So…..What is the one thing that means everything to Vin Diesel’s iconic character Dominic Toretto? Let’s just say that one thing that means everything can play a major weakness to the strong minded character. Family! The fact that in the eighth instalment, Toretto must turn his back on family and be their enemy to the ones he loves; the viewer will want to know the reason, considering the most iconic anti hero must go rogue and work with terrorists. To give that reason of why would be a major plot spoiler. Not necessarily on the scale of ‘I am your father’ spoiler but near enough in a lateral and literal sense.
When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before. Yes! That mysterious woman is better known as Cipher played by Academy Award winner Charlize Theron. Here, Theron has joined a film franchise so late but is very welcome to dominate as the main villain. Place your bets that Theron will be coveting a well deserved best villain MTV Movie award, casting aside her Oscar prestige in 2003. It can be noted she will blackmail Toretto to steal encryption codes, nuclear devices and cause mayhem through his skills of fast cars and chaos, but whatever that blackmail is should be a reason alone to want to see what will push Dom’s buttons and what will make him relent.
Moreover, Michelle Rodriguez is ageing fine like a vintage wine, looking more attractive and tougher than ever. Jason Statham has stepped his performance up by being more comedic as he turns to the good side, working with Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs. In a way, it is Dwayne Johnson that almost steals the show, with his witty insults to Statham, as they exchange their male testosterone to each other like a brutal tennis rally. Adding the other regular furious team members, ‘Ludicrous’ and Tyrese Gibson, give their all as they bring the cheesy humour, providing the light heartedness for mixing the palette that the seriousness of the film contains.
The action sequences are always a pleasure to watch and never disappoint. We see Theron’s Cypher character commit atrocity in New York City as she controls cars to crash into each other, but a huge multitude of cars that crash and burn is hard evidence that the franchise never holds back on its huge budget. That’s what these films have become. Big budget mainstream action will never garner an Oscar nomination but will garner the usual lucrative amount that it deserves because these films are simply enthralling.
The climax of the film reaches a collision with fast cars and a submarine on the icy grounds of Russia. This action sequence puts the ‘Die Another Day’ classic scene to shame. The question lies within: Can the franchise continue comfortably without Paul Walker? Let’s just say, as long as Walker’s Brian O’Connor will get subtle mentions, this will suffice to keep his spirit alive. Overall the franchise belongs to Diesel. He is the lead that carry’s the film like carrying the Olympic torch. His performance is excellent as he has evolved his character to become an icon of brooding masculinity and coolness. ‘The Fate of the Furious’ (American title) is that a ninth instalment is guaranteed and will eventually catch up with James Bond’s reckoning.
| Aly Lalji
Action, Thriller, Crime | USA, 2017 | 12A | 12th April 2017 (UK) | Universal Pictures | Dir. F. Gary Gray | Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham