Fast And Furious 8 – Review


“FAST AND FURIOUS 8”

Eight, seriously, eight, they made eight of these! It’s not as if this is a long saga that requires tons of movies to tell the story. The original was just an LA based thriller that happened to have a street racing angle, which the series has moved far away from in recent sequels in the desperate attempt to keep the franchise going. Now, I was relatively kind to Fast and Furious 7 when I reviewed it, but I am going to be a little less kind to this one, this time. I am really starting to feel the pain of how many of these movies there have been. Even the trailers look like they are getting a bit desperate for reasons to have a sequel.

It’s got to such a stage that they are not even being numbered in America any more. In America, it’s called the Fate of the Furious, as if they are ashamed that they have made as many movies as they had. I outlined most of my issues with the franchise in Fast and Furious 7, but make no mistake, I am going to do my best not to repeat all the negatives I had with that movie. However, I can’t make any promises because this franchise really doesn’t seem to want to drift away from the recent trend that it seems to be moving towards, which is not one that I am enjoying. We also have had a change of director, once again, this film has been directed by F Gary Gray, who has directed at least one film that I absolutely loved, the previously reviewed ‘Straight Outta Compton’, but then again you have to remember that he directed the terrible Gerrard Butler action film ‘Law Abiding Citizen’, the awful John Travolta vehicle, ‘Be Cool’ and the abysmal ‘Italian Job’ re-make. Which is rather fitting, because it seems that since the fifth movie the franchise has been taking a lot of influence from the Italian Job re-make, so, in that sense, he is probably the right person for the project. The screenplay has been written by Chris Morgan, who has written all the films since the third movie, so that doesn’t inspire any confidence in the amount of possible change, though I would pay attention to it because he is also writing the screenplay for the next adaptations of Conan The Barbarian and Gears of War. So, if he is doing bad writing here, what chance have those movies got. Not to mention that he wrote the screenplay for the rather disappointing 47 Ronin.

So, has this franchise changed in any way and did this film deserve its, admittedly rather strong initial Rotten Tomato’s score, let’s make a car related pun and find out!!

Fast and Furious 8 takes place shortly after the events of 7. Dom (played by Vin Diesel) goes rogue and botches the mission for the group, turning to the side of the rogue hacker Cipher (played by Charlize Theron). Now Mr Nobody (played by Kurt Russell) assembles a new team, including Hobbs (played by Dwayne Johnson), Letty (played by Michelle Rodriguez), Roman (played by Tyrese Gibson), Ramsey (played by Nathalie Emmanuel), Little Nobody (played by Scott Eastwood) and Deckard (played by Jason Statham). Now the mission is on to find out why Dom has gone rogue and put a stop to Cipher’s plans which could have a devastating effect on the globe, as a whole.

The Fast and Furious franchise has gone as far from its source as it possibly can and this film, in particular, seems to be the final nail in the coffin for anyone hoping that it would go back to its roots. There is only one street race in the film, which takes place in Havana at the beginning of the movie, there are no other street races for the entire film. Granted, it’s a brilliant scene and my favourite scene in the entire movie, since it had a lot of what made me like the first three films, however, that is probably the only positive that you are going to hear from me for a while, because this film was an absolute joke!!! WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN!!! You could probably look at my Fast and Furious 7 review because virtually everything I disliked about that film is still here. The characters are nothing interesting, they are just caricatures. I’ve gotten to the stage where I don’t even remember the names of the characters. I look at the screen and see Vin Diesel, The Rock and Michelle Rodriguez. Now obviously, Paul Walker is no longer with us, so Scott Eastwood has been clearly put in to take his place, but he is a dull character. He starts off as “neurotic by the book man”, which was really annoying and by the time he does receive his turn and really gets into the fold, it’s incredibly unconvincing. He is not the weakest part of the film, however, the weakest part is Jason Statham. His character’s inclusion is the biggest 180 I have ever seen in a character from a long running film series in my life. There is absolutely no progression in his turn to the good side and everyone accepts him really quickly.
Dude, this guy spent the entirety of the last film trying to kill you and everyone you cared about!!
Not to mention, Statham gets barely anything to do until the climax, and unlike the last film, he feels a lot more out of place this time. Most of the group, in fact, feel out of place, this is very much, a Michelle Rodriguez, Vin Diesel and The Rock show, as they are doing the most. Ramsey, for example, is not really much use until the climax in Russia and many other members feel like they are entirely pointless there. I was also surprised to find that Paul Walker’s character Brian has not been killed off between films. I assumed that was the route they were going down especially considering that Jordana Brewster, is not in this film, which largely means that her career is now dead, because this was the only franchise she had going for her, but it is frankly astonishing that they chose not to kill off his character. They get a brief mention by the mid-point of the film and there is a particular scene at the end, which would have been an impactful moment had his character been killed off to celebrate the actor, that is completely wasted by this fact. It frankly feels distasteful. Not to mention that Charlize Theron is one of the most ineffective villains in the franchise to date, she barely does anything. All the villains at least used some vehicles of some sort, it’s a Fast and Furious film.

