Fast And Furious 8 – aka The Fate of the Furious – is the… er… eighth film in the fast-driving franchise, and is the first one I’ve actually seen. I never got into them when they began, and then tried to watch No.6 when it was on Channel 4 (since ITV never showed the first five properly), but couldn’t grasp that, either. So I figured that the big screen was the only way to go…
Before I watched this, I was quite sure I wouldn’t lose too much understanding of the plot, but I get that all the characters see each other as ‘family’ and when I saw the trailer for Fast 8, where Vin Diesel ‘goes rogue’, I figured it’d be the same sort of misunderstanding that got in the way during Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. Both those films required colons in their titles…. which explains why they were so full of… yes, you know.
But this one avoids that, so will it be an improvement? Either way, from the trailer, I couldn’t understand why this or any of them last over two hours, or even over 90 minutes. Less is more.
Yet, when I watched it, I was won over. I came out hugely enjoying it for a piece of daft entertainment and wanting to watch the previous seven, even though I can see they’d be better on a big screen.
Dominic Torreto (Diesel) – aka Dom, because all the cool people are called Dom – is forced to cheat on his ‘family’ like formerly-Manchester-based comedy promoter turned nefarious criminal warlord Mark Pollard. He’s blackmailed by Cipher (Charlize Theron) for reasons that’ll become clear later, but to do her bidding, he must retrieve an EMP device, aka Electromagnetic Pulse, which can take out electronic systems etc within a large area of anywhere where it’s set off, stopping vehicles in their tracks and shutting buildings down… although somehow his car – in which it’s housed – keeps on truckin’.
In addition, there’s a device she wants called “God’s Eye”. It does some technical doohickery that causes explosions to go off… I think. I lost track. It didn’t matter.
Along the way, Dom redesigns and races his cousin’s car, at one point driving it backwards… while on fire, the fire applied with appalling CGI. Okay, so it’s a bit unfeasible to do it for real, but even still, the fire in Kurt Russell‘s Backdraft was more realistic than this, and that was 26 years ago! But… I’ll let that pass.
There’s a prison fight where Hobbs (The Rock… I mean, Dwayne Johnson) smashes people up like he’s the Hulk, and I love how he adapted his uniform since it can’t contain his ridiculous arm muscles. And this comes after he manages his daughter’s all-female football team – or ‘soccer’ as they call it in the US, starting off with performing the ‘Haka’ dance.
It does overstay its welcome by around 15 minutes, so it really didn’t need to last longer than two hours, but for the majority o the running time, I really enjoyed it. Imagine how bored you were during the last Bond film, Spectre, when all the good bits were in the trailer and there was very little action or humour inbetween, replacing that with seriousness and pomposity. Well, THIS is more like a Bond film – racing cars, blowing stuff up, globe-trotting, cars being chased by a submarine, and a baddie who may as well be putting on a Russian accent, since she hams it up that much… although she’s still an American character, as she has another beef with the Russians which you’ll learn about as the film goes on.
Fast and Furious 8 is a VERY funny film. I was laughing out loud quite a few times, as there are wisecracks aplenty, including when some Watch Dogs 2-style car hacking goes on, making them self-drive in the street, and out of showrooms… through the front glass, of course. When being used to attack some bods that Cipher wants to stop, two of their cars are taken out. Her team tell her “Two more down”, and she quips: “They’re still under warranty(!)”
It’s also a very 12-certificate film – the violence is all either done slightly off camera, or is cut-together like the later Jason Bourne films, so you never really see the blows land when someone smacks another person. Similarly to this theory, there’s just a single f-word in the script, so ensure it does NOT get a PG-certificate. These days, they’ll have recorded an alternate line for that, so that some broadcasters can show a trimmed version on TV, whereas in the ’80s, it would’ve been overdubbed in comical style.
As for my usual end credit adventures, I’ve now had a reply from a Head Office Customer Service Manager, but I am still trying to resolve things. Despite two occasions in January (Split, T2 Trainspotting) when the lights behaved themselves with them only coming up to 30% so I could still see the screen during the closing credits, things have since given way to the old HO practices, with the light practically bleaching the screen and killing the atmosphere at the end. According to them, this is acceptable, despite it ruining the customer experience.
As usual, they cited Health & Safety policies laid out by apparent council rules. I know this is a nonsense as the Odeon Trafford Centre has the same council, and they manage to set the rights at the right level during the closing credits. AND Vue have managed it before, as per the January examples, so this is becoming incredibly frustrating.
And a few observations I made which I’ll hide behind a spoiler tag, although there’s no big plot spoilers here.
Overall, Fast and Furious 8 is cheesy as hell, smashing everything up with gay abandon, including the use of a huge wrecking ball in one early scene.
Beforehand, I saw something online that said “Post-credits scene” and “The ending explained”, but.. there was NO post-credits scene, and what needs explaining?? It’s good guys vs bad girl. The end!
Also, one of the film companies involved in Fast and Furious 8 is called Original Film. That’s… Original Film… making… Fast and Furious 8… EIGHT! Oh, you’re ahead of me.
And on the date this was released, I saw an Audi and a Honda having a race through Stretford to see who has the smallest penis. It was a dead heat!
Roll on Fast and Furious 9!
Book tickets for Fast And Furious 8 at Vue Cinemas.
Running time: 136 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Cinema: Vue, Lowry, Salford Quays
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K), F55 RAW (4K), Redcode RAW (6K))
Released: April 12th 2017
Director: F Gary Gray
Producers: Vin Diesel, Michael Fottrell, Chris Morgan and Neal H Moritz
Screenplay: Chris Morgan (based on characters created by Gary Scott Thompson)
Music: Brian Tyler
Dom: Vin Diesel
Deckard: Jason Statham
Hobbs: Dwayne Johnson
Cipher: Charlize Theron
Letty: Michelle Rodriguez
Roman: Tyrese Gibson
Tej Parker: Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges
Mr. Nobody: Kurt Russell
Ramsey: Nathalie Emmanuel
Owen: Luke Evans
Elena: Elsa Pataky
Rhodes: Kristofer Hivju
Little Nobody: Scott Eastwood
DS Allan: Patrick St Esprit
Fernando: Janmarco Santiago
Miller: Luke Hawx
Russian Minister of Defense: Olek Krupa