We now live in a world in which a movie franchise about cars – which should have been limited to, and not exceeding, one movie – now has an eighth installment.
That’s not to say the whole franchise has been bad. The last three have been pretty great and can actually go as a trilogy pretty well. When it comes to this one, though, my opinion differs quite a bit.
There comes a point when there is fatigue in a film or TV series, and with the eighth film in this one (Also called The Fate of the Furious), it is very evident. The past four films have been basically the same, structurally, with the screenwriters doing nothing more with their wit than finding new, ridiculous things to do with cars. But at least in the last three, they managed to find new stories to loosely tell in order to have all those insane sequences. In this one, they scraped the bottom of the barrel, picking out a plot point from Fast 5 that should have been buried, but isn’t so that they have the basis for another cash-grabbing blockbuster. What’s even funnier is that the ending – albeit moderately clever for a Fast and Furious movie – basically negated the sixth and seventh films’ purposes. It then became clear that they don’t really care about making sense.
What I will praise this movie for is that it embraces its over-the-top nature. On occasions there are some serious moments (this movie went much, much darker than I expected it to), it’s all about cars jumping off of and crashing into things. The way all of that looks is pretty great… Except towards the end of the last act in which it looks like someone just sneezed CGI all over the frame and decided that looks great.
However, when it comes to this action, it just becomes repetitive when you see the same things, basically, over and over and over and over again over the course of so many films. Sure, if people find it entertaining, then why not? It’s just that you can’t rely on absolutely mad set pieces to sell your movie if that’s just the norm.
On the note of repetition, that really sets in when the movie closes out, because it’s basically the same way the last three did. It’s like there’s a formula to follow and they’re strongly faithful to it.
Charlize Theron is, by far, the standout performance in this movie, because she says more than one-liners. That is the only reason. Everybody in this movie, except maybe Vin Diesel’s character, are given nothing at all (Jason Statham’s character apparently forgot everything he said in the last movie). Ludacris returns for his annual paycheck as a computer geek of some kind. Tyrese Gibson gets paid to be an idiot for two hours. Dwayne Johnson is a daughter-loving badass. Michelle Rodriguez is Vin Diesel’s wife. That is it. Eight movies in, and that is all these characters are given. Even if it’s a franchise as dumb as this one, that is inexcusable.
Speaking of one-liners, this movie has some laughably cheesy dialogue, even for a Fast and Furious movie.
Despite all of that, I will say it’s an entertaining movie, if you leave your brain at home to watch it.
Now that I’ve reviewed the actual film, I’ve arrived at what is the biggest tragedy of all: the fact that it exists.
Paul Walker died in the middle of filming Furious 7, and the send-off he received at the end of that movie was pretty great (despite the fact that they absolutely milked his death to make a billion dollars). That should have been it. No more.
But no. They had to make more of them. This is complete disrespect to (and I’m sorry Vin Diesel) the flag bearer of these movies. His character is even mentioned in this film, and towards the end there is a kind of ‘tribute’ to him, that shows nothing more than the fact that they still are using his death as a way to boost publicity for these movies.
There just has to be more than making easy money sometimes. They’re not even done yet – there are two more of these planned apparently -and you can bet they’ll go huge at the box office. It’s just appalling how much his death was used as a marketing tool for the last film, only to have them continue to make more. I probably feel too strongly about this, and it really shouldn’t matter that they’re making more, but the fact is this money-making machine won’t stop, especially if they’ll plaster ‘For Paul’ or ‘From Paul’ to everything just to try and get more people to watch it.
Sure, these films are entertaining, and make you shove popcorn in your mouth and have fun, with this one being no exception, but they just have to stop. Everyone who made this movie should go make something else. Preferably, something original that doesn’t need me to ignore my brain. If not for me, or anyone else, then for Paul Walker.
On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:
Fast and Furious 8: MIHIR