Adren­a­line rush still go­ing strong

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

It’s been 16 years since Vin Diesel first revved up his en­gine in The Fast and the Fu­ri­ous and this eighth en­try in the break­neck fran­chise marks the first time he’s turned to the dark side.

Yep, Dom Toretto has gone rogue as he turns his back on his friends and fam­ily to cosy up along­side Charlize Theron’s evil hacker Cipher – but is there more to it than meets the eye?

You won’t find the an­swer to that ques­tion here, but Fu­ri­ous fans can rest as­sured that al­though this in­stal­ment takes a slightly darker turn in the road, it’s still as breath­lessly manic and over-the-top as ever.

Ev­ery time the se­ries de­liv­ers a set piece you think can’t be topped it fur­nishes us with Dwayne John­son bat­ting away a tor­pedo with his mus­cle-bound arms, dozens of driver-less cars plum­met­ing onto the streets be­low and a sub­ma­rine – yes, a sub­ma­rine – bear­ing down on our he­roes.

It’s fair to say that F. Gary Gray – di­rect­ing his first Fu­ri­ous flick – knows ex­actly what fans have come to ex­pect; un­mit­i­gated car­nage with the odd laugh and lump in front mo­ment along the way.

He falls short of the pre­vi­ous movie’s bom­bas­tic bril­liance, though, as the se­ries’ reg­u­lar writer Chris Mor­gan – who has penned films three-to-eight – has handed him a story that al­most col­lapses un­der the weight of its over-am­bi­tion.

Turn­ing Dom bad may have led to much pre­re­lease in­trigue and some meaty face-offs with his bud­dies, but his pres­ence on the light side of the fence is sorely missed, es­pe­cially given this is only the sec­ond Fu­ri­ous movie lack­ing the charm and warmth of Paul Walker fol­low­ing the star’s tragic death in 2013.

Theron’s villain is also a big let­down. She doesn’t do a lot be­yond or­der­ing Dom around and is a far cry from the un­stop­pable force and nasty na­ture Ja­son Statham and Luke Evans, re­spec­tively, pro­vided in the pre­vi­ous two films.

Thank­fully, Dwayne John­son (Hobbs) is back in the spot­light af­ter tak­ing a back seat in Fu­ri­ous 7, Kurt Rus­sell (Mr No­body) brings a wel­come dose of nous, Statham re­turns in scene-steal­ing form and there’s the sur­real sight of Dame He­len Mir­ren (Mag­da­lene) shar­ing ban­ter with Diesel.

But if the last in­stal­ment was start­ing to ri­val a Marvel team-up movie for its size­able cast, this one must have re­quired a cav­al­cade of cater­ing trucks to feed ev­ery­one on-set – and it’s in­evitable that more than a few char­ac­ters are given short shrift.

Still, we don’t rock up to watch a Fu­ri­ous flick for its subtlety and thought­pro­vok­ing sto­ry­lines, and Gray di­als up the ac­tion to gen­uinely jaw-drop­ping lev­els, all the while keep­ing his cam­era close to the crunch­ing metal – and bones.

By the end of the bum­numb­ing 136 min­utes you may be ready for a liedown in a dark­ened room, but while Fu­ri­ous 8 falls short of the fran­chise’s best ef­forts, there’s plenty of gas left in the se­ries’ tank yet.

Go­ing rogue Diesel joins forces with Theron’s evil hacker

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