Here we go again, the 8th installment of the franchise and with two more releases allegedly set for release in 2019 and 2020 I do wonder how many more arrangements they can make of the words ‘Fast’ and ‘Furious’ that still work as an effective title.
Fast and Furious possibly sums up this chapter in the series more aptly than any other. Fast because the film really does go at an extraordinary pace (with the exception of the director’s irritating dedication to Burnout Paradise-style slow motion shots of nearly every stunt). Furious because of the anger it generates within you as it tries to sell you on Vin Diesel winning a race in reverse gear whilst the car is on fire without even trying to ease you back in after an emotional end to Furious 7.
Fate of the Furious is the first film – excluding Tokyo Drift – not to contain our favourite petrol head Brian O’Connor due to the tragic death of actor Paul Walker. In it, they take a new direction with the franchise as well; it feels like the third phase of the saga.
The first three are relatively low-budget projects focusing on the hot wheels style kit cars and street racing as a prominant factor. The next few films – from fast and furious to furious 7 – I refer to as ‘Oceans 11 on Wheels and Steroids’ as they turned more into heist films with extravagant stunts in hypercars (see Vin Diesel jump a Lykan Hypersport between Dubai skyscrapers in Furious 7) whilst continuing to add big names into the already star-studded cast. This, however, feels like the start of a new style; a younger and sexier version of the Expendables.
Fate of the Furious, turned into Grate of the Furious the amount of cheese that spilled from the lips of the stars from the word go. As with Expendables 3, it turned into a catchphrase form of verbal diahorrea between the Rock, Diesel and Statham. The stunts are even more explosive and Ludacris with the Lykan long jumps appearing more realistic as the series continues.
The new additions don’t add an awful lot for me. Scott Eastwood is introduced as an annoying airhead there to be Tyrese’s verbal punchbag and to allow Kurt Russell’s agent to charge for more lines in the film. Charlize Theron’s Cipher character certainly has grit and the potential to be a good villain but the film makes little effort to create much of a back story other than to link her to previous events in 6 and 7; I still have no idea why she’s so desperate to destroy the world.
To be clear, you don’t pay the entrance fee for a Fast and Furious film to be wowed by an indepth plot; you go for beautiful cars and a testosterone, action filed manfest film. You go for fast and I imagine furious entertainment and if that’s what you like you will enjoy this film.
It is my opinion however that this was by far the weakest of the entire franchise. It tries to be clever with its plot but the timelines don’t match up and rather than throw in the odd cheeky stunt to insult your intelligence it turns into a video game for the entirety of the running time. I welcome the conversion of Deckard Shaw from villain to hero in WWE style storyline because I think Statham absolutely steals the show in this film; his scene on a plane with a baby carrier rivals Colin Firth in the church from Kingsmen as my favourite in recent years. Helen Mirren appearing as his stereotypical British mum – if you’re British like myself you’ll know what I mean – was also amazing although I think she attended the same Cockney accent classes as Charlie Hunnam.
Overall, I was entertained by the film and I’ll remain invested for any future planned films in the series because it has basically become Hollywood’s Top Gear/Grand Tour and I’m loyal to a fault when it comes to Jason Statham/Dwayne Johnson. It’s not as good as prior projects in the franchise but I’m down for the long haul to see where this change in direction takes us.
Whether it’s petrol powered or Diesel powered, as long as it’s fast I wont be furious!