Fast and Furious 8 is pure escapist lunacy that guarantees a big dumb but fun action movie, but this brain-dead installment betrays its own franchise.
Now that Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon and Brian and Mia have retired from the game—and the rest of the crew has been exonerated—the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman (Charlize Theron) seduces Dom into the world of crime he can’t seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before.
Another year and another Fast and Furious movie.
Fast and Furious 8 or The Fate of the Furious, delivers exactly what the audiences want and more. Apart from the ridiculous car chase sequences that you’ve probably already seen from the trailers, it offers nearly everything including fistfights, shootouts, and cyberterrorism. In one scene reminiscent of Statham’s Crank, Deckard shoots several henchmen in a plane while carrying the movie’s adorable McGuffin.
The new additions to the “family” Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham brought in a new brand of action that’s serves as a refreshing break from the in-car sequences. Their one liners and hands-on brand of action mixes things up. Casting Helen Mirren is an amusing touch and Charlize Theron is a smart choice for a cybervillain.
While the spectacle undoubtedly works, this 8th installment betrays its own franchise.
Fast and Furious managed to be distinct because it combined gear head culture with camaraderie in its own unapologetic B-movie way. FF8 tosses the franchises’ core theme of loyalty above the law for a generic action thriller – our hero is forced to go back to the dark side because of a villain with vague motivations for world domination.
Additionally, the previous movies made some effort in developing its characters and dynamics, but this installment uses the word “family” as a crutch to connect its cartoonish action sequences with the plot.
Granted this is FF8, a movie where luxury cars are not only fireproof but also explosive-deterrent, but they should have given the regular cast other things to do beyond their one-note roles. More so for the villain who spent all her time barking orders in front of a screen. How can you have Imperator Furiosa and not have her behind the wheel?
As a cybervillain Cipher added some globetrotting element to the vapor thin plot, but the destinations here are used to appeal to the international audience, rather than locations that can add to the action. It doesn’t help that FF8 doesn’t seem to know what its supposed to be – a thriller, a buddy action comedy, or a Swordfish spin-off?
In the end, all you’ll wonder about is how they’re going to top the ridiculousness of this one or when is this franchise going to end.
F. Gary Gray works as a director for hire here and for audiences who just want dumb fun (and don’t care what this franchise is about), he delivers. FF8 is a sure fire hit and no review will likely influence its predetermined path in the box office. However its worth noting that The Fate of the Furious could possibly indicate the fate of the franchise as well. It seems that Brian had not only rode towards the sunset but also took with him the spirit of Fast and Furious.
My Rating: 6/10