Director: F. Gary Gray
Whilst on honeymoon with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is approached by Cipher (Charlize Theron) who suggests to Dom that it is in his best interests to work for her. Shortly afterwards Dom receives a call from Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) calling the team in for another mission to recover an EMP. After a seemingly successful mission Dom then turns on the team, Hobbs is arrested after informing the escaped team members that “Dominic Toretto just went rogue.” Having turned the EMP over to Cipher, Dom then continues to cause chaos alongside Cipher and mostly at his former crew’s cost.
This is the eighth in a franchise of movies that shows no sign of applying the brakes any time soon. In that regard, I’m just going to pick out the new and the changed characters. If you’re reading this review then you will already be fully familiar with all the returning cast members. So the key character change is in Vin Diesel‘s Toretto. There was always been a rogue element to Dom as we should always consider his history before teaming up with Hobbs and company. With that in mind Diesel just applies a more apparently ruthless streak to Dom. despite his changed allegiances it’s clear that there’s more behind what he’s doing than is initially presented. From the new additions it was Charlize Theron that really stood out as the tech terrorist Cipher. She revels in this role despite being a little under used. A sadistic and determined woman of incredible resources she proves to be quite the match for our furious team. Dom is not the only character to switch sides, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham; our villain from Fast 7) is conscripted to work alongside Hobbs and the team to bring in Dom and Cipher having already had dealings with both. This provides Statham and Johnson some good opportunities to antagonise each other in completely over the top displays of testosterone fuelled exchanges. Statham isn’t the greatest actor but this is the sort of role he can do in his sleep and this is a welcome return and a smart piece of recruitment by Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell). Whether Mr Nobody’s other piece of recruitment proves to be a successful remains to be seen with his addition of “Little Nobody” (Scott Eastwood), or as I like to call him; “New Brian”. He’s a little wishy-washy to start with but soon learns the eccentricities required to be part of the team. Whether he has been brought in to fill the void left by the late Paul Walker is probably not something that has been readily mentioned but in my opinion that’s the idea and whether he’s up to the task is a completely different conversation altogether.
This franchise has been in circulation for long enough now to know that you don’t change a formula that keeps putting backsides on seats at the multiplex. The eighth installment does not break with that tradition. It maintains the trademark set pieces and they are no less spectacular than previous films. In some sequences they are bigger and better but in others they’re a little ludicrous (no pun intended) but the action comes thick and fast as you would expect. In terms of how the actual story pans out is a little sketchy and leaves a few questions which I will pick up in the spoiler section. It’s Fast and Furious movie and it does what it says on the tin, so in that respect its a decent chapter in the series.
The verdict: 3/5 Stars: Car chases and submarines, betrayal and destruction Fast 8 has this in spades.
Spoiler section: Read at your own discretion.
Luke Evans also returns as Owen Shaw from Fast 6. Alongside his brother Deckard and also their Mother, the newly introduced Helen Mirren. This turns out to be quite the comical combination as Mirren turns in what I felt to be an amusing take on Barbara Windsor’s Peggy Mitchell with her two boys. But given that Deckard murdered Han at the end on Tokyo Drift and Shaw’s corruption of Letty it’s a little hard to accept that they would so readily work with Hobbs and the team and also collude with Toretto to turn the tables on Cipher. Perhaps this element will be revisited in any further instalments.