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.
Dude, this guy spent the entirety of the last film trying to kill you and everyone you cared about!!
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.
Keeping up with Anime April’s theme The Case of Hannah and Alice.
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.
Calvin – Nerd Consultant
Share This Post: