The 8th film in The Fast and the Furious franchise has arrived in cinemas, and is being viewed as the ending to a trilogy involving Fast and Furious 6 and Furious 7. It sees Dom, Hobbs, and the family going up against Charlize Theron as a cyber terrorist known as Cipher.
The major plot point of The Fate of the Furious is Dom turning against the rest of the gang and assisting Cipher as she steals an EMP, Russian nuclear launch codes, and a old submarine. In order to stop him, Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell) brings in Dom’s team, including franchise staples The Rock, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, and Tyrese Gibson. They are forced to team up with Deckard Shaw, Jason Statham’s antagonist from Furious 7, in order to track down Dom and stop Cipher.
The problem with the story, beside a slightly over complicated plan from the villain, is that as soon as Dom’s motivations for joining Cipher are revealed it’s fairly clear how a lot of the film is going to play out. This just means there are no real stakes to the film, as there just doesn’t feel like any of the major characters are at risk, or the Cipher will achieve her poorly defined plan. But in truth The Fast and the Furious films haven’t been about the plot for a long time.
Ever since Dwayne Johnson joined the franchise in Fast 5 each film has tried to top itself in the action sequences of the film. The seventh film featured the gang driving their cars out of a plane, and they just couldn’t one up it at all in this film. The big sequence from the promotional material was the sequence with the submarine, and the description of it actually comes across as far more exciting than the actual scene. There is one huge action scene in the middle of the film that is just ridiculously over the top, and so hard to believe at all. In fact the only great action scene in the whole film comes from Jason Statham, rather than any of the regular cast, meaning it feels more like The Mechanic than Fast and Furious.
But my big problem, as with many of The Fast and the Furious is some of the characters. Vin Diesel’s Dom, despite everything he goes through in this film, manages to remain such a one-note character, never deviating from brooding. Tyrese Gibson as Roman is still one of the most annoying characters in action films. He exists purely as someone for other characters to deliver pages of exposition to, and doesn’t actually contribute to the film. And the newest addition to the team, Scott Eastwood as Mr Nobody’s junior officer is completely forgettable.
But worse than all of these is the treatment of the female characters. The majority of the women in the film purely exist as eye candy, but the role of Nathalie Emmanuel’s Ramsey is also problematic. Her main role in the film is to be objectified and fought over by Ludicrous and Tyrese. The films have always had a problem in their treatment of female characters, and that doesn’t look like getting better any time soon.
It would be rare for a franchise to be attracting new fans by its 8th film, and The Fate of the Furious certainly won’t be. It’s the same old over the top, badly acted, misogynistic mess that it’s been for the last couple of installments. The franchise did find the balance in Fast Five, but has become too overblown since then, and Fast 8 is no different.