The most surprising thing about the Fate of the Furious/Fast and the Furious 8/Fast 8/F8/ARRRRRGHH BANG! is that I didn’t hate it.
The trailer looks like Donald Trump the movie: Loud, crass, leery, annoying commercial pornography with lots of shooting and explosions.
Its still commercial pornography but it is in fact far less mean spirited than I ever imagined it would be. Dare I say it, I actually enjoyed myself. At least at times. The film’s stupidity spills over in the final half hour into migraine inducing, barmy b******t and the film is at least that very half hour too long.
Nevertheless, Fate of the Furious is a movie that knows it is stupid and at times, revels in it, before lapsing into gag inducing tripe about “family.” It is as if screenwriter and producer Chris Morgan and director F. Gary Gray said; “THERE IS TOO MANY EXPLOSIONS! SAY SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE AND FAMILY AND BRING IN AN UNEXPLAINED BABY! FAMILY STUFF, LOVE AND SHIT!”
F8 as I will now refer to this film as due to being staggeringly lazy, isn’t a film for subtleties. Still, there is some fun to be had. The first two-thirds of the film zip a long at a decent pace and the back and forth repartee, as its known in some-quarters and, at times its actually pretty damn funny. It made me do a laugh! Tyrese Gibson is a standout performer for some welcome comic relief, along with Dwayne Johnson and the always enjoyable Jason Statham continuing with their sexual tension from the previous film.
Indeed, some of the earlier car chase scenes are also pretty arresting with a fair sprinkling of comedy and tension to ease things along and to stop your head hurting too much.
However, there are many things about this film that are terrible. Charlize Theron’s performance is diabolical and this is before we even get to her awful hair, which makes her look like a drug dealer at The Isle of Wight Festival in 1978. It is the ultimate example of picking up a paycheque and phoning it in. At least Statham and Kurt Russell had the sense to have some fun with proceedings, Theron, easily the most talented performer on display, cannot be bothered.
On some level, that lackadaisical approach is understandable.
For the dumb fun to be had in F8 it is hard to fathom what the bloody hell is actually going on. The plot is something to do with Theron’s ludicrously named “Cipher” stealing some stuff and then a Top Gear challenge with $250 million budget taking place as a result. In there somewhere, is stuff about “family” and Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel trying to prove who has the biggest muscles.
Sorry boys, but Statham is harder than you both.
Moreover, this film is a blatant, expensive commercialism for the American automotive industry and a promotion for various bits of military hardware. When we reach the point that a nuclear submarine is chasing a tank, with various technical specs being spewed forth by our performers – which would never happen in real life ever – you know the film is being marketed to various defence ministries on the lookout for buying new armaments.
But I don’t want to be seen as a negative guy and seeing as the trailer for the film looked like something conjured from the inside of Donald Trump’s head, the feature itself was far less cynical and horrible than I was bracing myself for.