Friday, 21 April 2017

Review: Fast & Furious 8

Fast & Furious 8
Cert: 12A / 136 mins / Dir. F. Gary Gray / Trailer

Sixteen. As someone who spends a not-inconsiderable amount of time in the cinema, I've seen various trailers for Fast & Furious 8*1 and, as a result, had wondered how many times the word "family" would appear in the final script. It's sixteen times. I counted. To put that in 'cinematic catchphrase' context, the second Paul Blart movie featured A Fat Man Falling Over a mere eight times. Make of that what you will, but I'm at least glad that Peggy Mitchell's secured a job as a screenwriter.

So despite my thinking that the F&F series really should have been laid gently down after part seven, it's evident that it may well be the last great franchise that Universal have. It's certainly the best vehicle (no pun intended) for the dubious talents of Vin Diesel*2, who at least has the rest of the cast to share the limelight and ease the burden of the script (which is frequently excruciating, but who's here for the dialogue, right?).

The film is, in pretty much every sense, exactly what you expect it to be (and no less than you'd expect from the eighth installment of any series). From the opening race around the streets of Havana in which Diesel pushes an old banger literally into the red, this is impressively ridiculous stuff. Things take a predictably mawkish turn when the aforementioned 'F'-word rears its head, but the faux-sentimentality doesn't get in the way of what is essentially a petrol-burning action flick. Old faces and characters appear like at a reunion party, past transgressions not necessarily forgiven, but put on hold out of general goodwill. And once more, the screenplay takes the same cavalier attitude to technology and hacking as it does to the general laws of physics*3. F&F8 may not be everything it could be, but it's certainly everything it needs to be to meet its own selection criteria.

Best line is awarded unapologetically to Jason Statham for "Let's go, Scarface. These arseholes aren't going to kill themselves…".

Fast & Furious 8 is largely an immense amount of fun*4, albeit the perfect definition of Bubblegum Cinema™. It's brightly-coloured and distracting, of no real nutritional value, and after a couple of hours you realise it's pretty much without taste.

Plan your viewing schedules accordingly.

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
The movies which preceded it.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
If you like your testosterone and burning rubber to be on a massive screen, yes.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Pretty much.
Whether that's a good thing is up for debate

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
It's not even the best of its series, to be fair.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I heard.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: This film stars Michelle Rodriguez, who performed voice-work in Turbo alongside Sam 'Windu' Jackson and Bill 'BB-8' Hader.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 And seriously Universal, you attach the tagline "Fate of the Furious" to the eighth movie in the series and not one of you thinks to type it "F8 of the Furious!" on the poster? You had one fucking job, mate. And don't even go thinking about 'Fast10-Furious, because a friend of mine's copyrighted that shit already. [ BACK ]

*2 Although obviously he's more than acceptable when he has three words to say as the voice of an animated tree. Make of that what you will, as well. [ BACK ]

*3 Notwithstanding that the film's centrepiece of an EMP-device which not only disables electronic devices but magically shuts down wholly mechanical engines and opens all locked security gates (y'know, the setting you'd definitely have in the event of a power-cut), Vin Diesel's car is clocked doing over 200mph to get onto the boarding ramp of a moving plane, yet he manages to come to a stop within 40 feet once he's in the cargo hold… [ BACK ]

*4 That said, I'll admit that the bits about the unstable egomaniac who's set to launch nuclear warheads just to prove a facile point tasted a touch more bitter than they were no doubt intended. Maybe I should have seen the movie before last weekend, to be fair… [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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