Director – F Gary Gray
Cast – Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren
Rating – 2.5
Fast and Furious 8, or The Fate of the Furious if we were to call it by its more inventive title, is not as deliriously over-the-top as 5, it isn’t as emotional as 7, and it isn’t as all around awesome as Tokyo Drift (which is, unconventionally, my favorite of the bunch). But none of this matters. It is, however, the strangest, darkest, and the most deviant film in the series.
But even if we were to put all the eccentricities of the plot aside for a moment, because being a fan of this franchise, someone who has been there right from the beginning, I realize that what really draws us to these movies is the action. It used to be the characters too, once upon a time, but now, sadly, it’s just the action. But director F Gary Gray, who has made some fantastic films in the past (The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton to name a couple), seems to be too bogged down by the behemoth this series has become. His action set-pieces (that tundra-set show stopper included) don’t hold a candle to anything Justin Lin did in his four movies. Or even James Wan in Furious 7. There’s no authorship to this film. It could have been directed by any of the series’ previous filmmakers and no one would have noticed.
For a franchise whose sole purpose of being hinges on the age old mantra ‘go big or go home’, Fast and Furious 8 sure does follow the rulebook. But sadly, the fatigue is setting in. A couple of films ago – even three films ago – you’d never have believed it. The series had just witnessed a comeback unlike any other. In that moment, to quote a teen novel of all things, we were all infinite. Dom was in love. The Rock was breaking concrete by stomping on it real hard. Tyrese was yelling. Women were being objectified. But now, after we’ve seen parachuting cars and flying Vin Diesels, what’s a nuclear missile here and there?