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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 25, 2017

Fast & Furious 8 Movie Review: The Fast Cars Series Loses Its Steam And Has A Flat Tire In This Boring 8th Movie In The Franchise

IN ADS, the title is “The Fate of the Furious”, but in the actual movie’s title credits, the title is simply “Fast & Furious 8”. The first “F&F” movie in the franchise was shown 16 years ago and this is the 8th edition, so it’s an average of one movie every two years. The next sequel is due for 2019 and judging from how 8 came out on screen, we’re seriously not that interested anymore with 9.

We know “F&F” is just meant to be a testosterone-fueled popcorn action movie with jaw-dropping stunts and yes, it used to be fun before even if plot and character development are not considered to be that important. But F&F8 has gone so over the edge and certainly looks quite idiotic compared to the previous ones which may be cartoonish but still interesting to watch. The plot of F&F8 is less credible than even an episode of “Paw Patrol” and “PJ Mask” (yes, I watch these cartoon shows because of my grandchildren.)

It does have a bombastic opening. Dominic (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are in Cuba for their honeymoon when Dom saves a relative’s dilapidated car from being repossessed by a loan shark who owns a very fast car. Dom challenges the loan shark to a street race where the winner takes it all and they stage an unbelievably outrageous race through the streets of Havana, with Dom driving the burning car backwards to the finish line then plunging it straight to the middle of the ocean.

Dom is then accosted by a mysterious woman, Cipher (Charlize Theron, who was last seen as Furiosa in “Mad Max”), a ruthless terrorist who makes him turn against his team. Charlize is so good in her evil villain role that she literally swallows the zombie-like Vin Diesel in their scenes together, threatening that he has no choice but to follow her or else... It turns out she has a secret ace against him that forces him to cooperate with her. But his friends do not know this and they feel terribly hurt by his traitorous betrayal.

Meantime, Hobbs (The Rock) finds himself in the same prison as his old foe, Deckard (Jason Statham), and they stage a prison riot to escape. They must now team up with Michelle, Chris Ludacris Bridges as the technology expert, Nathalie Emmanuel as the hacker and Tyrese Gibson as the comic relief, to thwart Charlize’s evil plans with the help of government agents Kurt Russell and Scott Eastwood (son of Clint).

The devilish schemes of Charlize takes the characters to the streets of New York where a carmaggedon involving hundreds of cars raining down from parking buildings and, later, to a frozen naval base, where the interminable climax involving a submarine takes place.

Director F. Gary Gray’s treatment of the movie is a sort of anything goes in its storytelling, like a character you thought has died turns out to be still very much alive and even engages in lengthy fight scenes with a baby boy in a bassinet in his hand. We even meet his British mom who turns out to be an Oscar winner!

If you’d just go with the flow and not ask too many questions, you might still enjoy the movie even if it’s running time is just too long and we got so very bored halfway through. At this point, the franchise that started as a film involving fast cars and sexy women has devolved into being a crime flick with James Bondish villains and is primarily meant to be a cash cow that is profitable world wide.

You’ve actually seen it all before but it still works at the box office because there are just too many viewers who want to see expensive cars being demolished on screen, even if some of them are actually just miniatures as shown in the film’s ‘the making of F&F8’ docu.