If it isn't obvious in the title, Fast & Furious 8 (or The Fate of the Furious, depending on which country you're in) is the eighth movie of The Fast and the Furious franchise.

This time, the family is up against their most formidable enemy yet: Charlize Theron!

I'm joking; she isn't formidable at all. This femme fatale serves as a front for the big reveal that the team is up against: Dominic Torreto himself! That's right; they're fighting each other now because when you're eight movies into a franchise that's primarily based on cars and street racing, there isn't much else left to do to warrant a new movie.

Dominic Torreto is recruited by Cipher, a criminal underworld super boss (played by Charlize Theron), into becoming her minion. His job is to go around the world and do standard bad guy chores like stealing nuclear codes, betraying friends, and attacking government facilities. You know, the usual.

By now, you've probably picked up that this movie doesn't have the most original plot. I'm not trying to be an ass about it, but what's annoying is I don't have a problem with a summer flick being predictable. What I do have a problem with is how a movie with such a straightforward, predictable plotline became such a muddled mess.

[Spoilers follow]

The movie starts, oddly enough, with an actual race! Although it quickly devolves into absurdity, it's still great to see that the movie has not forgotten its roots.

Soon after Cipher appears out of nowhere and recruits Dom, she blackmails him into doing her bidding by showing him something on her phone. It is later revealed that she has kidnapped Elena (from Fast 5) and their son.

It doesn't make any sense. Dom saw Elena again in Fast & Furious 6 and there wasn't any indication that they had a child at all. Plus, she worked with Hobbs! I know he can be as dumb as a bag of rocks (pun intended), but he would've known if Elena was pregnant with Dom's child.

This isn't the only head-scratching moment in the movie, though. With Dominic Torreto going rogue, the Fast and Furious team gets help from a familiar face. Jason Statham returns as Deckard Shaw and joins forces with the heroes to accomplish his goal of capturing Cipher.

Something about this doesn't make sense. It's one thing to have a former Special Forces officer team up with a bunch of car hobbyist criminals, but having said team reluctantly accepting this guy's proposal is dumb and illogical.

The guy straight up murdered their friends in the previous movie and in Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift! This wasn't one of those accidental stray-bullet things, either. He set Han's crashed car on fire in the middle of Shibuya in Tokyo! How are they not trying to kill him?

[Spoilers end]

After these mind-boggling twists, the movie then moves in a fairly predictable path.

Let's face it. You're not watching a Fast and the Furious movie for its complex, deep storylines. You're watching it for the balls-to-the-wall action. Well, Fast & Furious 8 delivers this in spades.

The movie doesn't have the best action sequences in the franchise (you can only see so many speeding car shots until they lose their magic), but it still has some pretty good ones. Like the one where the team harpoons Dom's car but he still manages to get away, and the borderline comical one where they are torpedoed while racing the same submarine. This is an actual Hollywood movie, not a delinquent 8-year-old's fantasy.

I didn't see anything from director F. Gary Gray's Straight Outta Compton roots or even the Italian Job (which also had Charlize Theron and would have been thematically closer to a Fast & Furious movie) to say that he made this movie his own.

The cast is as charming as ever with the additions of Jason Statham and Scott Eastwood, plus appearances from Hellen Mirren and Kurt Russell. I'm tempted to say that this is probably the most entertaining iteration of the family among the eight movies.

Charlize Theron is the perfect antagonist. Her ability to fit and transform into any role (even in a noisy blockbuster with little to no substance) is amazing. Her cool, calculating demeanor was only hampered by the lackluster way her character was written. How I wish that the writers took more time to get into the meat of her character; because when she was spouting nonsensical philosophical crap, I almost bought it. Almost.

Statham is a welcome addition to the group, as his chemistry with Dwayne Johnson's character is fantastic. His comedic timing is impeccable and he is definitely charismatic in his own way. Although his character doesn't make a whole lot of sense in context with the previous movie (wherein he was the main villain), Statham was one of the standouts in Fast & Furious 8.

The family is still the family. Although there wasn't a whole lot of character development, they're still the anchors of this franchise. And yes, Tyrese has more of those inappropriate racist jokes that you hate yourself for laughing at.

In a nutshell, Fast & Furious 8 is an entertaining summer blockbuster flick that you'll probably forget after a few days. The action is as crazy and absurd as you would expect, but delivers nothing as iconic as in Fast & Furious 7's Burj Khalifa scene. The cast was still as charming as ever but still bland as hell. The plot was uninspired and predictable.

If you love the franchise, then you'll love this film. But if you don't, there's really nothing new in this one that would change your mind. 

About the author: Don Cabuhat

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