The Fast & Furious franchise continues to surprise and delight in equal measure as it resumes its metamorphosis into a Saturday morning cartoon brought to lavish live-action life.
When his honeymoon is interrupted by the appearance of the notorious cybercriminal Cypher (Charlize Theron), Dominic Torreto (Vin Diesel) finds himself blackmailed into betraying his team and turning his back on his family. But his family won’t give him up without a fight and so begins a globe-trotting race against time to stop Cypher from carrying out her evil plan.
As the Box Office receipts can evidence, the “Fast & Furious” movies have established themselves as the pre-eminent action franchise in cinema today. In the same way that Jason Bourne reshaped action capers in the early 2000s, so this car racing turned action-adventure series has done now and as the Bond producers mull which direction to turn after the lacklustre “SPECTRE”, they could do worse than inject some of the fun and ferocity of the adventures of Dom, Hobbs and the gang.
While the trailer itself gives away many of the key vehicular set pieces, there’s plenty of action to enjoy, including an inspired sequence as Jason Statham escapes from a plane. Not content with revitalising the action spy game, “Fast & Furious 8” also manages to do its very own spin on the played out zombie genre and the results are both terrifying and terrific.
The absence of Paul Walker is felt but “Fast & Furious 8” offers a few potential replacements to see which one sticks. First off is the return of Jason Statham’s Deckard, the principal antagonist of “Fast & Furious 7”, pressganged by Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell) into working with Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to track down Dom. Although Statham has fantastic screen chemistry with Johnson, there’s the lingering issue of his killing of one of Dom’s crew. Kylo Ren can only dream that his killing of Han will be as swiftly forgotten. The other potential Brian Walker replacement is Scott Eastwood as ‘Little Nobody’, an Agent working for Mr Nobody but there’s such a lack of personality to his character, he could easily be replaced by a self-driving car in most of the action scenes. Theron’s villain, on the other hand, is easily the most formidable of the series so far and it’s to be hoped she does what nearly every other villain has done and returns at some point in the future.
“Fast & Furious 8” is a near-perfect popcorn action flick, the kind of film multiplexes were made for. Superheroes may come to dominate and “Star Wars” will no doubt cap the year off but make no mistake, 2017’s blockbuster season started fast and furiously in April.