who can find Torreto, however, given that he killed Han, one of the team in the last movie, there is a lot of discomfort among the gang who are now searching for for their once and former friend and leader.
And that’s the plot. Basically.
Fast 8 manages to do something that constantly surprises us, the audience, it tops all that went before and in glorious fashion – Fast 6 had cars vs a plane? This one has cars v a submarine. And here’s the thing, once again it is clear that this is no longer a racing car franchise… this is a superhero franchise where the heroes don’t wear capes but drive cars.
If – and it’s a big if – the events in this movie DID manage to happen then the death toll would be catastrophic, however, in the world of Fast & Furious, like Avengers and similar franchises, it seems that almost everyone involved has a lucky escape.
And that brings us to the other new addition to the franchise, director of Straight Outta Compton, F Gary Gray who does a pretty solid job here, especially in the action scenes, creating chaos in a prison, on the streets of New York, in a submarine station and more. Each scene is choreographed spectacularly and, depite all the chaos unfolding, they are clear and it’s easy to keep up with what is happening (we’re looking at you Michael Bay).
However, the characters – old and new – are pretty flimsy here. Three to six’s director Justin Lin managed to make the characters real and interesting, creating characters who, despite the crazy theatrics and pyrotechnics, are real and we do care about them, but in this outing they are mere caricatures of themselves (especially Roman, played by Tyrese Gibson whose sole purpose is to say silly things and be comic relief here). This isn’t necessarily the fault of Gray’s direction but more likely that of longtime FF writer Chris Morgan.
That said, at this point we know these characters and it could be argued that we aren’t here for development.
And what of Paul Walker’s sad absence? Well, in fairness, with the addition of Jason Statham and Scott Eastwood, Walker’s absence isn’t really felt – although it is of course noticeable and addressed here.
Oh and if you felt that Jason Statham was under utilised in the last movie (didn’t we all?) then fear not, because he really stands out in this one.
Overall, Fast 8 is exactly what you expect and/or want. Is it dumb? Yes. Is it silly? Yes. But it’s also a welcome addition to the fast & furious franchise, delivering great action, new characters, a couple of fun twists and proof that, with eight movies under its belt, this is one franchise that is completely at ease with itself and fully self aware and so long as it stays that way we’ll keep going and loving them.
You’re either a fan or you’re not.
As a fan, I give this outing
4 out of 5 fast and furious Nerds