Finally I got to see this movie. And it was everything advertised on the tin, bigger and sillier and more explodey than Furious 7. These have now become my favorite superhero movies. Sorry Marvel. But while none of Dom’s team runs around in colorful spandex, there’s absolutely no pretense at them being ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. The sly wink at Dwayne Johnson’s power of super strength and toughness tells us what this really is. And they’re superhero movies that have no pretensions about being serious, but still manage to have a solid emotional core because goddamnit, the cast is still utterly solid.
I could basically write a thousand words that’s nothing but high-pitched squeeing, but let me tell you my eight favorite things:
- Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) coaching his daughter’s soccer team and leading the girls in a haka. If you are having a bad day, this will instantly cure your sadness.
- Deckard (Jason Statham) doing an extended action sequence in which he takes out a bunch of goons in an airplane while juggling the world’s most adorable baby. I did not even know that Jason Statham + Baby was a combination that worked, but now I need it in my life.
- Deckard and Hobbs having a whirlwind romance in which they realize they have basically the same back story and bond adorably over it.
- Tej gets to drive a tank, okay.
- Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) is still in, and I love how she deals with both Tej and Roman trying to get with her.
- The villain, Cipher (Charlize Theron) is a super manipulative white woman with blonde faux-dreds. (Seriously, she looks like she got imported directly from Boulder.) She comes in pretending to be an innocent lady just having car trouble to hook in Dom, and then gets creepier from there — while still playing the “this is your choice to make” card constantly to force Dom to be complicit in everything that happens. Considering her opponents are a racially diverse team with a token white guy (Jason Statham) (not counting Nobody or Little Nobody here) it feels like deliciously pointed commentary.
- Deckard and Hobbs in prison and metaphorically pissing on each other’s shoes is also delightful. The level at which this movie doesn’t take itself seriously, and pokes fun at itself, is high in this scene.
- Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is still taking absolutely zero shit, and while she does not kick anyone’s ass while wearing high heels this time, she feeds someone to a submarine propeller and it’s acceptably satisfying.
You’ll note that I don’t really mention Dom, because he’s… kind of there. He’s the motivating force for everything happening, and while I understand that his Wrinkled Brow of Stern Manpain was necessary, it didn’t engage me the same way watching Deckard and Hobbs yell at each other did. Sorry, Dom. The manly man hero is often the least interesting character out there.