Ever seen a car redirect a missile into a nuclear submarine? Ever seen a man take down ten men while holding a baby? No? Well then, you’re in luck because Fast & Furious 8 delivers on both counts and many more as well. If you’ve always wanted to see Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jason Statham chew their way through an army of violent criminals and prison guards or even if you just wanted to see what Charlize Theron looks like with dreads, then this is the film for you.
Fast & Furious 8 takes place about a year after Furious 7 ended. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) are on their honeymoon in Havana, Cuba when Dom is approached by cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron). Cipher coerces Dom into turning against his family and working for her. From there, an international chase begins from Berlin to New York to Siberia.
The Fast and the Furious franchise is well known for its ludicrous premise, over the top stunts and melodrama. From Tokyo Drift’s epoch shattering excellence to Fast 5’s reinvention of the heist film and Fast and Furious’ attempt at melodrama all eight films share a commitment to speed, action, and family. Needless to say, Fast & Furious 8 doesn’t stray far. Dom and Letty’s romance remains one of the best love stories ever put to screen, Tej and Roman; Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson respectively, are two of the best comedy double acts to step in front of a camera and Luke Hobbs (The Rock) carries the film’s action scenes by virtue of being bigger than everyone else onscreen.
Speaking of action, a Fast & Furious film wouldn’t be complete without copious amounts of it. “La Familia”, as the crew have come to be known among the franchise’s super-fans, may be the beating heart but the series’ action scenes are the rippling, rock hard muscles surrounding this heart. It’s not a Fast & Furious film without gratuitous shots of women in short skirts, a Wiz Khalifa song on the credits and some combination of The Rock, Vin Diesel and now Jason Statham beating the holy shit out of an army of stuntmen. F. Gary Gray’s direction complements our enormous heroes triple figure body count.
There’s one particular shot that has been in constant use since Furious 7 hit theatres: The Rock suplexes some goon and the camera flips with them as the titanic strongman and his hapless victim smash onto a hard surface. Alongside this iconic piece of cinematography are the classic kinetic edits that make the film so visually arresting. Gears shift, tyres smoke and pedals push as Gray puts his audience in the passenger seat beside the protagonists. It is the feeling of closeness here that makes Fast & Furious 8 and all the epics that came before it so significant.
If you’ve been following these films, like I have, since their inception then you’ll know what it means to feel close to these characters. They may be superhuman figures but they are still human. After eight films the franchise doesn’t feel like it’s running out of steam it feels like its rocketing towards some incredible destination and we’re all along for the ride. What makes Fast & Furious 8 is its humbling reminder. When our heroes are brought low it only inspires us to be better, faster and furiouser. Andrew Carroll