Charlize Theron, never steps behind a vehicle, she is basically a bond villain and this is done as a way to seem “edgy”. Frankly this whole thing feels like it’s trying to mould itself into an edgier James Bond, which was a similar thing to the recent xXx sequel, which, as I commented in my review of it, was leaning very heavily to the Fast and Furious franchise and the Deja vu is felt even more here. Charlize Theron’s villain is dull as hell, especially considering her minions and more importantly Dom does much more of the action. Granted, many people have gone into it wanting to see Dom going rogue, and that part is actually quite good, we see what happens when this guy, who seems to take on impossible challenges, goes to the dark side and frankly, it’s rather effective. It just doesn’t really work in its entirety, because, if resolved, it detracts from the main villain, which as a result, also detracts from the climax, and, my god, these films are still really stupid. There was some stupid stuff in the last film, but this one I think, is even worse.

It’s frankly astounding some of the things they are expecting you to buy with this film. The is suspension of disbelief and there is insulting my intelligence!!! There is a scene where a character picks up a torpedo and throws it at another car, YOU CANNOT DO THAT!! Also, there is another scene, in New York, where several automated cars are being controlled to take down a limousine with a Russian politician. One, this technology is not nearly as prevalent as this film makes out and two, you would not be able to control all those cars at once, no matter what computer system is in place, I don’t care who you are, that is stupid! That’s only the tip of the iceberg, it also makes me feel upset that there is way more reliance on CGI this time than practical effects, especially considering how some of the practical effects have been fantastic in previous films.

Ok, where is the positive in this one, well for one thing, I actually liked the way they got Dom to go rogue, it’s not perfect and it’s kind of what you are expecting, but it at least makes a decent twist and colours the movie well, so I have to give kudos there. I also felt that the cinematography, when it was good, was very good, but as I said, most of the best points of this film are in the technical categories, because the characters are just not really that likeable anymore. They have become such cut outs that they are not interesting and there is no progression anymore. To such an extent that there are even cameos by several actors you would not believe would be in a film like this, which made me do a double take and adds very little to the final product. I use the word product quite aptly, because this thing feels like it has been put out to keep the money flow going and the actors are definitely in this, because, with the exception of Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron, this really is the only thing they have left. It’s kind of a mess, pure and simple, and more to the point, it’s become so predictable now, it’s DULL!! This whole thing is dull. I am so bored of these movies. If you have liked this franchise to date, there is something here for you, it’s just that I preferred the franchise when it was an LA based thriller that was about speed racing. This doesn’t work as a whole and I wish it did, ok, because this potentially could be amazing.

As for the actors, they’re not all that great either. Vin Diesel is doing his typical thing, playing Dom once again and I still really like The Rock as Hobbs, but that’s probably because he’s The Rock, he is one of the best character actors to date. Kurt Russell looks incredibly bored in this film and his Appearences are so sporadic that I wondered if he went back and forth between this and Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. Michelle Rodriguez has never been a great actress in my opinion and this role is one of the prime examples of why I thought that. Jason Statham is doing his typical performance and I do like Jason Statham, he is one of the last pure bred action stars around, and his scenes in the climax are some of the best in the entire movie. Scott Eastwood is trying his best to make something out of his performance but he feels very much out of place and very much like a Paul Walker stand-in. The rest of the cast are “just there”. Charlize Theron is trying her best to give a decent performance but the script fails her repeatedly and that’s all I’m really going to say on the actors, they’re not much to write home about.

