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Fast & Furious 8, A Fuel-Good Adventure



Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Stratham, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren

Directed by: F Gary Gray

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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.

We comply.

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 stunningvillainess.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  dude by his cover. He has a reason for bowing down to the bad woman’s evil intentions.

Some of Ms 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.

WTF! We say.( Diesel can’t. Because the Indian censor board beeps out all the colourful cocky colloquialisms). 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.

There is an absolutely breathtaking chase sequence where cars are seen flying out of the windows  of skyscrapers onto the streets below.And we thought we had seen it all! 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  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. Kind of.We don’t miss Walker. There is no  pause for nostalgia here.


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