It’s that time once again ladies and gentlemen, time to rip up your sleeves, flex those muscles and talk about family. Out this weekend is Fast & Furious 8 (or The Fate of the Furious in North America). The latest in the long-running The Fast and the Furious franchise, Fast & Furious 8 has the team up against someone they can’t possibly defeat, their defacto leader Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). To take on Dom and his new partner in crime Cipher (Charlize Theron) the team has to recruit some new talent. This is where Jason Statham’s character Deckard Shaw, the villain from the previous film returns as well as newcomer Scott Eastwood who plays Eric Reisner, second in command to Frank Petty (Kurt Russell). And when this new crack team of misfits forms the film kicks into high gear.
Right out the gate, I’ll let you know what my immediate thoughts were of this movie. Fast & Furious 8 is a cliché ridden film, with no depth of character and it is filled with infuriating dialogue. Though it looks spectacular with the shiny cars looking all pretty and fast the characters, on the other hand, are rusty and obnoxious. Not even Dwayne Johnson’s charm combined with Jason Statham’s can save the film, and this is all due to the terrible dialogue that ranges from aggressive to downright weird, an example of this is when Dwayne tells Jason that “I will beat your ass like a Cherokee drum.” It is this level of wit and humour that permeates throughout Fast & Furious 8, and oddly this is one of the few funny moments of the film.
Along with the “comedy,” there are also issues with the story, having Dom face off against the team is an intriguing one and the reasoning for this betrayal is great. Sadly it’s only briefly used to it’s fullest potential with a handful of scenes. The rest of time the film deals with the team trying to hunt down Dom, and sadly this is where a lot of issues in the movie crop up. Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges are still giving semi-decent performances, but Scott Eastwood, Kurt Russell, and Nathalie Emmanuel are useless in their roles. Eastwood adds nothing to the cast, Russell is simply an exposition dump character so all his personality is gone and Emmanuel for the first 15 minutes of the film says nothing. She is one of the best actresses in Game of Thrones, and she is criminally underused in Fast & Furious 8.
There are highlights, of course, the cinematography and stunt work is superb easily the best of the franchise. A sad takeaway from this is that most of the best action scenes in the film can be seen in the trailers. Another positive element of Fast & Furious 8 is its villain Cypher. Charlize Theron has a strong and imposing presence easily outshining everyone else onscreen. Her motivations are also well thought out, and I was watching to see where she went next with her diabolical plan.
Fast & Furious 8 is a curious film. On one hand, it dishes out some incredible action akin to that of a comic book film, because at this point the characters are no longer street racers with a penchant for bank heists. They are the superhero team M.A.S.K in all, but name and the Fast & Furious franchise has been reinvigorated due to this change. This isn’t enough though when the writing and characters are not evolving with the franchise. There needs to be character growth beyond the fact that these actors are aging.
If you’re a fan of The Fast and the Furious franchise head along and enjoy yourself, however, if you’re looking for something with more depth and memorability, there are other, much better, films out this weekend. Be sure to check the Scannain reviews to learn more.