Fast and Furious 8 12A
In a cinema near you:
When a mysterious woman (Charlize Theron) blackmails Dom (Vin Diesel) into her service and forces him betray those closest to him, the crew must join together to take him down and stop worldwide chaos.
When you sit down to watch a Fast and Furious film, you know what you're signing up for. It's going to be loud, it's going to be stupid, it's going to feature cheesy one-liners and there'll be cars and explosions galore. That's all, more or less, a given with the name. You're not expecting Sorkin-esque dialogue, it's not going to look like a Douglas Sirk film, it's not going to challenge your perception of reality - it's a dumb blockbuster that's just fun and easy to watch. Fast and Furious 8 is a dumb blockbuster, but this particular outing feels aggressively stupid but, if you can get past that, you'll enjoy it.
The plot really isn't worth talking about, but basically involves Charlize Theron - with dreadlocks - blackmailing Vin Diesel into her service so she can start World War III. Or something. Because this is the Fast and Furi-verse, she's a hacker who can make cars defy the laws of physics and even turn cars into zombies to do her bidding. Really. Things go bad for the rest of the team, with Dwayne Johnson ending up prison - beside Jason Statham, previous villain, no less. Before long, Kurt Russell and Clint Eastwood's son intervenes and sends them off to battle.
There are so many points in the film that you'll either snap and reject the outright stupidity or you'll clap and go along with it. The screenplay doesn't hold much water and with the slightest bit of examination, you'll eventually start to pull it apart and find that it makes no sense whatsoever. Characters from the previous films are roped in with thin explanations and one cameo in particular feels like it was written on the back of a tissue that also featured a sum of money with a lot of zeroes. Again, it's all fun if you can get on board with it, but the fact remains that this is the weakest film in the series since Fast Five.
F. Gary Gray, who's more of a journeyman director, doesn't give the film any kind of spice or flourish. Compared to James Wan and Justin Lin's efforts, Gray pushes the series more into a cartoon than anything and shoddy CGI - especially in the zombie-car sequence - makes it even more unrealistic. Moreover, the film pumps the brakes every fifteen minutes or so and tries to make us care about Vin Diesel's character, but all it does is highlight the terrible screenplay and remind us how bad an actor Vin Diesel is. It's in the action sequences where the film really lives, but some of them don't so much push the bounds of incredulity as it goes into the realm of sheer insanity. How insane? A bright-orange Lamborghini Murcielago is chased across an icy lake by a nuclear submarine that's being remote-controlled from an airplane fortress.
Despite all this, it is entertaining in parts and the sheer craziness of it all is compelling. You're never bored watching Fast and Furious 8 and it does exactly what it says out to do, but there's nowhere near as much style as there has been in previous entries to the franchise.
Here's hoping Fast and Furious 9 and 10 gets a better director and a screenplay that makes sense.
Review by Brian Lloyd | 16:21 | Wednesday 12th April 2017 | Movie Review