Absurdly dumb, corny fun, with a pinch of heart.

Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.

After giving series favourite Brian (Paul Walker) a fitting sendoff in the last outing, F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) takes over the high-octane helm, to deliver another action-packed instalment of the Fast franchise, or is that the Furious franchise? Well, whatever it is, itís called Fast & Furious 8.

Much like nearly every movie in its arsenal thus far, Fast & Furious 8 begins with a street face, this time in the beautiful streets of Cuba where every woman is wearing daisy dukes, all the guys are lazing around with their car bonnets open and nobody seems to be in work - itís boy racing heaven.

In this Havana haven are Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) enjoying their romantic honeymoon together, whilst partaking in a bit of endangering pedestrians on the side. With fast cars and beautiful women adorning themselves on every street corner, this is either a prostitute-filled dream or a new Fast & Furious film.

Back in the States meanwhile, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is enjoying some downtime, coaching the local girls football (Iím not saying soccer) team, of which his young daughter is a part of. Hobbs isnít exactly the best father mind you, spending weeks out of each month in shootouts and high speed chases across the world in exotic locations, then coming home for a single day of barbecue - and his daughter knows as much.

Sadly, said work comes a-calling with a new job- securing an EMP in Germany - planted at his feet, so itís time to round up the A-Team and blow some expensive stuff up - oh and invite Roman (Tyrese Gibson) along for the ride too just for the running commentary he provides because well, heís useless at pretty much everything else isnít he?

Absurd. Itís what runs through my mind after watching the 50th car do the impossible, defy all worldly physics then turn into a mangled, fiery mess only for our heroes to emerge unscathed - back lit by a mushroom cloud in their wake of course. But absurd has become the cornerstone ingredient of the Fast & Furious franchise - which now sits at eight strong - and likely still has plenty more of that absurdity-fuelled nonsense left in its tank to dole out to fans for years to come.

This particular instalment of the franchise attempts to tease the biggest threat yet, stalwart wheelman Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) himself, who has seemingly gone rogue and turned against his adrenaline-adopted 'familyí. What could be big enough to warrant him to leave a path of destruction in his wake, putting his so-called loved ones in harm's way? Well donít expect to be surprised, because, well, remember that word earlier? Youíll find a more sensical and cohesive plot in an episode of Power Rangers from the 90ís, with the slight semblance of Fast & Furious 8ís reasoning fading away when you ask yourself why havenít any of these people got Facebook?

But heck, fans arenít watching this series for any kind of riveting story, well I hope not anyway.

Fast & Furious 8 - (Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Stephen Merchant, Tyrese Gibson and Charlize Theron)

Speaking of Power Rangers though, itís kind of ironic that Fast & Furious 8 feels far closer to the original 90ís Power Ranger series than the actual recent Power Rangers teen angst re-imagining ever came close to. With the camaraderie amongst the shifting team and the corny, on screen shenanigans feeling right at home, now becoming a staple of a franchise that many have come to love. Aided by a returning cast - such as Furious 7 bad guy turned fellow driver-in-arms Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) in particular - creating a broader dynamic, and even a shock cameo appearance of a now British icon sure to surprise cinemagoers - with the studio smartly keeping it all under wraps. And when it all gels together, it oddly works, with individual parts that would be demonstrably terrible creating an enjoyable whole that keeps chugging along and even attempts to pull at your heartstrings here and there - though mostly failing, because well this film is absurd.

But alas I hear you say, how does the action stack up in Fast & Furious 8? Well on that front, itís mainly what you have come to expect from bald-headed, muscle-clad men seemingly killing scores of bystanders and henchman alike with nary a bloody, dead body in sight. The issue with the Fast & Furious franchise from around 5 onwards, is its incessant need to up the ante on previous outings, resulting it not only everything becoming far more absurd (have you been counting yet?) but losing a lot of its bluster in the process because of it. So yes, Fast & Furious 8 does indeed contain some impressive set pieces - New York and Russia in particular - but when alls said and done, nothing will truly stand out amongst a franchise which jumped the shark many quater miles ago.

Fast & Furious 8 continues the series trend of being dumb fun, stretching the limits of its corniness and absurdity further than ever before, with a plot that dreadingly treads the waters of the recent Mechanic instalment (and you should definitely check that review out if you want a laugh). And oh, did I mention this film is absurd?

But when itís firing on all cylinders, Fast & Furious 8 becomes exactly what fans of the franchise have come to love; with jovial camaraderie and intense yet stakeless action filling each and every frame. For everyone else, if you havenít been pulled in by the one-time racing franchise by now, then Fast & Furious 8 will do nothing to change that.

  • Review by
    David Robinson

    Twitter: @5ypher

    Posted on
    12th April 2017

  • 3 Out of 5 Stars
  • Absurd

    Plot hinges on not having Facebook

    Absurd

  • Set pieces

    Dumb fun

    Cast camaraderie

Film Info

Fast & Furious 8 Fast & Furious 8
Rating: 12A
Release Date: 12th April
Runtime: 2 hr 16 mins
Director: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Stephen Merchant, Tyrese Gibson & Charlize Theron

  • Fast & Furious (series)
  • The Expendables (series)
  • xXx (series)

Yes, whilst many deaths are implies they are rarely shown.

Contains no after credit scene, so don't bother sticking around for one.

In the States the movie is titled The Fate of the Furious.