This energetic action series had already reached its eighth installment with this film, and it still shows no signs of fatigue or slowing down. If we are going to base it on the trailer alone, it promises to be as explosive as ever, including a most incredible scene on a frozen wasteland with a submarine! It was pretty clear that "Fast & Furious 8" (elsewhere also called "The Fate of the Furious") by director F. Gary Gray is the one most moviegoers will be spending their Easter weekend with this year.
Dom Toretto is honeymooning with Letty in Havana when he is accosted by cyberterrorist Cipher to work for her. After Dom and his team (Letty, Roman, Tej and Ramsey) along with agent Luke Hobbs successfully hijacks an electromagnetic pulse device in Berlin, Dom suddenly turns on his team, steals the device and delivers it to Cipher. Secret agent Frank Petty (aka Mr. Nobody) recruits the whole team along with rogue assassin Deckard Shaw to foil Cipher's nefarious plans of world domination.
Vin Diesel's acting as Dom is as stony and stoic as ever, even more so in this installment. Michele Rodriguez's Letty is really one spunky lady. Tyrese Gibson is really playing up Roman's loud loverboy character for laughs in this one. The lovely Nathalie Emmanuelle is still not gelling that well with the close-knit team, but her Ramsey gets to show off more hacking skills here given the plot. As Hobbs, Dwayne Johnson is as macho as he could be, we actually believe he could do all his stunts for real.
Jason Statham gets to figure in a lot of great scenes here as Deckard Shaw. His talents in comedy (previously seen in "Spy") are really coming in handy for him to stand out. I do not think Vin Diesel could do Statham's scenes here. I enjoyed the scenes of Luke Evans and Helen Mirren in their surprise cameos as Deckard's brother and mother. While their scenes may be short, they really packed a unexpected punch.
Charlize Theron can really pull off the sexy villainess role very well as the Cipher, although it seemed she could not keep up the menace all the way to the end. Her right hand man Rhodes though really had crazy vicious eyes on him, easily recognizable as those of actor Kristofer Hivju who played the wildling Tormund on "Game of Thrones." Kurt Russell can easily play these secret agent roles like Petty effortlessly. Scott Eastwood gets to be the comic relief as Reisner, Petty's upstart associate.
As can be deduced from the trailer alone, the whole story about Dom turning rogue against his family is a rather sketchy plot with a predictable ending. But of course, this unbelievable story line is just a basic framework upon which the most outlandishly conceived street racing (in Havana!), car chase (in New York!), prison riot, heist getaway, and gunfight scenes were threaded on for best effects. That super-elaborate chase on the ice with armored cars, tanks, trucks, a bright orange Lamborghini and a nuclear submarine made for a most thrilling climax.
However, if you ask me and my sons, our most favorite action scene in this film would definitely be the heart-stopping yet hilarious sequence of Deckard Shaw fighting against all of Cipher's minions on a flying airplane, all the while carrying a basket with an actual baby inside it. The adorable cuteness of the baby in this film is a real delightful scene-stealer every time. While hardcore F&F fans may feel that the series jumped the shark with these baby scenes, I thought these were refreshing angle for this 16-year old franchise. 8/10
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."