We’ve had cars driving in and out of planes, over mountains and onto clifftops and now we have them skidding on ice trying to evade submarines… Yes, you read that last line right. F. Gary Gray’s directorial shot at Fast and Furious 8 takes the franchise to a whole new level and we’re loving it.
The film shoots over four locations: Cuba, Germany, New York and Russia. Each location holds a new challenge for Dominic Toretto and the team, however in this instalment the challenge is Toretto (Vin Diesel) himself and cyber villain Cipher (Charlize Theron). Cipher uses her expert knowledge to force Dom’s co-operation with her tasks, some of these include stealing nuclear codes, launch chips and even betraying his own team. Whilst this might seem absurd to an audience that has been with this franchise since the beginning, a reasonable excuse is given and one that actually seems plausible (Hint: it has nothing to do with Paul Walker’s Brian).
Whilst some of the scenes seem visually crazy such as the thousands of cars in New York City that are hacked by Cipher and forced to drive around the city, it makes for an incredibly tense and entertaining set piece that keeps the viewer thrilled and the audience expectant. Charlize Theron’s Cipher is by far the standout of this film, of course an Academy Award winning actress will do that. However, her unique brand of villainy in this film is not one of malice or desperation but more of a twisted sense of morality and duty, this is definitely a woman with a power complex. She is not quite as angry and cruel as her Evil Queen character in Snow White and The Huntsman but she holds enough nastiness to pass for a villain that we won’t root for.
One of the standout scenes in the film is a prison fight sequence involving Hobbes (The Rock) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). The two throw witty insults at each other in an attempt to rouse the other, this actually results in an unlikely friendship and Deckard flirting between being a hero and a villain. An unlikely ally that we have seen before in Fast 6 comes along towards the end of the film to help as well; three guesses for who this is.
Overall, without detailing every explosive action piece and character development, we can preface this: This film is bananas. Seriously. It steps it up 3 notches from Furious 7 which for me had an empty feeling to it and presents us with a no holds bar action flick that throws reality right out of the window (A Lamborghini on ice? I don’t think so). Although these films are increasingly becoming more like Mission Impossible segments, the films still contain plenty of cars, racing and family to satisfy. And for those who are still not swayed, simply watch it for The Rock being an absolute beast.
7/10 – There’s still a lot of fuel in this franchise.