After the unfortunate death of Paul Walker in 2013, many fans would understand if Furious 7 would be the finale of The Fast and the Furious franchise. When Vin Diesel announced that he wanted to complete one more trilogy of films, especially with the eighth entry being a way to honor his former cast member, who knows how the films could continue without Walker. But with the direction of director F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton), Vin Diesel’s star power and producing, and screenwriter Chris Morgan, now on his sixth Furious outing, this franchise doesn’t show signs of slowing down.
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has settled down with his wife, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), enjoying their life away from the globetrotting danger. That is until cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) confronts Dom and coerces him to work with her, turning him to against his family. This forces his team to regroup and take down Toretto and Cipher.
This entry has a solid storyline thanks to Morgan, but you also know it wouldn’t be a Furious movie without its levels of insane stunts and action sequences. This story swats away plot logistics and the laws of physics like flies at a barbeque. One of the reasons that these films have endured because the stakes have always been continuously raised with each entry; this adventure is not any different (a military submarine, an army of cars in New York) to ensure fans will continue to be entertained. Another point of consistency in these film is the sense of loyalty, brotherhood, and family – retaining the core crew, including Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, and late-game additions and game changers Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. (Paul Walker is alluded to, and still lives off-screen). The globetrotting shenanigans continue as well: from sun-baked Havana and New York City to a frozen wasteland in Russia.
Kurt Russell reprises his role as government operative Mr. Nobody, but now is shadowed by straight-man sidekick Scott Eastwood, and Game of Thrones wildling Kristofer Hivju drops in as Cipher’s menacing, Viking-bearded number two. But the most surprising additions to this testosterone ride are Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren, two women who have no intention of just sitting on the sidelines and playing the opposite sex in this film. While Mirren’s file is more of a cameo, Theron truly sinks into the role of Cipher, the blonde dreadlocked, key-coding sociopath, resembles a tech CEO of the 21st century and speaks like a classic Bond villain. Despite her Dr. Evil-ish goal – nuclear warheads and controlling the international power grid – she’s probably the best villain that this franchise has had. The way that she was able to pull Diesel’s outlaw ringleader Dominic Toretto to the dark side and forcing him to betray those closest to him was genius (No spoilers here).
Despite the dark undertones that we have seen from the previews, this film is thankfully much funnier and lighter on its feet. A lot of this is thanks to Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, with their love-hate bromance feel like it became the heart of the movie. Statham’s cockney you-wish-you-never-messed-with-me style and Johnson’s jacked-up 90’s-movies-tough-guy role with a heart of gold play off each other wonderfully and has you looking forward to the recently announced spin-off with their two characters.
The film ends with more than one literal bang, especially reaching towards its closing moments. But the series’ fate has not been sealed; it’s merely to be continued: Per Diesel, there are still two sequels due by 2021! This film is a great early start to the summer movie season and if will have a great time with this high-action sequel.