Within the first ten-minutes of the eighth (eighth!) instalment in the Fast and Furious series, Vin Diesel’s Robin Hood of the racing world, Dominic Toretto, is speeding through the streets of Havana, backwards, as his car turns into a ball of fire from the high speeds. In a sense, it’s a set piece which perfectly sums up the journey that the franchise has taken over the course of the last sixteen-years; beginning life as a Point Break with cars, only to turn into a huge action spectacle full of explosions and high-octane stunts.
Here, things are as big and as dumb as ever, with the opening scene looking like child’s play in comparison to what follows. Each act, in fact, boasts an action sequence that is bigger than the last, with a destruction derby of zombified cars (something to do with computer chips) on the streets of New York, becoming quickly overshadowed by the film’s climax that involves missiles, a submarine and cars flying through the air.
Since the original film, the series has never been one to take itself too seriously though. That much is clear through the ever increasing “soap opera” plots that have seen characters return from the dead and lose their memories; so it’s no surprise that, this time around, the film’s central hero becomes evil and turns against his team/family. Could it be a clone? Evil twin? I won’t spoil the actual reasoning behind the change, but in this franchise it could literally be anything as over-the-top as that.
Sure, ‘F8’ isn’t going to be winning awards for subtlety anytime soon, but there is something undeniably fun about it. Whether it’s the hyper-machismo that sees The Rock doing curls with a concrete bench in prison, the absurdity of somebody practically throwing a submarine torpedo with their bare hands, or just the ridiculous stunts that defy any kind of reality, there’s plenty of throwaway entertainment to be had with this.
Using exotic locations, fast cars, ludicrous set pieces and barely dressed women, the Fast & Furious franchise has developed a formula that has proven successful; one which will either work or won’t work for film fans. Fast & Furious 8 is more of the same, but in a higher gear. If you’ve enjoyed the films before, you’ll be sure to enjoy this. And if you haven’t enjoyed them in the past, this may still be worth watching for a bit of a laugh at the very least.
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