The below review was written by a one Joseph Harrity and is full of SPOILERS...
The underlying theme of the Fast and Furious franchise is family, and Fate of the Fast 8 Furious is no different. In fact, the screenwriters crank it up to eleven when it comes to family.
The movie begins with Dom and Letty honeymooning in Cuba. Dom who is the quintessential family man, if quintessential means low level street racer turned international crook/hero (whichever the script calls for in that moment) who loves his family and has relatives on every continent. Letty and Dom are enjoying Cuba and fresh off saving Dom’s nephew from a local thug by winning a street race (no one saw that coming…NOT!). What was different about this street race is that it only contained may 5 one-liners. Anyone who has watched a F&F movie knows this is a miracle. Anyways, Dom and Letty are in love and living it up on the island when Cipher, played by Charlize Theron, shows up. She poses as someone in need of car assistance. Lucky for her Dom knows a thing or two about cars and stops to help. We soon find out that Cipher needs Dom’s car skills for something, and uses the power of a cellphone to coerce him to assist. We don’t know what is going to happen but from the pace of the film at this point we know it will be both fast and furious. There was also and interesting moment where Dom and Letty talk about why they haven’t talked about having a baby. I’m sure that won’t be significant later.
We then cut to Luke Hobbs giving a pep talk to what we find out is his daughter’s youth soccer team. While a very funny moment, it was neither fast nor furious so out of place in the film. The utter lack of one-liners in this scene also takes the viewer out of the film. There is no place for family friendly soccer games in the F&F family. While The Rock’s kid is playing in the championship game we find out the USFG needs The Rock to do a mission off the books, and if he fails then he goes to jail. None of this makes sense since the Federal Government would be the ones to put him in jail so you would think that they would have some control over the situation. Luke calls Dom and he calls the family and then they steal an EMF device from some unknown black site in Berlin. We get to hear Tyrese and Ludicris banter and kill people so that is fun.
The second the mission is over and the family looks to be in the clear, Dom betrays everyone and steals the EMF devices. This betrayal lands Luke in jail, and by a huge twist of fate (see what I did there) he lands in the cell directly across from the one and only Dekard Shaw. This is after he turns down an offer from Kurt Russell’s junior associate in the “I’m Nobody” secret club. In a turn of events that no one saw coming the doors of the prison open and Shaw tries to escape. The Rock works to stop him by beating the shit out of everyone that happens to walk in front of him. The riot ends with Shaw and Hobbs facing off in front of Kurt Russell. While this is happening Dom is on a plane and has to be reminded of why he betrayed his family. It was to save his family. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?! Dom has another family? Well the woman he fell in love with in episode 6 had a baby and it is Dom’s. They were kidnapped and held hostage in order to get Dom to help. He doesn’t like it, but goes along. Cipher also kills Elena, which is sad, but at least there won’t a love triangle when all is said and done.
Turns out that the USFG can’t do anything right and needs a cop turned crook, his adopted family, and their most recent nemesis to track down Dom and Cipher. They use God’s Eye to track Dom to their exact location and Dom/Cipher attack and make off with God’s Eye without batting an eye. Everyone is mad that the revolutionary tracking software is missing, but fortunately the developer of the software is a member of the family and would have a back up copy somewhere. Oh wait, they don’t even ask Ramsey if she has another copy? Well good thing that Jason Stathman is there cause he knows how to track an un-traceable airplane, something that the Federal Government can’t do for some reason.
The family ends up chasing Dom around New York after he steals a nuclear football from some Russian dudes. Cipher users the power of hacking to take control of a bunch of cars to help along the way. Good thing for her there were over one thousand hackable cars near by, and can be controlled by a single person using a tablet on an airplane. Dom did make a pit stop to meet a mysterious woman played by Helen Mirren, who is definitely not Shaw’s mother (spoiler alert she is). Anyway, Dom gets away through the power of his driving and leaves the family in the lurch. He now has nuclear launch codes that can’t be changed for some reason. Oh yeah he killed Shaw too.
The family doesn’t know what to do, but fortunately Kurt Russell comes to the rescue because the government finally provided some assistance to this mission by letting them know that they had to Russia with their cars to stop the terrorists from capturing a submarine from some other terrorists that had one. With the power of his Dodge Charger Dom takes down the Russians, allowing Cipher to hack what we can only assume is a USSR era sub that has no internet connection, but it works because the screenwriters say so. Ramsey and Ludicris do use their magic computer skills and smart brains to stop Cipher from launching the nukes.
Our team of heroes has to use their fast and furious driving skills to go ten miles to prevent the sub from getting away. While the Cipher is busy driving a sub from an airplane two men in jetpacks access the plane. GASP! Deckard Shaw is alive and he brought along his brother. Turns out that the British lady that Dom met was Shaw’s mother. They then take down all the bad guys on the plane to rescue Baby Dom. Once they succeed, Dom can know unleash the power of Family on Ciphers goons and take is place at the head of the pack. Using his superior driving skills and ability to shout over engine noise and submarine engines saves the day by using a heat-seeking missile to destroy the sub. This was after Ludicris saves Tyrese from drowning and The Rock uses his bare hand to redirect a torpedo.
At the end of the day the family is safe and everyone is friends again. They share a meal at a rooftop BBQ in NYC. The rest of the family is introduced to Brian (Lil’ Dom) and there is a happy ending. Cipher did escape, and they still don’t have the God’s Eye, and they probably started a war by attacking a Russian base, but if the family is happy then I’m happy.
As someone who is not a fan of the franchise this movie was fun to watch, especially when setting in between two other movie-goers that are all in. There was comedy, action, drama, and the “Devil’s Bunghole”. In the end what more can you ask for in the eighth installment in a street racing movie? If you are fan go see the movie, if you’re not go see it with people that are fans. Just don’t ask too many questions like: how does Dom know Shaw’s mom, why is the USFG so incompetent, why doesn't Dom have 3rd degree burns after blowing up a submarine, and whose house are they eating at in New York at the end of the movie? It is probably better if you don’t think too much about it.
P.S.: I’m not sure if Ramsey is part of the family or not. One could assume so because she is in this movie and working with the team. But that leads to more questions like what are they doing when they aren’t together. They have clean records so they could hang out, but we find out that Tyrese and Ludicris don’t know anything about her. We know that they want to bang her, and are openly competing for her. All the while Tyrese is talking about sending dick pics to other women in front of her. Why would she be interested. The point is there is not character development since we don’t even know her last name.