Since the fifth instalment of Fast and Furious, the series has really come into its own by ditching the Point-Break-with-cars routine and exchanging for ridiculous stunts and cartoon characters. Anyone expecting high art from these films will be sorely disappointed; Fast and Furious 8 is no different, but that in no way stops it from being hugely enjoyable.
The film starts with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) enjoying his honeymoon in Cuba where he is recruited by the dreadlocked hacker Cypher (Charlize Theron) to betray his friends and embark on a worldwide rampage of villainy.
A film like this is difficult to review. Its appeal lies in its lack of sense, its glorious understanding of its own daftness. Every plus point would be a negative in any other film. To me, it was a return to form after the slight dip in quality in the seventh instalment, which I found overly long. I also missed the presence of Dwayne Johnson, who was absent for most of the film. This film, however, has righted at least one of those wrongs; The Rock is back to being the co-lead.
The cast, for the most part, is what truly elevates the film. Jason Statham is a charismatic and fun character who is key to two of the best action scenes in the film, one of which pits Statham against Johnson in prison whilst the other is a John Woo inspired gunfight on a plane. Charlize Theron is a fun baddie with glorious hair, and Kurt Russell and Helen Mirren have a whale of a time in their roles.
The film also boasts spectacular, well-shot and -choreographed action. The sequence in New York is one of the most exciting scenes in a film that I’ve seen in a long time. It’s ridiculous but it is hugely imaginative and thrilling. The hand-to-hand combat scenes are better than the vehicular battles for the most part, but the action in this film is of a very high quality regardless.
On the negative side, several of the actors let the side down. Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Scott Eastwood and Nathalie Emmanuel shouldn’t put this film on their show reels. In the previous films, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris have walked the fine line between annoyance and charm but sadly they fell into the former category in this episode.
However, I did have a blast in this film and enjoyed the bulk of it. The action is fun and flamboyant and this atmosphere seeps over into the performances of the majority if the actors. These films are not classics but they leave an impression, which is more than can be said for a lot of the recent blockbuster output. I will have the New York action scene in my brain alongside the safe dragging scene from Fast Five and the tank on the bridge from Fast 6. It’s easy to be cynical about these films, and I’m sure lots of critics are. I enjoy them, and that’s all that matters to me!
The Fate of the Furious is in cinemas across the UK now. Image source: Thisisinsider.com