Fast and Furious 8 review: Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson return for more highway hijinks in the eighth instalment in the franchise. But, has the fate of the furious been sealed with a tired big-budgeter that finally runs of of steam? Not likely.

Fast and Furious 8 review by Paul Heath, April 2017.

Fast and Furious 8 review
Fast and Furious 8 review

What to do when you get to that difficult eighth movie? It’s undeniable that The Fast and the Furious series of movies have done really rather well over the 16 years that they’ve been present in local multiplexes, but really its success was only elevated to the next level for Universal back in 2011 when the franchise totally reinvented itself. The addition of Dwayne Johnson to the growing cast was arguably the biggest contributing factor to its successful rebirth – well, along with the ludicrous plot, well-crafted cartoon-like characters and witty one-liners too. Still, four years on from that movie you’d expect it all to be wearing a bit thin – but that’s the point with these films – all of that really doesn’t matter and Fast and Furious 8 might just be the most bat-shit crazy instalment yet, and one of the most fun.

Fast and Furious 8 opens in present-day Cuba, Vin Diesel‘s Dominic Toretto and new wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) kicking back on the sun-drenched beaches, drinking endless daiquiris with not a care in the world. That is until Charlize Theron’s Cipher enters Dom’s life. The villainous vixen blackmails the former street racer into returning to a life of crime, totally turning his back on his wife and beloved family – returning characters Hobbs (Johnson), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges). Cipher’s hold over Dom sets him set off on a daring mission to steal world-ending weapons of mass destruction for her, something which immediately upsets the U.S. government. They set in motion Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody, this time complete with underling Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), who immediately recruits Hobbs to stop Dom’s reign of rogue terror. However, a further ingredient is thrown into the mix – the last film’s bad guy Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), a man who has the skills required to track down Dom and Cipher. Hobbs and co. must work together with Shaw to find Dom and Cipher before the nuclear codes are united with the nuclear weapons, and the world is put into huge, irredeemable danger.

Fast and Furious 8 review
Fast and Furious 8 review

Fast and Furious 8, or The Fate Of The Furious as it is in some territories is, as you might expect, tons of fun. Clearly upping the ante and the ridiculousness of the last few movies (and them some), the film gives the fans exactly what they want. For all of its throw-away plot, re-introductions of former characters which may or not make sense in the grand scheme of things, one can’t help but be delighted by its many charms. As I mentioned before, Dwayne Johnson’s introduction in episode 5 was a series highlight, and here, arguably Hollywood’s biggest movie delights once more. Early scenes with him and Statham’s returning Deckard Shaw are a definite highlight, the banter between the two hilarious to watch play out, but it actually Statham who later steals the show in a thrilling climactic action scene, one involving a very unique accessory. The addition of Helen Mirren is also a genius move, and her role has to be seen to be believed. Just brilliant.

F. Gary Gray is the other franchise newcomer though the filmmaker has deep connections with some of his cast. He previously directed Diesel in A Man Apart and both Jason Statham and Charlize Theron in the remake of The Italian Job in 2003. Gray clearly has an eye for action sequences, and those featured in Fast and Furious 8 are some of the grandest, and most stupendous yet. His style suits the film and both the New York City and Iceland-set sequences will, quite literally, blow your minds.

Fast and Furious 8 review
Fast and Furious 8 review

The film possibly suffers from being slightly over-long with some sequences heavily drawn-out, and of course there are many, many plot-holes. But, as mentioned before, in a film that so deliciously delights, and often surprises, these minor flaws do not matter one little bit as the viewer is having so much of a good time that one really doesn’t have time, or indeed the will to dwell on them.

Fast and Furious 8 lives up to the title and is deserved of its place in a franchise that shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Fast, furious, fun, fantastical movie-bliss.

Fast and Furious 8 review by Paul Heath, April 2017.

Fast and Furious 8 is released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 12th April 2017.

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Fast and Furious 8