Fast and Furious 8 movie review: Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson’s film is an entertaining mess

Fast and Furious films, in the words of Tyrese Gibson, are the only non-comicbook, non-superhero franchise of Hollywood that has garnered such a huge fan following over the course of sixteen years. A relatively smaller film that started in 2001 with just four major characters in Vin Diesel‘s Dominic Toretto, Late Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner, Michelle Rodriguez’ Leticia Ortiz and Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto added a plethora of characters during the course of seven more films. It graduated from a bunch of outlaws to a ‘Family’. After the demise of Paul Walker, the ‘Family’ returned again sans Brian and Mia, helmed by F. Gary Gray, straight outta multiple award winning Straight Outta Compton. The film stars, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham and series debutants in Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood and Helen Mirren.

What’s It About

Dom and Letty’s honeymoon is hijacked by international cyber terrorist Cipher. She blackmails Dom into the dark world, which makes him betray his family and a friend in Luke Hobbs. Now, the ‘Family’ led by Luke Hobbs, helped by Mr. Nobody and an unexpected ally in their sworn enemy Deckard Shaw, take it on themselves to stop Dom from doing things he may never return from. But what is the reason for Dom’s betrayal? What does Cipher has on Dom that makes him turn against his own? What is Deckard Shaw’s motivation behind helping the team he wanted to kill in the first place? Forms the plot of entire film..more or less.

What’s Hot

The fast and furious films promises one thing since the first one in 2001 and that is mindless, over the top, unthinkable action. Even if sometimes the script has plot holes, it’s the charisma of its lead stars and some mind boggling action pieces that do the trick. First ten minutes into the film and you’ll be transported to the world of very first FnF film, when it was all about a thrilling race. It’s been sixteen years and Dom is still the best when it comes to being behind the wheel. Unlike the previous parts, when the film used to be centred around able shoulders of Paul and Vin, this time it was just Vin but what director F. Gary Gray achieves is that he doesn’t let the film be a one man show. While last time Dwayne Johnson’s was more of a cameo, this time he has sort of taken over what would’ve been Paul’s role in the film. When the team is clueless as their leader has gone rogue, it’s Johnson’s Hobbs that takes the charge and buoy he nails it… even if his one dimensional. While Vin has more of a brooding and silent character this time, it’s Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Shaw that keep the momentum going with their banter. Among the crew it is Tyrese Gibson’s Roman Pearce that gets the best lines and maximum footage. And he is often the scene stealer. In fact he and Scott Eastwood as “Mr Little Nobody” provide the film with much needed humour. How good is Scott Eastwood! Would love to see more of him in better roles. Charlize Theron as the big baddie is probably badder than any villain this franchise has seen. She means business and she proves it in one of the unexpected scenes of the film.

After every FnF movie, as a fan my next thought is, now how are they gonna top it and they do that every time. There is a running joke on the internet that ninth film will be filmed in space as they have done it all on this planet. Action of this film is top notch and of course unbelievably over the top. Apart from that huge-ass submarine creating destruction towards the climax or the car-orgy across New York, the action that stood out the most for me was one involving Jason Statham in a plane. Sorry for the spoilers… couldn’t resist! Also read: After Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson opens up about their alleged fight on the sets of Fast and Furious 8

Talking about the director F Gary Gray, having helmed multi starrers like Straight Outta Compton and Italian Job, he sure knows his job well. As I mentioned earlier he takes the film to a darker territory. Cinematography by Stephen F. Windon is first rate.

P.S- Paul Walker’s character was mentioned twice and somehow you wanted him to be back in action.

What’s Not

The film has plenty of loop holes and it has more to do with the script. My first and foremost problem was with Jason Statham’s character. What I liked about him in the film as an actor was also the drawback of his character. He was this big baddie in Furious 7 but for some reason makers turned his character into a goofball and tried to portray him as a hero. This Shaw was more similar to the one he played in Spy. It looked like they were discarding whatever happened in Furious 7. What happened to all those in the hospital he killed? What about Dom and Brian’s “Family” member Han and his girlfriend Gisele Yashar killed by the Shaw brothers? It was all forgotten! Also it took Luke Hobbs one full movie and halfway into the eighth one, to figure out that Deckard Shaw was actually a UK govt spy, before going rogue and was one of their bests. Also as a moviegoer I enjoyed his and Dwayne’s banter in the film but as an FnF franchise fan it was very childish.

Jason Statham’s character wanted an “old school fist fight”, first with Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs and later with Vin Diesel’s Dom and he was denied that every time for various reasons. I mean come on, you have three badass action stars in the film and I didn’t even get a one fist fight among them! In fact there was no proper fist fight involving Vin Diesel.

Character wise Vin’s was probably the weakest of the lot. He had very minimal dialogues and a single expression throughout the film. I am a huge fan of Kurt Russell but he had nothing much to do in the film, he could sleep walk through that role any day. Also, while few of the twists were surprising, most of them were need of the hour but predictable. More often than not, there was no proper explanation given to the crew members and for some strange reasons they were cool with it.

What To Do

If you are a fan of the franchise, you are in for a treat. The movie is not better than the Furious 7 but still comes among the better ones of the franchise. If you are a sucker of mindless action flick, it will entertain. Watch it for over the top action scenes, Dwayne Johnson’s charisma and Tyrese Gibson’s scene stealer act. Despite its flaws, it is the most fun you are gonna have in theatre in recent times. The film can be best described as an entertaining mess!

Rating: 3.5 out of 53.5 Star Rating

Reviewed by Gaurang Chauhan

* Poor

** Average

*** Good

**** Very good

***** Excellent

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