Shining Statham, Determined Diesel, Faltering Film – Fast And The Furious 8

Posted by April 14, 2017 Comment

Fast And The Furious 8
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Summary
When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.

//The Norwegian poster, because I liked it more.

//The Norwegian poster, because I liked it more.

I won’t kid you, I like the Fast films but this was a hot mess. Fast and Furious 8 is definitely the worst I can remember, but I can’t remember 2 Fast 2 Furious, or my own name, so perhaps I’m the lucky one.

Curiously, The Fate of the Furious showed without said title at my screening, only going by the above one. The titles were relatively pared down.

A brief synopsis; is that a bad thing happens, and the gang have to do a thing to make the world not bad, because something worse could happen. Will they do it? Who knows! Will family come up? Doubtful. Will Dom (Vin Diesel) glower at someone? Never.

The actual plot is that a rogue hacker, called “Cipher” (you literally could make it up), is going to hold the world to ransom through various, escalating, terrorist acts. I’m not spoiling much by telling you that.

Strange thing is, as silly as that sounds, as you watch it, you feel like there’s an inkling of something good in it. But it just goes south so quickly. I just doesn’t feel right, like it’s missing a cylinder or something. No wait, that’s not right, it’s more like they switched to electric and hoped no-one would notice. Anyway, “Fate” is to Die Another Day as Fast 5 is to Tomorrow Never Knows.

There is good stuff. Jason Statham is the clear boss of everything here, his character being the only one given depth beyond the honeymoon (and Rocky’s intro) sequence. I know we’re not talking about Shakespeare (whom I detest) here, but after that start there is actually sub-zero character barring Statham’s screen time. There’s the beginning of something, I suppose, with Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard (Mr. Statham), but it’s entirely minimised by the sheer juggernaut of propulsion towards one upping the last CG’d amazing “stunt” that they replace any and all storytelling with. We barely get a beginning, then suddenly it’s all end, all of the time. We’re not talking The Return Of The King style 103 endings, either, because at least those all had emotional impact. No, this was flatter than the Bonneville Speedway and with distinctly less natural life.

Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Dom looking at each other through windows means nothing here, because neither of them are given any weight throughout. Again, I know which series we’re talking about here, but they’ve always felt solid and this just feels forced, like a poor copy. I just didn’t care about what was happening, which is harsh given the stakes that Dom is playing for.

What else was good? Well, the scene that everyone has already seen was fantastic.

There are longer versions out there. It’s great, straight out of a Statham film, or maybe actually a Jackie Chan film. Is Jason Statham becoming the new Jackie Chan? This film would appear to confirm that it’s part of his repertoire now, especially with his party piece on the plane (which is great).

Fast films usually do well with their soundtracks, 8 is no different, with an especially strong mid-credits track from someone who I don’t have the requisite knowledge of western music to identify, but I think it was some Southern rap. Also T.I. & Young Thug‘s Off-Set is pretty strong.

That’s it, though, the sub-par structuring and non-existent character work leave you staring at a stream of ‘things happening’ (a bugbear of mine) that just lead on to the next thing. Without anyone interacting with that, it’s pointless. For a film that purports to be about family, there’s little love on show, and what little there is is really obviously wedged in there akin to so much of the overly expositional speach in the film. It’s tiring. Any film (especially action, kinda) only needs to explain so much before letting the eyes and sighs of the cast tell the story. See Amazon’s recent lesson on depression and disassociation Patriot, which is a school of the close-up magic of camera and face.

Look, I know which film series we’re talking about here, I’m still all in, but this is some paltry nonsense right here. I’m unsure exactly where that falls, but I’m guessing the script, because pretty much most of the cast have displayed much better, with less, frequently. Sometimes it feels like the folks on screen can’t believe the words they’re saying. Take Hobbs’ speech at the snow drift, it’s just completely out of character. Suddenly the guy on screen looks like he’s addressing a bunch of kids, which has a built in irony. This all seems like either a writer didn’t quite get it, or director asdasdasd misjudged the whole thing. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the studio said “MORE CARS AND ‘SPLOSIONS, PLEASE.” Well, they’ve managed that before, but with more style, more fun, and more heart.

The oddities don’t end there. Remember Hackers? Yep, that one. Easily one of the best films ever (you shut up). Well this completely goes there, and dives in fully, with some completely abstract shouting at computer screens with tense music. With phraseology like “Oh, I’m gonna get her now,” and the ever useful, “… oh no you don’t!”. It’s staggeringly painful.

You could forgive all of this if it even displayed a smidgen of the heart and comrarderie of the previous few films, and that’s saddening. We usually overlook most of the silly stuff in these films because: FAMILY. But when every word that The Rock says makes you cringe into your costly cinema seat, that’s a fail. Diesel’s Dom is as solid as ever (although the weird camera avoidance of his belly is funny), Rodriguez’ Lette is a smile and a wink and that’s it, Luda is always just right, Tyrese Gibson‘s Roman is too much here, and just about everyone else is either one-note or compressed to nothingness.

OK, if you love these films you have to see this, I get that, we’re at soap opera levels now with this series. But this ranks down there with 2 Fast as worst of the bunch. They invented nuclear engined sharks to jump here, and they cleared it by a mile.

Bad.

 

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(Last Updated April 14, 2017 12:48 pm )

About Eliot Cole

A generally affable chap, happy to shoot it over a pint of proper beer (that’s ale to some), I read basically anything, but I’ve found I’m now finally learning to love the small press / self-published scene a little more, even though I’m a newcomer to it. I’ll finish this up soon.

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