Blood is thicker than Diesel.
All work and no play makes bob-the-movie-man a tardy reviewer. Still, what better way to break the fast than with “Fast and Furious 8” (aka “The Fate of the Furious”)?
Well, quite a lot of things actually!
Now, I have a confession to make (and I know for some this will be the equivalent of an appalling statement like “I’ve never seen Star Wars”). I have actually never ever seen Fast and Furious 1 through 7! (If it’s any mitigation to this cinematic crime, I did see the F-and-F wannabe “Need for Speed“).
So I was going to be completely lost with the “plot” right? Well actually, no. It was pretty easy to jump in and follow as a piece of popcorn nonsense.
For nonsense it is (hence the “rabbit ears” round the word “plot” above). The story isn’t just a bit far-fetched. It’s bat-shit crazy where the bat in question has downed a questionable vindaloo two hours earlier!
Dom (Vin Diesel) has turned on his “family”, including his squeeze, the lovely Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, “San Andreas“), to team with the above-the-law (and above the clouds) cyber-super-terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron, “Mad Max: Fury Road“). They have teamed up, apparently, for no other reason than to allow Cipher to ‘kick some global ass’ with a nuclear threat. But given his caring and sharing side, why the sudden betrayal of his nearest and dearest by Dom?
Where do you begin with the nonsensical story? Jumping from Cuba (with some admittedly fun scenes, but shamelessly objectifying scantily-clad women) via Berlin and New York to the icy wastes of Siberia, it’s just an excuse to show fast cars doing ludicrously unlikely things. There is zero logic within any of the script. Here are just a handful of examples:
- the team know (through enormous jumps of speculation) to be present at a particular location in the world and at exactly the time that Dom is there (arrive, look through binoculars, “Oh, there he is”!);
- all cars can be automatically hijacked and remotely driven (who knew), but NOT those of the team (obviously);
- fast cars/tanks/etc can be magicked from New York to Siberia (wot, no Hertz Siberia available?);
- Russian nuclear codes are stolen, so obviously they can’t be changed?
- a nuclear submarine is out of the water on wooden blocks, but spin the propeller really REALLY fast and it can suddenly be sailing away.
I appreciate I am being enormously po-faced about this, and this is designed as pure escapism. But is there REALLY any need for this to be such mindless escapism? The director (Gary Gray, “The Italian Job”) and writer (Chris Morgan, responsible for parts 6 and 7) should credit their audience with rather more in the way of intelligence.
Diesel and Johnson are never going to set the acting ablaze, but Rodriquez (“Lost”) is as watchable as ever. Theron has fun with her villainy and the supporting turns by Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris are enjoyable. Nathalie Emmanuel though as Ramsey seems as uncomfortable with her “sexy English” stereotype as she should be.
Luke Evans (“The Hobbit“), Kurt Russell (“Deepwater Horizon“) and Helen Mirren (“Eye in the Sky“) turn up in entertaining but underused cameos, but it is Jason Statham as Deckard that has the most fun in the whole film, and his scenes – done largely for comic effect – are the best part of the movie. (But “math” Jason? “MATH”?? I hope your old maths teacher back in London doesn’t get to see this film).
If you’re willing to park your brain at the door for two hours then it has some fun moments. But I felt the damage to my IQ might not have been worth the risk, and this really didn’t fill my cinematic tank.
Fad Rating: FF.