It’s been a few years since the tragic passing of Paul Walker and the release of the 7th Fast and the Furious film and now with the release of the latest in the long running franchise, it is clear that Paul had a huge impact on the overall feel of the films, even if his role was much smaller in the more recent retellings. Focusing instead on Vin Diesel’s character and developing Dwyane Johnson’s character Hobbs.
I went into this latest movie with fairly low expectations but knowing I would be entertained by the over the top action and bad acting that often is front and center on display in any of the F&F movies. In that regard, I was not let down but with the lacking interaction of Dom and Bryan to add some form of humility and a real feeling of friendship and brotherhood between them, it ended up feeling even more two dimensional than its previous films.
The plot starts in typical Fast and Furious fashion and it wasn’t long before the comfort of a well-worn pair of shoes that is this franchise had me settling into my seat with a smile. But as the plot started to kick off and the first act began to gain pace, the movie started to lose even the small amount of realism that the others had managed to maintain. Not that a car jumping between sky scrapers had much realism, but the point still stands.
Moving into the second act the movie starts to lose all sense of realism, sometimes even throwing physics out the window in favour of a good scene. The law ceases to apply to the characters and no matter the level of damage committed there seems to be zero actual repercussions. Despite the inflated stakes the movie tries to run itself up on, the feeling of danger for the characters and their lives never really manifests itself.
Despite the many flaws, I found in this movie though, it is good fun. If not for the influence of Paul Walker in the previous films I would have perhaps enjoyed it even more, but the characters didn’t react in the ways we had begun to learn for them. The flight scenes are well executed and fun and the car chases and action are as always top material to watch.
If you plan to watch this movie for its raw ability to entertain then you will not be disappointed. But if like me you grew up with the franchise, you may find yourself a little disappointed in the direction it is being taken. As much fun as watching them blow up millions of dollars’ worth of cars is, I wouldn’t mind another movie about street racers outwitting cops and drug dealers again.
Overall I enjoyed the movie and it will earn itself a place in my collection amongst the others, I look forward to what other ridiculous stunts they put into the next one.