First off, let me say that Fast and Furious movies have just as much concern with being realistic as the Marvel films do. So I hate when people complain that they stopped watching after the fourth installment since the action sequences have gotten too ridiculous. Of course they have! Fast and Furious is not about how realistic the action can be, but about the creativity that goes into it. With each movie, the filmmakers raise the standards of what they can come up with. Things no one else has thought of before–constantly surprising us each time.
Watching Fast and Furious–especially this new installment, The Fate of the Furious, or Fast Eight–is like eating a seven-layer cookie. There are so many sweet and savory flavors happening simultaneously that it’s nearly impossible to distinguish each one from the others. It’s overload. So instead you indulge in one giant flavor combination. You’re not looking for nuance.
That’s what these films have become. It’s great. They’re action-packed, mindless, reliable fun. Except this time, they falter slightly in that they try referencing too much from the previous films. I like to consider myself an avid Fast and Furious fan. Yet, there are characters reintroduced that had me scratching my own head trying to remember their significance. We figure most of it out with ease, and the other stuff isn’t all that important anyway, but there are still a little too many insignificant callbacks for even the least casual fans–which just breeds convolution.
Fortunately the story gets itself out of its mess, even amidst a twisty plot. The premise is definitely the most involved out of the series. Basically, Dom (Vin Diesel, in case you’ve never seen any Fast and Furious films before and just stumbled upon a review for the EIGHTH INSTALLMENT!), goes rogue and is mysteriously working for an infamous hacker, Cipher (Charlize Theron). Apparently she’s holding something over Dom’s head, but we don’t know what yet.
It’s all very interesting and truly grandiose. Punctuated perfectly by Theron’s haunting and twisted performance, a la Hannibal Lecter. It raises the film to a new level, taking an admittedly soapy installment of a beloved franchise and making it berserk. In a good way.
While “Fast 8” feels almost like a landing point for the series–the end of a chapter, if you will–something tells me it’s going to become more of the jumping-off point, or transfer station, for future films. The movie doesn’t necessarily give us anything new, but definitely meets expectations, which is all we ask.