19 April 2017 | PyroSikTh
Explosions? Check. Car chases? Check. Good fun? Check.
Fast and Furious 8, completely unsurprisingly, has a story that makes little sense, although it does try, bless it. Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon when a mysterious woman recruits and blackmails Dom into working for her, against his "family". His family, headed by Mr. Nobody and his new, young sidekick, spend most the movie attempting to track him down. This is where the nonsense comes in. Without Brian, and now without Dom, who's going to hold the masculinity of the group (it's obviously not going to be Roman of Tej, let's be honest)? Hobbs enjoys a nice promotion, but for the last hole they bring back Statham's Deckard Shaw, you know, the bad guy from the last movie, who killed a member of their "family" and tried to kill more of them, who they locked away in an inescapable cell several miles underground. Uh, good choice? I guess?
The reason for Dom's betrayal, I have to admit, is actually a pretty good one, although it opens up it's own kinds of problems pertaining to timelines. And despite suggestions from the trailers, Dom is absolutely a reluctant and conflicted accomplice. I feared a complete and utter character assassination, but they actually how manage to drag this premise out of their arse and make it believable. Talking of characters, barring Hobbs' and Deckard's eventually flourishing friendship, integrity's are largely kept intact. Roman and Tej are still the source of the most comic relief in one form or another, although I admit I'm starting to grow tired of Roman.
There's also a number of surprising little cameos from characters both old and new as well, and Cipher's whole plot extends back into a number of previous movies. They seem to put more thought into connectivity and continuity than they do the actual story, but as I really dig these kinds of displays of forward (or backward) thinking, I'm all for it. I got a massive kick out of those cameos and it absolutely enhanced my enjoyment, which was something I never expected to get out of this movie at all.
As is the trend of the franchise now, action sequences are more important than car chases. There's still a prominence of cars here, but they arguably take even more of a backseat than more recent entries. The days of street racing and car worship are long gone. Much of the technobabble doesn't even make sense for petrolheads; "His car must have over two thousand horsepower!" Really guys? There's is an impressive sequence about midway, in the middle of New York, but it's punctuated by a series of carjacks that don't make logical sense. I get Cipher is a good hacker, but how can her and her team of a few hack thousands of cars (that are turned off), and remotely drive them around the city?
That said, oh my god that scene was fun to watch. I don't think I've seen so much mangled metal in a movie before. It's just a sea of wreckage that turns downtown New York City into a junkyard. And this is the Fast and Furious franchise's secret; it takes things that make no logical or realistic sense, sticks a middle finger up, and just creates the most fun-to-watch sequences. Another particular highlight is watching Jason Statham take out an endless wave of bad guys while carrying a baby seat. The choreography is stylish and flashy, with spinning, twisting, flicking and throwing used to such flawless effect that the viewing experience is just, for lack of a better word, fun. Fast and Furious is pure entertainment.
Talking of Jason Statham, he's just hands down the most entertaining character in the whole movie, and Statham's performance is pure action movie gold. Vin Diesel ups his game a little, which is unsurprising considering the amount of screen time he shares with Charlize Theron, who seems to be having the time of her life. She really sticks her teeth into the role, creates one of the most compelling villains of the franchise, and appears to just have a lot of fun with it. Dwayne Johnson enjoys his promotion to second billing and makes sure to make the most of it, while seeing Helen Mirren in anything, no matter how brief, always makes for great viewing. Yeah, this movie doesn't even deserve awards nominations for it's acting, but everyone's on the same page in creating characters that are interesting and entertaining to watch, and no-one offers a performance so bad it becomes unwatchable.
I had no interest in Fast and Furious when it was announced, when the trailer debuted, or even when I got in the car to go and see it. I was bracing myself for just terrible leaps of logic after terrible leaps of logic. While I can't say the film didn't deliver on that, it also delivered pure, adrenaline-pumping entertainment. To some degree I hate saying this, but I also like to judge every movie on their own merits, so my word of advice is to check your brain in at the door. If you think about it too much, you'll just hate everything about this movie, but if you just sit back and enjoy the ride, it's got one hell of a ride to take you on, especially if you're already a fan of the franchise. I give Fast and Furious 8 an entertaining 7/10.