'Fast & Furious 8': A fuel-good adventure (Review By Subhash K Jha, Rating: ***1/2)
I have a confession to make. Charlize Theron's villainy in the 8th segment of the very fast and fairly furious franchise, didn't scare me one bit. She is way too beautiful to be intimidating in any irrevocably evil way, even when she threatens to kill an adorable little baby.
And when we see her playing with her computer to nuke-destruct civilization, we can only say, 'Baby, you can do it better with your killer looks.'
"Fast & Furious 8" is a curious blend of wish fulfillment and fantasy play. It's partly froth and partly filth, like, junk food for the soul.
You know this is an fiercely formulistic con- game with appalling acting even by Oscar winners like Ms Theron and Dama Helen Mirren who appears as Jason Stratham's mom wearing too much makeup and looking out of place. From Shakespeare to Dwayne Johnson is like being caught between The Rock and a hard place.
But Dame Helen can claim solace in the company she keeps. Every character, big or small, appears ridiculous at some point in this irresistibly high-powered homage to the roar of the engines as they scrape roadways that have seen better days. The only actor who manages to create a credible character is Jason Stratham. He takes the goings-on seriously and actually imparts an edgy enthusiasm to contempt-spewing lines thrown at Dwayne who seems to be happy just snarling his way through the storm.
Diesel actually sheds lengthy teardrops rolling down his chubby cheeks in a sequence that dares us to laugh.
The plot could have been written on toilet paper while the writer was daydreaming on the potty. It's one helluva heroic joyride for Dominic who while honeymooning in Havana(the city's aerial shots at the start of the film are a touristic delight) is accosted by the stunning villainess. The plot disbands the F & F gang only to bring them back together in unexpected ways when Dominic(Vin Diesel) turns traiter. But wait. Don't judge the Adude by his cover. He has a reason for bowing down to the bad woman's evil intentions.
Some of Theron's attempts at being mean are unintentionally hilarious. When Diesel's wife Letty(Michelle Rodrigeuez) is watching Theron catches hold of Diesel and smooches him on the lips.
Theron's character Cipher has never shown any romantic interest in Diesel in any part of the narrative. So why the kiss? We may well ask and by extension, why the film at all? Well, the answer to that lies in the velocity and vivacity with which the narratives gambols from stunt to stunt.
"Fast & Furious" continues to possess the power to surprise, shock and embarrass us, sometimes all together in a whoop of muddled emotions to go with the mixed martial arts that the characters throw at each other like kids pelting popcorn at a screening of Godzilla Goes Bananas.
This is a film that audaciously extends the parameters of its pyrotechnics, taking wild leaps of a faith and not caring about minor details like logic rationale and continuity. You will see a character at the beginning of the film racing his swanky car with Diesel's rickety van. You know that character is meant to appear somewhere again. But the writers just don't know where to put him.
But that's okay. There is room for everything and everyone in this baggy after-thought including a cute baby who is part of the film's climactic stunts. The baby, named Brian after the late much-missed Paul Walker, has a ball.
We do too. We don't miss Walker. There is no pause for nostalgia here.
Fate of the Furious': Frenetic-paced and formulaic (Review By Troy Ribeiro, Rating: ***)
Also known as "Fast and Furious 8", and stylised as F8, this is the eighth instalment of the stupendously successful cars-and-guns franchise.
The film, apart from being utterly ridiculous, loud and funny, is a bloated, entertaining action-packed thriller, where every element of 'suspension and disbelief' of filmmaking is thrown into the script and for some strange reason, it all seems to work.
This film is a blend of a Bond film, "Mission Impossible" and a car-chase film. In this edition, Cipher (Charlie Theron) the supervillain, is a genius evil hacker who plans world domination. She sneaks up on Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) in the middle of his Cuban honeymoon with Letty (Michelle Rodriquez), and coaxes and later threatens him to work for her.
The plot gets complicated with Dom going rogue, stealing a very powerful electro-magnetic pulse generator device from his buddies, who had earlier retrieved it from the evildoers at the behest of Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and hands it over to Cipher. On the face of it, it appears that Dom has flipped loyalties overnight.
Then there is also the family drama with Mom (Hellen Miren) blackmailing Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to support his brother Dom. And the undercurrent animosity between Hobbs and Deckard is another story altogether.
Joining the ensemble cast is Scott Eastwood as Kurt Russel's cop partner, Little Nobody - for more of the high-octane drama. Though he does not have his father's on screen charisma, he is charming and noteworthy.
The veteran cast members are clearly at home in their roles and they seem to be having a great time even without Paul Walker's 'Brian' in the film. With a dim-witted script and dopier dialogues, the cast does enough to not really make you miss him that much. There is enough chemistry between each of them that lights up the screen.
The action is as over-the-top as you would expect from the franchise and as each edition comes out, they try to outdo the last. The set pieces are big, bad and action-packed, staged with a flamboyance that's surgical in its precision.
The ending, featuring a Russian nuclear submarine is insane and totally in the realms of fantasy, which if you don't seek logic, pulls it off effortlessly. The film ends on a sweet note on the tenets of friendship and family.
Overall, this edition seems to have enough octane to pull through another edition.
Actor Tyrese Gibson hopes the next instalment of 'Fast and Furious' franchise goes to Africa and he wants actors Matt Damon and Denzel Washington to join.Read More