When it comes to the Fast and Furious franchise – what you see is what you get. If cars, half naked girls and over the top action is what you want then this franchise has absolutely perfected the formula with arguably its best entry yet. The 8th Furious film is loud, over the top and at times impressively choreographed. Despite some eye rolling dialogue, questionable logic and surely the world record for most number of times “family” is said throughout, the film is a fun ride from start to finish.
Although this film can be watched as a stand alone entry, it does help to get some background on the story as the continuing series references some of the previous films. The array of characters that the film assumes you’re already accustomed to don’t have a whole lot more to do beyond one line quips or reinforcing character motivations although big players Deckard (Jason Statham) and ex-cop Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) are given important roles.
The history of the series has been fascinating. From its moderate beginnings up to the disastrous Tokyo Drift that almost destroyed the series all the way to its 8th entry solidifying itself as the biggest box office hit worldwide in an opening weekend, the Furious franchise has much to celebrate. Although each film has its own individual plot, its important to note you only really need to be accustomed to the story of Fast 6 and 7 to get the most out of this. I won’t write out the whole plot here of course but a little background around the story does fill in a few of the blanks the film fails to address to newcomers. You can actually find this on Youtube with a search of “Fast 6 recap”.
Having said all that, the story starts with Dom (Vin Diesel) on his honeymoon with wife Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) in the sun drenched paradise of Cuba. As a throwback to the series, the film starts with a breathtaking race through the streets of South America for bragging rights. Approached by a mysterious woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron), she blackmails Dom into working for her and betraying his family of fellow racers to carry out her dastardly plans. Racing across the globe, the film shifts from Cuba to New York and eventually to the icy wasteland of the Arctic from one ridiculously over the top set piece to the next as the team of racers chase after Dom to stop him and Cipher from causing global devastation.
The action is impressive and clearly the main draw here which does a good job of hiding the very average, logic-defying plot. There are 4 big action scenes that stand out and all of them improve what came before. A zombie car chase through New York was my particular favourite but the climax with a giant submarine on ice chasing the crew is equally as impressive. In contrast to the breathtaking action, the dialogue is simply okay – the characters deliver their lines as best they can but all the usual tropes show up – the smart guy, the muscly guy, the good looking smart girl, the comic relief etc. are all here. Whilst its not always a bad thing, at times it feels forced, especially between the action-focused scenes.
The Fate Of The Furious is a good action title nonetheless. Its action scenes are outrageously over the top and somehow improve on Fast 7’s insane plane -to-ground car stunts and building-to-building jump. Having seen this and knowing the inevitable sequels are to come, I am legitimately excited to see just how crazy they take things to try and one-up what’s shown here. Even if the bonkers plot and dialogue don’t always deliver as well as the action, its a fun ride and one that reinforces the series can still deliver without Paul Walker at the forefront alongside Vin Diesel.