Nonsense-packed, turbo-charged mayhem.
It’s been 16 years since the street-racing saga turned blockbusting mega-action franchise began. From a seemingly down-to-earth, raw beginning, in recent years we’ve seen the series develop into craziness such as driving a sports car through three buildings hundreds of metres in the air. The series suffered a tragic loss in 2013 when its main star, Paul Walker, died in a car crash. If the seventh instalment was a fitting tribute to the actor, the eighth is an assurance they aren’t anywhere near done yet.
When Dom (Vin Diesel) is blackmailed by a shadowy cyber-villain (Charlize Theron) and goes against his team, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) must assemble to squad to help get him back before the world descends into chaos, also enlisting the help of former foe Deckard (Jason Statham).
Straight off the bat, Fast and Furious 8 is absolutely ridiculous. We begin in Cuba, with Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) enjoying their honeymoon, before involving themselves in a series-typical clash-turned-race against the odds. This culminates in a turbo-charged finish, complemented by a an explosion – not to mention the slo-mo bikini shots of girls. And the funny thing is, this is Fast 8 at its lowest tempo.
New director Gray doesn’t quite travel the globe to the extent of the previous entry, but makes up for it with enough beyond-belief chaos scene-by-scene. The film does get into a habit of the team looking at computers, diving into action, back to computers etc etc. These scenes are a bit dull – with the exception of Roman’s (Tyrese Gibson) relentless comedic appeal. But the action itself will make you laugh in disbelief, but put the widest grin on all your faces.
Thousands of cars being hacked in New York that are turned into what is essentially a herd of bulls? You’ve got it. Cars falling from the sky like hail? Got that too. A submarine car chase with tanks and Lamborghinis? Surprise, that’s here. It’s outlandishly unjustified, but nevertheless welcomed considering how much the film plays off against its own silliness, also thanks to charming turns from Kurt Russell as the ominous, likeable Mr Nobody, Statham and Johnson.
Although we don’t see Johnson ‘Rock-Bottom’ Statham this time round (one of the series’ greatest moments if you haven’t seen), their undeniable tenacity could fill a spin-off on it’s own. Seemingly always throwing insults at each other – Johnson telling his British counterpart to brush his teeth through his arse is a topper – the pair are clearly lapping it up. Also, they’re both certified hard nuts. The Rock dominates with the People’s Elbow, and the film’s best sequence comes in the form of a John Woo inspired plane fight featuring Statham, reminding us why we all love (or loved) him back in the Transporter days.
Whilst the chaos is the film’s high, Dom’s storyline drags it down. Deprived from any fun, its seriousness – and it does get quite dark – doesn’t contrast with the fun well enough. Theron is a formidable villain, but her screen time is simply postponing what we’re gunning for; scenes like The Rock pushing away a torpedo with his hands. That being said, it’s one of the few downfalls (a huge reliance on a rather poor green-screen is insultingly obvious at times) in a explosive adventure. Diesel still has some fun of course, such as exchanging in a cheeky tet-a-tet with Dame Hellen Mirren. It may all reek of cheese, but it knows it, embraces it, and turns up the Nos. Some franchises deserve to die; this one doesn’t.
To sum it up…
Without a doubt the most ridiculous entry yet, but arguably the funnest. With the world the way it is right now, we all need a little careless craziness – Fast and Furious 8 delivers a tank load.
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Author: Cameron Frew