FAST & FU­RI­OUS 8

Empire (UK) - - ON.SCREEN - NICK DE SEMLYEN

THROUGH THE STREETS of Tokyo? Check. Off a bridge in Brazil? Check. From the top of one Dubai sky­scraper to the top of an­other? Dou­blecheck. Could it be that af­ter seven nitro-blasted movies, the Fast & Fu­ri­ous fran­chise is run­ning out of places at which to throw fast cars? Hell no, says the di­rec­tor of the new one. “Our goal at the out­set was to fig­ure out, ‘How do we top 7?’” says F. Gary Gray. “The last Fast was amaz­ing, in terms of the stunts, the ac­tion and the set-pieces. But we have a few sur­prises, you know. Cuba is one of them.”

The start of Fast & Fu­ri­ous 8 sees Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Ro­driguez) fi­nally en­joy­ing their long-de­layed hon­ey­moon. Hav­ing picked Ha­vana as their des­ti­na­tion, they are, of course, liv­ing their ro­man­tic break a quar­ter-mile at a time. “We open with a street race,” re­veals Gray. “It’s all about go­ing back to the ba­sics, and where bet­ter to do it than in a place with hard­core Amer­i­can mus­cle cars from 60 years ago? Very quickly Dom is in­volved in an amaz­ing chase through the city and off the beach and down the Malecón. We’ve made his­tory there by bring­ing the first he­li­copter into Ha­vana. The lo­cals crowded around the mon­i­tors to see their city from the air for the first time.”

Af­ter cel­e­brat­ing with Cuban cigars (“Don’t tell my doc­tor, but I smoked one ev­ery day,” laughs Gray), Team Fast headed to their other lo­ca­tions, which in­clude Ice­land and, in­trigu­ingly, the not-fa­mous-for-its-speedy-traf­fic New York. Is it safe to as­sume that Dom, the gang and their new neme­sis, hacker Cipher (Char­l­ize Theron), won’t be stop­ping at red lights? “Yeah, we didn’t want the Lord Of The Rings ver­sion, with them go­ing 35 miles an hour,” says the di­rec­tor. “Pulling off high-speed chases in the city of Man­hat­tan — that’s a feat in it­self. It’s pretty in­sane what we’ve been able to do. To shoot ac­tion in places like Times Square has al­ways been some­what im­pos­si­ble... but we’ve made it pos­si­ble.” The City That Never Sleeps is about to be­come The City That Never Brakes.

Vin Diesel re­turns as premier petrol­head Dom Toretto. Be­low: Team Fast & Fu­ri­ous hit Cuba.

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