As for the technical, well, it’s all pretty good. I have already mentioned about the cinematography and how it’s pretty good and how I don’t like the facts that there is more CGI and green screens being used, but some of the scenes are very well choreographed and I at least could tell what was going on. The editing, however, really varies. Some of the scenes are edited brilliantly, where others have terrible editing. I would also like to point out that the product placement in this film is atrocious. It’s not just for the car companies, Coca Cola get several scenes that look like they are actual adverts that have been commissioned. I will say, the cars all look good and I appreciate the various car companies donating them because they are excellent to watch, however all this doesn’t do much to save the movie. The effects are just very mixed and the same goes for the editing. It’s all a bit of a mixed bag and I don’t really have much more to add to it.

Fast and Furious 8 is very much what you would expect from the franchise at this point, it’s virtually the same movie that the last three films were, so if you liked them, you will like this one and if you are tired of them, like I am, you won’t get much out of it. The storyline doesn’t make much sense and is rather bland, I wasn’t a fan of the rampant amount of CGI and I felt the whole thing was rather lacking. I didn’t even mention about the rampant sexism that is still in this film, by the fact that the women seem to only exist to be ogled at. It’s not an atrocious film, there are too much technical things that it does right, but I am so bored of the franchise as a whole, and I want it to go away now. But, I don’t even get that wish, because movie 9 is already in production and the film ends with a plug for it!! I am sick of this franchise, but I know I am going to be reviewing number 9 two years from now!! I would recommend that if your cinema has a D Box feature to take advantage of it however, because I think this film suits that format.

Right, mini review time. I saw this film while I was in London for the Autism Uncut Awards, Free Fire.

Free Fire: If I can sum this up perfectly, is a one and a half hour gun fight. Now Free Fire, in a sense, sounds like it wouldn’t work. However, I’m surprised to say that it really does. The film’s 70’s aesthetic is great. I proper enjoyed it in that sense. There is not much plot to the film, it’s just a heist that goes wrong and we basically are living with the final scene from Reservoir Dogs for an hour and a half, but man, is it brilliantly choreographed. The director has used Minecraft to map the sets perfectly so they would know where all the actors were meant to be and it really pays off, because it is choreographed brilliantly. This has been one of the best action scenes I have seen for a while because it works brilliantly and the actors are having a ball with these performances. There is not much plot to it, however, and I think it will lose a few people, but if you are inclined to these sort of movies and love 70’s gangster and 70’s exploitation films, this would be one for you. I would give it a watch.

Keeping up with Anime April’s theme The Case of Hannah and Alice.

The Case of Hannah and Alice: It’s ok. Don’t get me wrong, it has a lot to like about it, but I didn’t feel that this film was amazing per se. It’s a pretty decent flick and I may even watch it again, but the thing that really bugged me was the 3D animation. It’s not brilliant and the environments don’t blend well with the characters, which really took me out of it, which is a shame, because the plot is actually quite good. It’s available on DVD and Blu Ray, and if you are an Anime fan and aren’t that bothered by 3D Anime, then I would recommend checking it out.
So, that’s my thoughts on these three films. Leave something in the comments section if you have an opinion on any of these films and I will get back to a main Anime review for next time.
Come back next week where I give my thoughts on the latest entry in the Sword Art franchise, Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale.
 
Thanks a lot for reading my review. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it and if there is one thing we can take away from this, it is that the most immortal thing is the world is clearly the Fast and Furious franchise because it refuses to die!!

Calvin – Nerd Consultant


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Posted in Film Society
One comment on “Fast And Furious 8 – Review
  1. ronnie says:

    Enjoyed the first few minutes of the film when they were in Cuba. It was good seeing the old Cars from the 1950’s.
    However the film became tedious when they went to the U S A.

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