Fast & Furious 8

 

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The F&F franchise moves up yet another gear - to exhilarating results.

 

Fast & Furious 8
 

The last film, Fast & Furious 7, is currently the sixth highest-grossing movie in cinema history. It was a hard act to follow. Even so, Universal Pictures have just upped the ante. With each screen minute costing in the region of two million dollars, the latest instalment pushes the pedal to the metal and just goes for it. To set the tone, Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are on honeymoon in Cuba and Dom challenges a local car dealer to a race across the crowded streets of Havana. For Dom, it’s the driver who wins the race and not the car, so he strips down an old banger to its bare essentials, adds a touch of rocket fuel and in spite of various obstacles thrown in his path, he wins the contest in reverse and on fire – literally. Cue the opening credits.

 

The following two hours fly by in a blast of exhaust fumes as Dom turns against his ‘family’ – including his new wife – and teams up with the coldest bitch on the planet. The latter is Cipher, played by Charlize Theron, a power-hungry, criminal mastermind bent on bending the governments of the world to do her bidding. And in between her acts of terrorism she dispenses suspect bites of philosophy. She tells Dom that “I am the crocodile at the watering hole” and informs him that grief is just “a biological lie.” She’s also fiendishly tech-savvy, harnessing the powers of a facial recognition software that, in seconds, can tap into every CCTV camera on earth. In addition, she can bypass the manual controls of Internet-connected vehicles and play with the outcome like an over-excited schoolchild smashing up their train set. The result is a sequence, set in downtown Manhattan, which gives the awe factor a whole new dimension.

 

Fast & Furious 8, directed with non-stop delirium by F. Gary Gray, is both a thrilling and frightening film. Thrilling, because it takes extreme motoring to an entirely new level. Frightening, because it shows the potential bedlam that a hacktivist can unleash on a metropolitan area. With everything now on-line, anything is possible in the wrong hands.

 

But there’s also lashings of humour on hand, with none other than Jason Statham adding a comic streak to his repertoire, not least when he finds himself in the role of reluctant babysitter. And not content to add just one Oscar-winning actress to the mix, F. Gary Gray has also talked Dame Helen Mirren into a cameo, a part likely to surprise – or even shock – fans of The Queen. In the event, popcorn entertainment doesn’t get any brawnier or balmier than this and ensures that the audience gets more than its money’s worth. Top gear.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Scott Eastwood, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren, Kristofer Hivju, Luke Evans.

 

Dir F. Gary Gray, Pro Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel and Michael Fottrell, Screenplay Chris Morgan, Ph Stephen F. Windon, Pro Des Bill Brzeski, Ed Christian Wagner and Paul Rubell, Music Brian Tyler, Costumes Sanja Milkovic Hays?

 

Original Film/One Race Films/Perfect World Pictures-Universal Pictures.

135 mins. USA. 2017. Rel: 12 April 2017. Cert. 12A.