You may not expect a semblance of story from a franchise instalment that specialises in creating meaningless and contrived adrenaline rushes but you do at the very least expect that the very elements that endeared it to many fans will continue to fire on all cylinders. Other than the cameos by Helen Mirren and the on-airplane comedy action featuring the baby and Jason Statham, there’s very little to interest even the fans, here.
For a franchise that began with friends stealing Panasonic VHS players, got into random car races for the heck of it, had undercover cops infiltrating their gang, progressed to working for clandestine CIA groups, got inclusive with multi-racial new recruits and fought against international terrorists, this one appears to have run out of fuel totally. In fact, Dominic Terretto(Vin Diesel) and team have to deal with a turncoat in their midst and keep away from him till it’s clear why he did what he did. And it’s all for the family...Dom insists! Well Dom and Dumb go together I guess. The laconic, expressionless action star gets into his lazy act with all the speed- money, digital trickery and fast paced editing can summon up and it still does not get to be a happening film.
This wannabe high octane entertainer has less of it than the 7th outing. There’s far more dialogue in this one than anyone can stomach. Charlize Theron as the Cipher, an international web-hijacker terrorist is thoroughly wasted in a role that barely gets her into a sweat. I can bet Dwayne Johnson/The Rock is in this for the moolah. And the rest of the cast with their fancy weaponry and conspicuous four-wheeler branding, play the game in a style that’s devoid of grit or gumption.
Clint Eastwood’s spawn Scott Eastwood has little to do here other than look serious or buffoon around when called for and Kurt Russell has nothing to do but lend his marquee class to a venture that has long since been running on hot air and stunt-action ballast. Russian submarines, nuclear war heads, WMD’s and icy dessert-scapes are thrown in for visual effect but they really don’t make much of a difference here. The befuddled scripting and jumpy helming make a royal mess of what could have been a well-seasoned entertainer.