I went and saw the las test instalment in the Fast and Furious franchise last night. Here’s my take on the movie.
For me, the Fast and Furious franchise died with Paul Walker. He was my favourite, he was he storyline and without him, it doesn’t feel right. As a young girl watching the earlier films, he one I had a massive crush on. For me, this is the scene that should have closed out the series.
Fast 8 opens with scenes in Havana, Cuba and it looks like Dom is back to his old tricks, street racing but he’s grown up a bit. It’s here that we meet Charlize Theron’s character, Cypher. She plays this role really well and I’m pleased to see it was a woman in this role, not the typically male dominated hacker roles of other movies. Cypher uses something to get Dom on board with her evil plan but the viewers aren’t shown what.
We then see the return of Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs and he’s roped into yet another high risk mission that can only be described as beyond black ops. With one phone call, the team is blowing up facilities in Germany and stealing an EMP, some sort of nuclear device although it isn’t clear, that’s just the assumption. It’s here that Dom first crosses his line, he runs Hobbs off the road, leaving him incapacitated, steals the EMP and Hobbs is subsequently arrested and sent to prison. Mr Nobody is back and offers Hobbs the easy way out and naturally he doesn’t take it, instead finds himself in a cell across from Deckard Shaw, reprised by Jason Statham. Cue the inevitable posturing between the two egos and it makes for a slightly irritating and predictable two minutes and then all of a sudden the door to Hobbs’ cell is remotely unlocked. He refuses to leave but it means a rush of guards comes up providing Shaw with the opportunity to taser a guard and get out of his cell. All of the other cells open and it’s an all out brawl. The film then follows Shaw and Hobbs as they make their escape. The bass each time Hobbs kicked someone was old before it started and unnecessary. We get it, he’s a big guy. They are met on the outside by Mr Nobody and now they have to work together.
Back to Torretto, he’s on this fancy looking plane, which we find out more about later. Cypher sends him to see what he’s been working for and here we find Elena, remember her from South America? Well she’s back, and this time she has a baby. Dom’s son. Cue emotional sequence and then we are back to the group. The baby has only a middle name, Markus, and Dom should pick his first name. This is predictable, but I’ll wait till the end.
The group are in an undisclosed location, looking at a bunch of fancy tech material. All feeling miserable, it’s here that the suggestion to bring Brian in is made, and Letty shoots it down, because he’s retired. Trying to find Dom, they use the Gods eye software from the last movie and find that Cypher has hacked it, they get through the hack far enough to realise Dom is apparently in their building just as he and Cypher crash through the door. Steal Gods eye and Cypher plants a big ole kiss on Dom right in front of Letty, supposedly to throw her off.
We then get to the “toy shed” we had one in the second movie with Pearce and Brian and well this one is naturally on steroids. There’s a hybrid tank, Bentley and a Lamborghini. Bright orange, so you can guess who wanted that one. They’ve discovered Dom is in NYC and so they set about to get him. Everyone picks their cars, including the new Mr Nobody, a rookie straight out of the academy, serving no other purpose that to highlight how good the others but he eventually comes into his own. Each picks a car that aligns with their personality and off they set. Not before Cyhper hacks a bunch of cars to trap the Russian minister of Defence who conveniently has nuclear launch codes in his possession. Just prior to this catstrophe, Dom stops at a back alley bar and we are introduced to Helen Mirrens character. Although it’s not explicitly said, she plays the Shaw brothers’ mother. This is the first look we get at the sabotage Dom is orchestrating.
The scene ends in a stoush with Dom and Deckard Shaw where he “kills” him and Letty steals the codes and runs. Dom gives chase and she runs into Rhodes who is Cypher’s offsider. She hands over the codes but not before Dom holds a gun to his head, to protect Letty. After this we are back on the fancy plane. It turns out the plane is the perfect place because it flies around the world through shifting channels of radar undetected. Now Cypher is mad, and we find her in the glass room she has kept Elena and her baby. Holding Markus, she warns Dom that this is his fault and then Rhodes rather crudely executes Elena. Leaving Dom, Markus’ only family. Cypher warns Dom that anymore mishaps and Markus is next. It’s really hard to believe her though.
Back to the team who are reeling from the death of Shaw, they are trying to figure out Cypher’s next move. Cue Mr Nobody with all the info, tells them she will hit a submarine base in Russia. Hobbs launches into a speech about being a man and boom Rookie Nobody grows a pair and all best are off, everyone picks another vehicle and away we are to Russia for the final stint.
Dom arrives at the base and uses the sonic boom from the EMP to open gates, and to disable the Nuclear Submarine they have. Cypher hacks it and then the team springs into action. Ramsey hacks back and then Letty gets in a fight with a dude twice her size. All predictable stuff. Pearce, Tej and Rookie run into the sub to disable the nukes and Tej is locked out so its up to the bumbling wonder twins to find the chip, which they find magically with 4 seconds on the countdown timer.
Cut back to the plane and there are two sugar glider looking things flying at the plane who manage to open the back door and enter the plane. Yay Deckard isn’t dead, turns out he was shot but it was all a ruse his mother had orchestrated with Dom. The other glider? Owen Shaw, Deckard’s brother and victim of a foiled plan from the movie that brought Letty back. They break in and shoot a few people before parting ways. Deckard makes his way to the glass cage Markus is in and Owen to the cockpit. It’s assumed this is done so that Statham gets more airtime to shoot people and make funny faces at Markus. He meets Cypher in her war room, and after a heated discussion of witty one liners, she bails out of the plane, almost taking Markus with her, although she’s the only one with a parachute. It’s then that Owen instructs the pilot to land.
Back to Russia and there’s a lot of shooting and explosions, they destroy the Lamborghini and Dom stops Rhodes from killing Letty, kills him instead and joins the team again to foil the plans of Cypher. She’s ordered a heat seeking missile to go after the group. Dom, galant as ever takes the heat, and in a mystifying stunt fools the missile into hitting the nuclear sub, he’s thrown from his vehicle and now faces the full blast range of the sub exploding. The team come in with their vehicles and make a crude barricade, that any ballistics person would know would kill them all but save him. And we have our happy ending.
Now that the mission is over, we are on a rooftop in New York City, for the typical Torretto family lunch. Dom is waiting for Shaw to arrive with Markus, Hobbs is cleared by the Nobodies of all charges and offered his shield back. He declines because he wants to spend more time with his daughter. Pearce and Tej are again competing for the affection of Ramsey, but being the sassy, intelligent woman she is, isn’t having a bar of it. Cue Deckard’s entrance and Dom takes Markus to meet the “most important person in his life” aka Letty and its all happy families. Then as they sit down to lunch we have the typical speech from Dom about family etc and he introduces his son, Brian Markus Torretto.
Cue final music.
A few things were predictable from early on in the film. Elena was always going to perish as she couldn’t be around with Letty. Markus’ first name would always be Brian. There would always be lots of guns and lots of explosions as well as bullshit stunts. There’s always basic comedy between Tej and Pearce and Letty and Dom’s love would always prevail.
I beg you please don’t make another movie. Leave it here. No further instalments are needed.
I give it 6 out of 10 stars. It should never have been made. And it’s just not the same without Paul Walker.