This review is spoiler FREE.
Directed by: F. Gary Gray.
Written by: Chris Morgan.
Runtime: 2 hours 16 minutes.
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron.
Fast & Furious 8, also known as The Fate of the Furious, is a 2017 action movie and the newest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise. It follows Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) who, while in Cuba with his wife Letty (played by Michelle Rodriguez), is coerced by Cipher (played by Charlize Theron) into working for her and turning against his team.
This installment feels like a Fast and Furious movie from the moment it starts, like with each new one it gets bigger and bigger. Right at the start, we’re thrown into well-lit, brightly coloured scenes set in Cuba. We’re treated to a street race which I won’t tell you too much about, but there are some awesome moments involving motorbikes and it’s, for the most part, different to any other race we’ve seen.
It’s there in Cuba that we meet Cipher for the first time. She is actually a really great villain. I would say she’s just a big as previous villains, but she’s definitely the most resilient they’ve come up against. She has a lot of skill that is primarily focused on her hacking abilities, but it’s all revealed at a good pace and in a way in which we can all understand it.
Pretty much from the start, we’re thrown into the action. There’s a lot of explosions in this movie and, of course, a lot of cars. In this particular installment, there’s also a lot of technology involved.
Sure, some of the action sequences/stunts are a little unbelievable like previous installments and you have to suspend your disbelief just a little on ocassion. However, the sequences are paced so well and move in such a way that they’re captivating and incredibly easy to watch, it really doesn’t matter if all of them are believable or not. The action never lasts too long either so there’s never fear of getting bored or wishing they would just get on with it. One good thing about a big cast is that they’re able to swap between characters during certain action scenes to keep it interesting. Other sequences change up because various new factors are introduced. There’s always something.
As well as it’s usual action, this particular installment was also really funny, unexpectedly so. Part of me wonders if it was deliberately done considering this was the first full movie they’ve had to make since Paul Walker died back in 2013 (most of Furious 7 had been filmed before he died). Either way, this movie was very much a laugh out loud kind of funny. Although some of the humour was a little cheesy, it was never awkward. Some of the humour came from quick one liners and others came from trash talk between several different characters. It was varied, and much like the action sequences, it never felt like too much.
Speaking of characters Fast & Furious 8 introduces another new character, Eric Reisner also known as Little Nobody played by Scott Eastwood. He’s a law enforcement agent working underneath Mr Nobody (played by Kurt Russell). Little Nobody is fairly easy to watch, but not quick to like in my opinion, although that seems to be the intention. His first scene which involved Mr Nobody and Luke Hobbs was hilarious and a great way to bring him into the movie. Throughout we see he is capable of working on the team (he’s trained with guns, he can drive, etc), but he’s not perfect. He makes a couple of different mistakes and I appreciate that. By the end of the movie I definitely started to like him more and more.
There’s really only one complaint I have about this movie. I can’t say anything without spoiling it, but it involves Elena. I just feel like there could have been more there, but other than that I have no complaints about this movie. It’s filled with well-paced action scenes, genuinely funny moments, and is just captivating overall.
Is this movie a little silly in places and over the top? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. I remember hearing rumours about the fourth movie and then it got confirmed and now here we are on the eighth movie. It’s unbelievable. They’re good at what they do and this installment is no different.
WARNING: spoilers below.
The thing I didn’t like involving Elena was how all she seemed to be was a hostage. I get why she was chosen, she’s really the only one that made sense, but I didn’t really like that that was all she was. Even when she’s killed, it’s off screen. In a way, I’m glad because at least it didn’t glorify her death in any way, and it didn’t focus too heavily on Dom’s man pain either, but her being killed off screen also made it seem like she wasn’t important at all. The thing I keep telling myself is that at least being killed off screen means they can take it back in a later installment (although I doubt they will). I just feel like they could have done more with her whether she died or not.
I do love the addition of baby Toretto! I’d heard rumours there was going to be a baby but with no idea of how or why. I love that it didn’t involve Dom cheating and I love even more how accepting Letty was, which makes sense, not because Dom means so much to her, but because their family has always been a group of people who aren’t related. I don’t think (at least I hope) that Letty would try to take Elena’s place as baby Brian’s mother but I know for a fact that Letty will love, care for, and protect baby Brian like her own.
Speaking of family there were a few callbacks to the first movie, the two that I can remember clearly are: 1) the scene where Dom lifts Letty up (right before you see them in bed) was very much like the scene between the two of them in the garage during the first movie, and 2) The moment where Cipher talks about the one thing Dom desires (I forget the exact words) and she talks about those ten seconds, was basically a version of this quote from the first movie: “I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those ten seconds or less, I’m free.”
There’s also talk of respect from Dom and how it doesn’t matter about the car, but who is behind the wheel. This is the kind of talk we saw a lot of during the first movie.
Backtracking slightly, one other thing that would have been a big issue for me is the ‘death’ of Deckard Shaw which really felt like a wasted opportunity, but if you’ve seen the movie you know that he doesn’t die which was a saving grace. I loved that Helen Mirren turned out to be his mother and the way she fake cried to get him to work with Owen, speaking of which, that was the best surprise ever! On the plane where we see that not only is Deckard still alive, but that Owen Shaw is there with him too, was a wonderful moment. Earlier in the movie when it focused on the screen displaying Owen’s details I wondered if he would be in it. If you pay attention to those details it says he’s in custody, then when the explosions go off his picture is still visible, and there’s a moment where Dom looks at it. All of which makes sense once you’ve seen the whole movie and find that Owen is involved.
It was also nice to see Leo (played by Tego Calderon) and Santos (played by Don Omar) again. I recognised their names in the opening credits so it wasn’t really a surprise but it was awesome nonetheless.
That scene on the plane with Deckard and baby Brian was probably my favourite scene in the whole movie. It was funny from start to finish and I appreciate that they did an intriguing sequence that fully incorporated the baby but was also realistic.
Some other things:
- Controlling the cars in New York through hacking was really great. The bit where they all came around the corner at the same time was really satisfying to watch.
- Another scene that was satisfying to watch, and was another favourite of mine, was the scene where Deckard and Hobbs were running through the prison. The way that whole sequence was shot was so beautiful, I could probably watch it on a loop.
- The bit in Russia were Roman knocks the guy off his snowmobile with the cardoor and then shoots all the others one after the other. He’s usually the comedic relief more than anything, but that was one badass scene.
- The bit in Russia where Letty is fighting that guy while Ramsey is hacking agaisnt Cipher.
- Tej, Roman, and Little Nobody being stuck on the submarine trying to stop the nuke from going off. It was both funny and intense.
- The bit where Dom makes the heatseeker hit the submarine and he has to jump from his car was fantastic. I appreciate that he didn’t do some stupid action pose, instead, he looked terrified like he couldn’t believe he survived.
- Throughout the whole movie most of the characters, if not all, had a moment where they shone.
I could talk and talk and talk about this movie, but I’m going to stop here. I don’t think Cipher’s motives were clear enough or explored enough, that mixed with the fact that she escaped, makes me think she’s going to show up again in a future movie. This movie was great by itself but it also feels like the start of something and it’ll be interesting to see where the franchise goes from here.