Opening April 12, 2017
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Writing credits: Chris Morgan
Principal actors: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriquez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Scott Eastwood, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron
How many films can claim as many successful sequels as this one? The first version came out in 2001, and, as the proud producers report, “there is already a new generation of fans.” Once again, a team (or rather a “family”) of hard-hitting protectors of the righteous and the good must fend off an evil force. Hobbs (Johnson), Letty (Rodriquez), Roman (Gibson), Tej (Bridges) and Ramsey (Emmanuel) join forces, under the pressure of a government agent Mr. Nobody (Russell) and his apprentice Little Nobody (Eastwood), to eliminate Cipher (Theron). A newcomer in the group is Deckard Shaw (Statham) with whom Hobbs had struggled, while both were serving prison terms. Missing from the group is Dom Toretto (Diesel); he has changed sides and now works for Cipher, a cyber terrorist determined to acquire a certain suitcase with atomic codes. Let the action begin.
The real stars of the film are the tattooed muscles of Dwayne Johnson!! And then there is a small baby. Although Dom preaches family, his version tends toward patchwork: he is married to Letty, begins an affair with Cipher, and learns that he has had a baby with Elena (Pataky). The third, and greatest, stars are the vehicles: cars (vintage as well as new), trucks, airplanes, submarines, etc. which race, crash, and fall out of park houses, with or without drivers. This took an enormous amount of planning. The film boasts a cast/crew of more than 1400 (I counted) talented people who worked together for this final impressive result. It was filmed in Cuba, Iceland, and the USA (Cincinnati, Atlanta, and New York City). The scenes in Cuba are especially appealing, something we can appreciate, thanks to former US President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castor, who made peace on behalf of their countries and opened the borders to many endeavors such as this first Hollywood film made in Cuba since 1963.
Perhaps the storyline of Fast & Furious 8 will not hold your attention with the same suspense as #7 did, but it should meet the expectations of the dedicated viewers, and will pave the way for #9 which is already in the make. ( )