Thursday, 20 April 2017

Fast and Furious 8 (2017) - Film Review

Review:

*Originally written April 20th, 2017*

The Fast and Furious franchise continues to be the most fascinating film series to come out of Hollywood. We are so far removed from the extremely lame street-racing days of the early 2000's and they've fully embraced the utter absurdity of what Fast and Furious means these days.

You know exactly what to expect from this series by now. A nonsensical amount of action scenes and defying any kind of logic known to man. If you go in expecting realism, well, then you look stupider than the films. These films do it right, they have likeable casts, creative and fun action that is surprisingly unique and inspired. It's a far cry from the garbage Michael Bay shits out and how summer blockbuster films should be done.

Charlize Theron and Vin Diesel
This time around Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto goes rogue and turns on his family due to the influence of cyber terrorist 'Cypher' played by Charlize Theron. Dom's family and a few new members to the team (Including Furious 7's villain Jason Statham) go on a mission to get Dom back and stop Cypher.

It's simple stuff that I'm amazed managed to last 135 minutes, but it did and that runtime flew by. 8 films into this franchise now and they're still topping themselves with such creatively fun action scenes. Furious 8 is probably the most insane one yet. The New York set-piece with thousands of "zombie" cars was a particular standout, but the final act involves some utter chaos. F. Gary Grey does a great job filming such carnage, no shakey-cam bullshit. There's a lot of CGI, some of which is very noticeable, but what they used it for would have been borderline impossible to do practically, so I can forgive it.

There might be a little bit of stockholm syndrome involved with me and these characters at this point, but I was genuinely interested when the trailers revealed Dom was going rogue and turning on his family. There was a lot of theories online about why he does it (Including one where he might actually be a Terminator), the most obvious one seemed that Cypher has Paul Walker and his family hostage, which thankfully wasn't the case. What they did do worked suprisingly well, it even goes to some pretty dark places for such a stupid film.

Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson
The Paul Walker situation is handled with as much care as they could. Walker isn't replaced on the team and he's nowhere to be seen. There are some mentions of him and a really, really weird tribute to him at the end, which makes no sense in the Fast and Furious universe. Still, they addressed it and it was fine for the most part.

Charlize Theron's hacker terrorist was merely okay. Her performance was decent, she does the ice-cold monster thing very well, it's just a shame and a wasted opportunity that not once in the film does she get the chance to drive a vehicle or get involved in an action scene at all, except for when she's hacking things on They've left it open for her to return to the franchise, so I hope she gets more to do if she is to return.

The standouts are by far The Rock and Jason Statham, who work extremely well together. Statham even has the honour of the most batshit insane action scene of the entire film, which is saying something. The rest of the cast do their thing. I found a couple of the members really annoying, but that's more due to the writers than the performances. There's the odd lame joke that really falls flat, which reminded me a lot of the Marvel films. This is a problem I've had with the series since Fast 5, but in all honesty, I laughed at this one more than I have with any of the others, so it's a step in the right direction.

Kurt Russell (Sadly not in drag)
Helen Mirren also has a small, but scene stealing role as the mother of Jason Statham and Luke Evan's Shaw Brothers, although her accent is a bit over the top and comical. She's another character who's introduced to, I assume, be expanded on in future films. I wouldn't even mind an entire spin-off based around the Shaw family at this point.

I'm not entirely sure if I preferred Furious 8 to the previous film or not. 7 certainly had more heart and emotion due to Paul Walker's death, but Furious 8 more than makes up for it with everything else. I'm still really excited to see where the franchise goes next. For the past 2 films I've said "There can't be anything left they can do", but for 2 films running now they've proved me wrong. Keep them coming. Hollywood's most interesting franchise.

Fast and Furious 8 is exactly what you'd expect from the franchise at this point. If you're looking for a smart, meaningful and realistic film, then just fuck off, but if you're looking for a loud, fun, creative, funny and insanely entertaining film, then Furious 8 is exactly what you need.

8/10 Dans

Fast and Furious 8 is out now in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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