The F8 Of The F8rious: Str8 Down The Middle

Wow. What a stupidly silly title.

Now let’s get one thing str8 really quickly. You can have a film degree and enjoy a dumb car movie, as I’ve shown before. You can also enjoy a dumb car movie and still have issues with it. If you plan on telling me to “just turn my brain off and have it fun”, you might want to consider leaving because that is my least favorite idea when it comes to film criticism. I can have fun while thinking, and I often do.

Picking up after the success of Furious 7, we have the first film to be fully made since the tragic death of Paul Walker. A lot of people think they should’ve quit making these films after he passed, but I don’t imagine that’s what he would have wanted.

Are you assuming what a deceased person would want even though you’ve never even met them, Nick? Let’s keep moving.

Dom and the gang have all gone their separate ways after the previous mission, as per usual. Dom and Letty are honeymooning in Cuba and beating strangers in races with shitty cars. Suddenly, he runs into a woman who blackmails him into following her. She goes by the codename Cipher, and she also happens to be Charlize Theron. Most of the story is Dom following her orders while being tailed by his old crew. You can figure a lot of it out from the trailers.

LET’S DO A LITTLE BIT OF SPOILERY STUFF HERE. YOU’RE PROBABLY FINE, BUT HERE’S THE WARNING ANYWAYS.

Remember Elena? She debuted in Fast Five and became Dom’s girlfriend before he realized Letty was still alive? Well it turns out she was pregnant and never told him, and Cipher’s secret is that she has Elena and their son held captive.

You know Dom, he’s real into family. That’s one thing you gotta know!

Deckard Shaw, the villain from the last film, is now forced to team up with the gang. He’s also out for vengeance, because Cipher got his brother (the villain of Fast & Furious 6) into the scenario that ended with him in the hospital.

Dom steals an EMP and a Russian nuclear football which eventually leads to the bonkers submarine chase scene from the trailers. He finds a way to outsmart Cipher, so he can ensure the safety of his son and help his family out.

The crew has a rooftop barbecue, waiting for another two years to visit us on the big screen.

SPOILERS SHOULD BE ALL DONE NOW. TIME FOR GENERAL REVIEW STUFF, I THINK.

As I’ve previously stated, this franchise works best when it leans into how silly and absurd it really is. These characters and their vehicles have never even heard of physics before, but as long as the film follows it’s own rules, you can buy in fairly easily.

And what would be the #1 rule of these films? Family. That’s what always comes first. Dom even says “You never turn your back on family, even when they do” at some point or other in the past, just to make it pretty clear.

Why then, would they be willing to forgive the man who murdered one of their own previously? Somewhere between F6 and F7 was the retcon that Jason Statham’s character was the one who killed Han in Tokyo Drift, but now he’s basically just another part of the gang? I absolutely understand that he has some redeeming acts in this film that endear him more to the gang, but that doesn’t change the fact that he killed Han and then sent a bomb to the front porch of Brian and Mia’s home. You can’t preach about the importance of non-blood related family and then forgive the murderer so easily. It goes against so much of what these characters have believed in.

Early on in the film is the scene from trailers where Dom first turns on the crew, flipping Hobbs’ vehicle over and stealing the EMP. This section of the film (and most of the scenes with Theron) feel a lot more self-serious and overdramatic than the rest of the film. While it isn’t as bad as F4 (because not much here is), it definitely drags the film down a bit, especially after the bombastic fun of Furious 7.

That said, there is one scene in particular near the end that really saves the day and steals the show. I’m not sure I want to spoil it.

OKAY, SCREW THAT, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THIS SHIT.

Jason Statham has a badass shootout on a plane with Dom’s baby in a carrier on his left arm. It is pure adrenaline and also just plain goofy as hell, and it might be the most fun scene in the entire film. Similar to Spy, Statham plays off his tough guy image by switching between gun-based murder of anonymous henchman to tossing one-liners at an infant. He totally sells it, and the scene really just works. One of the highlights of the franchise, for sure.

I can’t help but wonder if a buddy action movie with Statham and The Rock wouldn’t work better if it didn’t have the whole “I murdered your friend” thing in the background. Guess I have to go write my first screenplay now…

Since I’m still in spoilers, can I just say the phrase “zombie cars” and we all be cool with it? That was also pretty cool and also dumb.

SORRY, BACK TO NORMAL AGAIN.

In the end, I’d say the film is pretty much what you would expect for the most part. The action is great, the plots are cheesy, and Ludacris is always super entertaining. Can we get him in every movie just a little bit?

On average, the odd numbered films tend to be better. Here’s hoping that the ninth film tops them all and also has an even better pun.

The Fate Of The Furious: 6/10

And now, for the new updated Fast ranking

 

  • Fast Five
  • Furious 7
  • The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift
  • The Fate Of The Furious
  • Fast & Furious 6
  • The Fast And The Furious
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious
  • Fast & Furious

 

 

Nick Potter

Co-founder of The Filmsmiths. Degree in Broadcast & Cinematic Arts with a minor in Cinema Studies from Central Michigan University. Pretty much the barbecue sauce of people but I'm doing my best.

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