<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by F. Gary Gray. Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michele Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Scott Eastwood, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren
Running time: 2 hours 16 minutes
One of the biggest box office openings ever, going for a worldwide billion dollars, the eighth instalment of Fast and the Furious is just a B-movie with an epic fan following.
You go for the Fast and the Furious films out of habit. Because everyone will, because it’s like an event film now. Like a Star Wars movie (The Force Awakens, Rogue One) or Transformers or any of the Marvel films. And that’s why it makes all that money. Yes it’s a relatively original concept that doesn’t rely on being based on a fairy tale or comic book and neither is it a remake of an 80s film. But that doesn’t mean they’re any good.
The last film (Fast and Furious 7) should have been the last one. Unfortunately, bills have to be paid and for the lack of original ideas, churning out the same tried-and-tested formula franchise films is the only answer. Fate of the Furious offers nothing new in terms of story, acting, action, dialogue or twists. It is boiler plate F&F, not even trying to be better than the previous films and so obviously banking on the chemistry between the actors.
Of course being about family, the plot creates a new member for Dom (Vin Diesel) to fight for and turn against his old ‘family’. Our villain comes in the form of Cypher (Charlize Theron) who is amassing tools of destruction to hold the world accountable to her own mad vision of the future. The F&F team must band together with some old foes to counter Dom’s plans and hopefully save him from the dark side.
Plenty of talk about family, some technical jargon and lots of useless banter between Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges as well as Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham follow. Statham of course is back as the reformed Deckard Shaw who has to help the team save Dom and the world. Statham is in fact the only good thing about the film. He may not be ‘The Rock’ but his strength comes from a powerful persona, great dialogue delivery and some wonderful hand-to-hand combat sequences, one involving a baby that provides the only real humour in the film.
Charlize Theron whispers throughout the movie as if she’s had a sore throat and comes across as dim-witted and bland. The new additions to the film are lacklustre; Scott Eastwood as Mr Little Nobody has a pretty face but none of the charm that Paul Walker had. Nathalie Emmanuel as the hacker Ramsey isn’t interesting at all. And what is with her Sideshow Bob (from the Simpsons) haircut?
Apart from the one sequence where Cypher engages the auto drive function in dozens of cars in New York to do her bidding, the chase or shoot-em-up scenes have now awe factor at all.
In an effort to go bigger, the filmmakers use a submarine to take on the fast cars but they need to realise it’s the story, the characters and the emotions that need to be super-sized. I won’t be paying money to watch F&F 9. That’s a promise.