Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron
Written By: Chris Morgan
Directed By: F. Gary Gray
Studio: Universal Studios
Buy On Amazon.com
The 8th installment of the Fast and the Furious is the first one without the late Paul Walker. Just like the last couple movies in the franchise, shut off your brain for 2 hours and enjoy the cartoonish action & chase scenes.
Never turn your back on family is what Dom (Vin Diesel) usually says in the Fast series. Except he kind of does, but doesn’t in this one. While celebrating his honeymoon with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in Cuba, Dom is coerced into working for a cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron). The rest of the team including Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) are recruited by My. Nobody (Kurt Russell) to go up against Dom & Cipher and take them down. They get some unexpected help from Furious 7 villain Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), who wants to go after Cipher just as much. Like with most movies, Cipher is out to get something evil and bring harm to the world. That old trick.
It’s only been a few years since I last saw all of these movies. When the 7th movie came out, I binged all of the movies in a week. As soon as Dwayne Johnson came on board, the movies ended up being a lot better and entertaining for me. This new one is obviously missing Paul Walker but everybody presses on. They added Jason Statham to the good-guy list (since he was the main bad guy last movie) and while I liked him in this, it just felt like the change was too sudden. I mean, this is the character that killed one of their friends in the previous movies. Enemies put things aside to fight the bigger enemy, which was Charlize Theron. I’m assuming she will be back for the next inevitable movie since she didn’t die.
The whole plot device for Dom going rogue seemed like it was a bit silly in the trailers but makes sense on why he did it when you see the movie. All boils down to family. It’s nothing new though, as we’ve seen characters like Jack Bauer in 24 going up against friends because he’s forced to do something he doesn’t want to do. I’m curious to see where they take this next movie, oh because you know there will be another one. There were rumors they were going to space in the next time. If that’s the case, this will probably be my last Fast movie. It’s one thing to have 8 movies of car thieves and make them special forces type of character in the later years, it’s another to make them into astronauts. What are they going to do, combine this and Armageddon and they have to drive their cars into an asteroid? If someone doesn’t write a ridiculous fanfic of that, maybe I will.
What everybody is interested with this franchise is the action, cars, car chases and the special effects and they certainly up the ante for this one. I thought it was funny seeing all these computerized cars getting hacked in NYC. I’m actually surprised something like this hasn’t happened yet with cars getting hacked in real life. The stunts in Iceland were insane too with everybody driving around in different type of vehicles. The most laughable, unrealistic chase scene of the movie was right in the beginning when Dom was racing in Cuba. The car catches on fire and he’s driving this thing as it’s on fire. He would have went up like a match. I loved all the fight scenes that Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham had. The prison one was fun but the best when Statham is trying to fight and protect a baby on an airplane. It’s that sequence that made me think that Statham belongs on the team going forward.
The Blu-ray has a lot of special features to watch like featurettes on the stunts, the cars, the fight scenes, filming in Cuba, Iceland and NYC and lots more. It was interesting seeing the behind the scenes footage for Cuba, where they were the first big US production to film there. There is an extended cut of the movie BUT it’s not on the Blu-Ray itself, you’d have to watch that on digital HD only. I was kind of bummed about that because I usually watch the extended cuts over theatricals. I didn’t know this until after starting the movie. But there’s plenty of entertaining extras showing how things were done like the crazy computerized cars falling from a building in NY, driving on ice and things like that.
Like always, all these movies require you to turn off your brain and just enjoy them and this one isn’t any different. I don’t think it’s as entertaining as the last two but it’s still something watch if you’re a fan of the series. But please, don’t make the next one be in space; that would be totally stupid!
All About The Stunts
Extended Fight Scenes
Feature Commentary With Director F. Gary Gray
The Cuban Spirit
In The Family
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Digital Surround
French Dolby Digital Surround
Widescreen 2.40:1 Color
Bottom Line: Fun action & chase scenes but not as good as previous installments
Running Time: 136 mins