CARS! FAMILY! LOYALTY! The revitalised Fast & Furious franchise races in for an astounding eighth instalment following the ridiculously successful last instalment a couple of years back. F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) hits the directors chair this time with all the old favourites returning, with the ‘leave your brain at the door’ policy firmly in place once more.
Now, I’m not a car guy. I’d struggle to distinguish a Porsche 911 from a Skoda Fabia. Yet despite the extremely expensive looking vehicles at the Fast family’s finger tips – and the crazy stuff they always get up to in them – the sheer audacity of this bat-shit franchise has, like so many, kind of won me over.
I don’t care about the sexy cars, I can skim over the cheese and I can definitely let Vin Disels, erm, ‘acting’ slide this once: F8 has, despite the never-ending plot holes and predictableness, the charm and charisma to get you through. A hefty-ish running time of over 2:15 hours means it’s going to have something about it. Dwayne Johnson and The Stath (yep, he’s back as Deckard… don’t think about it too much!) rock it hard in their love-hate-despise relationship, with the later stealing the show with his charmingly sweet – and very funny – final act involving a baby and some over-sized headphones. Kurt Russell looks like he’s having an absolute blast once more as the suave Mr Nobody, while the rest of the gang carry on their usual shticks to a relative degree of success.
If anyone’s arsed, the story behind F8 is a simple one: Dom (Vin Diesel) goes rogue. Yeah, that’s right: screw ‘family’. The leader of the gang flips his chums the middle finger (figuratively, not literally, although that’d have been funny) as he’s persuaded to ditch ’em by a dreadlocked Charlize Theron as the notorious hacker, Cipher. Obviously, it’s not quite that simple because we know deep down that ‘Dom loves family’, right?
But the plot’s really incidental to all the silliness that surrounds it. You can try to put a heart into this multi-billionaire franchise, but when The Rock redirects a torpedo with his bare hands then taking anything seriously about this series just goes out the window. If you want cheap thrills and a bit of laddy ‘bantz’ then Fast & Furious 8 will do the trick. No more, no less, it does what you expect from the franchise: its big, bold, loud and stupidly fun.