Fast & Furious 8/The Fate Of The Furious/Whatever - This Movie Fails To Rock The Ridiculous
Dir: F Gary Gray
Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne "the Cock" Johnson, Jason "the Stath" Statham, Charlize "the Furiosa" Theron, Michelle Rodroguez, the Ghost of Paul Walker, Kurt Russell, Ludacris, Tyrese Gobson, Luke Evans, Helen Mirren
If you accept the yardstick that the F&F series only got good when it reinvented itself as something really rather more silly with number 5 – and that it peaked with same – then 8th time around is not up there. And the truth is – this is where said entertaining shark gets jumped.
F&F was a petrolhead series that aspired to be more. It became a drama about “Family.” But right now it’s a blockbuster franchise that aspires to the tropes of the superhero movie – but without the finesses of those who know how to do that well.
Let’s get this straight – we went in really wanting to like this. Here’s what to like – Kurt Russell and Statham bring the cool. In both cases we can’t wait to see how much more cool the former brings to Guardians Vol 2, or state how much we enjoyed the latter aping Hard Boiled like no one had ever seen it, in this film's final half hour.
In between, we had to endure Vin Diesel inadvertently confirm why his best on screen performances have been as either a robot (Iron Giant) or a piece of wood (Groot.) Here he is closer to the latter. Somehow – maybe it’s the voice? – Diesel has become a caricature of himself on screen – and this series just builds on that, much to his detriment. Similarly, Dwayne the Cock is almost becoming a caricature of his all-round screen persona (witness his opening “soccer mum” scene) but manages to rise above such initial limitations.
But not necessarily the rest of the script.
Because the two problems this eighth time around has is not the problem of bigger and better, which it attempts with aplomb – nuclear sub v cars anyone? It’s much simpler than that. It’s just very badly written. No, really – it’s a terrible, terrible script – we could mention all those accredited, but we suspect there are many more names that aren’t attached for reasons of legality – or more correctly, shame.
And directed by a man who has no feel for this. F Gary Gray, who has always been a non-specific journeyman director at best, earned a deserved amount of attention for Straight Outta Compton, but here proves he has no feel for an action sequence. The ideas and the locations dominates – Cuba opens up so F&F go for the cars there as this film’s opening gambit – but it all looks so CGI; cars can now be hacked, so in essence “they” attack – but it all feels so CGI. Which is indicative of the film as a whole – it fails to engage its audience. It provides all the “moments” that a modern blockbuster should to “involve” – but we would ask all our readers two questions – “Were you?” And after that “No. Really?”
Hoping you know the answer.
Spectacle? Yes. Good – not so much.
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