Director: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Christopher "Ludacris" Bridges, Michelle Rodriguez, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Helen Mirren, Kristofer Hivju, Eden Estrella, Don Omar, Tego Calderon, Oleg Prudius, Scott Eastwood.
Or Fate of the Furious? I see what they did there, eight of the Furious? No? Just me then. The titles do seem to suffer from identity crisis. I think the final film should be coined "The Last and the Curious" with vicious rumours about La Familia heading out to space! I'm hoping they honour Paul Walker's wishes of it going back to street.
Gray famed for The Italian Job reboot, Friday, Be Cool and most recently Straight Outta Compton takes over from James Wan, who took over from Justin Lin; who I thought brought a lot of refreshing, innovative ideas to the Fast franchise, Lin being the director of four of the films. But Gray does a fine job of staying in the same lane in terms of style which includes the ridiculous action and stunt sequences.
Mentioning the action, it has to be said, it's great to see they are making use of Statham's ability to perform in Monk mode, especially his creative baby rescue that reminded me of Chow Yun-Fat in Hard Boiled and made me think they should reboot Passenger 57. It is again, far fetched, over-exaggerated action that has little if any sense making the plot rather flawed.
As the trailers suggest, Dom goes rogue, but everyone who knows Dom like we do, there has to be a damn good, or bad reason behind it. That reason being Cipher, Theron's ultra-bitch of a cyber-criminal bent on, I think, world domination? It's interesting that she quote Dom from the very first film regarding his code. "I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those ten seconds or less, I'm free." Which does put Dom's perspective on a slant.
So, let's go in reverse for a moment and recap what has gone on before. Brian goes undercover to bust Dom and gang, let's them get away. Goes on the run himself for insubordination, hooks up with Roman and Tej to bust drug lord. Reinstated as cop again, crosses paths with Dom when Letty mysteriously dies. Dom is busted, Brian and fam bust Dom out to then team up with rest of familia to rob a drug lord where Hobbs is on their tail to bust them. Does so but then let's them go after some unexpected heroics. Honourable thing to do. Hobbs catches up with them, recruits them to catch Shaw. They catch Shaw. Han drifts to Tokyo. Shaw's brother, the other Shaw, busts up Hobbs, kills Han, and blows up the Toretto home. (Remember that.) Nobody recruits Dom and Fam to catch Shaw, they catch him and put him in prison. Now, Dom, who apparently works for no one (or is that Nobody?) ends up working for Cipher against his own team. And then this film really makes a mess of the allegiances and enemies making everyone play happy families whilst making Cipher the ultimate boss responsible for everything.
The film tries hard to hold it together but adding Scott Eastwood's character and keeping Nathalie Emmanuel's Ramsey does very little and both seem totally pointless being there. It's shamefully predictable with scenes giving away too much, but when thinking about those scenes belonging on the cutting room floor, they're unfortunately necessary for the silly plot to make some sense.
So with this being the eighth and with my recent rewind reviews we can safely pick out the elements that make up a Fast and Furious film.
Rapper among the cast: ✔️
Insane over-the-top stunts: ✔️
Iconic modified car candy: ✔️
Bass pumping soundtrack: ....
Ice cold Coronas: I may have miss them! Are they at the rooftop garden party?
They've dumbed down the soundtrack, no anthem, signature track and if there is one, it's not breaking any charts or making much noise. But Tyler keeps up with his score, having composed the music for five of the eight films now, he's fast becoming one of the busiest composers in Hollywood if he isn't already.
It's interesting to read up on the opening weekend Box Office figures when compared to the previous films. This one unsurprisingly not beating number 7, actually taking a third less at its opening weekend.
The Fast and the Furious: $40m
2 Fast 2 Furious: $50m
Tokyo Drift: $24m
Fast & Furious: $71m
Fast & Furious 5: $86m
Fast & Furious 6: $97m
Fast & Furious 7: $147m
Fast & Furious 8: $99m
But you know what, it's great fun. It's like Transformers meets G.I.Joe and mashed with Fast and Furious. Only the cars don't transform of course... yet. (Fancy that, a Fast and Transformer crossover, certainly adds a new dimension to Dom's "not what's under the hood, but the driver behind the wheel" quote.
Sadly it looks like this is Johnson's exit, declining his job offer from Mr. Nobody. I can't stopping thinking some key characters want to exit, or not seem too bothered by having their characters killed off or retiring whereas there's possibly a queue of stars that would love to join the franchise, Dame Helen Mirren as an example, taking an uncredited role.
There's a big question going round whether people should watch it or not, and as I seldom never tell people to not watch something, it's a film for the fans, yet some, like myself might be getting tired of the ridiculous and there's a big part of me wanting the story to return to streets. They've all come a long way from boosting trucks and being small time crooks to now defeating international war criminals. I wonder if Lucas Black's Sean Boswell is going to go after Deckard Shaw to avenge Han's murder. He's properly a samurai-Mr. Miyagi-master by now who could match Statham's SAS training. We can only wait and see what the next two films have in store.
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 7
The Extra Bonus Point: 0
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: To complete the set, yes.