The Fate of the Furious
The Fast gang are back, but when leader Dominic Toretto goes rogue it’s up to the remaining petrol heads to save the day, and stop a cyber terrorist from unleashing nuclear destruction on the world.
Following on from the tear jerking, and frankly heartbreaking, finale of Fast 7 is no easy task, but Vin Diesel and crew are back, giving it all they have in The Fate of The Furious (or Fast and Furious 8/F8 depending where you live).
Opening with franchise favourite Dominic Toretto (Diesel), the good guy with a shady (read: criminal) past, and wife Letty (fellow original cast member Michelle Rodriguez) honeymooning in Cuba, we see the same old Dom we’ve come to love; firm, fair and still the ultimate petrol (slap)head.
Cut to the first car race, a simple drag through the streets of Havana with Dom behind the wheel of a car that goes up in flames, and we meet the film’s villain Cipher (Charlize Theron).
While her ‘chance encounter’ with Dom starts innocently enough, she’s soon got him to agree to “betray his brothers and shatter his code” with his crew - who he counts as family - and join the dark side.
It’s not yet apparent why Dom is prepared to stab his friends in the back without hesitation, but when Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) phones with a mission, he seizes his chance.
Reteaming with Letty, Tej (Ludacris), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and newcomer Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), the team head to Berlin on official state business, but Dom screws his pals over the first chance he gets.
Bewildered by his actions and hurt that Dominic Toretto has apparently rogue, the team face further problems when they get dragged into cyber terrorist Cipher’s apparent quest for nuclear destruction, a twisted bid to teach the world’s superpowers a lesson.
As Dom plays along with Cipher, the team try to thwart them at every turn, with the battle moving from Berlin to New York to Moscow.
Can they get Dom back on their side, and will they ever understand his reasons for betraying them?
At a too long runtime of 136 minutes, and opening scenes as cheesy as it gets in the F&F films, it takes a while for the eighth instalment to warm up.
But its engines start to rev around 30 minutes in, and the finale is the fast paced, adrenaline pumping material we’ve come to expect from the franchise.
And, of course, there’s the sentimental ending, which pays tribute to fallen Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker in the loveliest of ways.
Director F. Gary Gray does a great job in his first time in the driving seat, with the car chase across a Russian ice sheet nearly as thrilling as the Dubai Burj Khalifa Towers scenes in Fast 7.
As well as the pedal-to-the-metal action, the Fast franchise has a great talent for comedic moments.
Gibson gets the most laughs as cowardly Roman, though Jason Statham, returning as baddie Deckard, is also on top funny form.
His scenes with Johnson are some of the best in the movie, and remind fans that this isn’t a movie to take entirely seriously.
There are some nice surprises within the cast, and newcomers Theron, Scott Eastwood and a cockney Dame Helen Mirren are welcome additions. Franchise bosses would be wise to bring them back to future instalments.
It’s fair to say that since Walker’s death in 2013, which happened before production wrapped on number seven, there's been a renewed interest in the franchise, but credit to the cast, writer Chris Morgan and director Gray, the latest FF movie is fast paced, adrenaline fuelled, and most importantly fun. Welcome back gang!
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