Watch it.

That’s really all I can say.

Watch it.

You’re still reading? Alright let’s get into it, and we promise, no spoilers! I hate spoilers as much as the next guy so feel free to read through as we give our impressions for the 8th installment of the long running franchise and the first chapter of the final trilogy (boy that was a mouthful) for our Fast and Furious family!

First of all, let me be the first to say that I am a big fan of the franchise. With that said, I have watched (and re-watched) a lot of the films and loved each one. Even Tokyo Drift, because of Neela. Fast and Furious 7 (which we will refer to as F- from now on) was a big turning point for fans everywhere partly due to of a number of plot items which we will dive into later, but mainly because of the untimely demise of lead actor Paul Walker. Manly tears were shed during the scene where we see Dom and Brian going out for one last ride as they part ways, a tribute fitting for a beloved friend and family member.

Now we’ll assume that everyone has already watched F7 and before we jump right into 8, there are a few things that we need to refresh ourselves with:

  • Everyone is living happily ever after. Brian and Mia have left the life of crime to focus on their family, Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon, while the rest of the gang is busy with their own thing.
  • Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is behind bars, c/o Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). Deckard was out for revenge for what happened to his brother Owen (Luke Evans) in the previous film, which resulted in Han (Sung Kang) getting killed off.
  • Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) has joined the team and with her on board, they have possession of the God’s Eye as well.
  • Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) survived the standoff against Deckard as he was shot but was brought to a medical facility in time.

We’ve seen all the trailers and we know how the movie will play out but for those haven’t seen anything yet, here’s the deal. Dom, for some reason, betrays the family by working for a cyber terrorist called Cipher. For whatever reason that may be, we don’t know, but the crew is devastated with the sudden turn of events. Mr. Nobody learns about the situation and in the interest of global security, brings the group together only to say that “Hey, remember Deckard Shaw? The guy you put in prison? Well you’ll be working with him to catch Dom!”. Much to the dismay of the group, they know they have no choice and they are now set to face their biggest job yet, bringing the anchor of the family back. Sounds good, huh?

It’s awesome!!! The feeling I had after seeing the first F8 trailer was the same tingling feeling after learning that Deckard Shaw was the culprit behind the murder of Han, that good! And to tell you the truth, the movie did not disappoint. Now before everyone throws their tomatoes and mentions stuff about plot holes and deep issues such as political stances, social agendas and what not, this franchise was never about that. It was always about the ridiculous cars, awesome races (and babes), exciting action, and almost impossible stunts. F8 delivers all of that in spades. And while I felt F7 was a bit too serious than the usual, Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) cracks enough jokes and witty lines in F8 to make the film a treat to watch from start to finish because that’s what he does. The acting here isn’t top notch, but it’s good enough. Don’t expect any award winning performances, even from Academy Award winner Charlize Theron, but then again we go back to that fact that it was never really about that.

The franchise across all films never had the deepest plot to work with, nothing like Inception or The Matrix where the film lets you question your existence in this world, but I guess that’s what makes the film shine. In terms of story, it’s like you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, but is awesome in the sense that you can sit down, grab a cold drink, eat some chips, and enjoy the film without having to overthink about all the plot twists here and there. Sure there are unavoidable holes (how did that happen? when did they find out about it? etc) but I found myself enjoying the film too much to even think about those things. Also, the action just gets more ridiculous with each sequel of the film. In F5, you see a HUGE safe being towed away into the highway. F6 tops that with a car chase across what is arguably the longest runway in the world. F7 raises the bar with cars parachuting out of a plane and jumping from building to building. In F8? Well, there’s a car chase scene right in the middle of the arctic with a freaking submarine breaking through the ice! The stunts just get more and more absurd as the franchise goes along and I LOVE IT. Who knows, maybe at the end of it all we see the crew driving cars through rocket ships or something. One thing we do know is that the action in F8 is exciting and fast paced and there wasn’t any moment that I felt bored because it was spread nicely across a 2 hour and 30 minute-ish film.

If there’s a complaint from me for this film, it’s that I felt the soundtrack was not as good as the previous films. Can’t really put a finger on it but it kinda lacked that head boppin’ and oomph I’ve come to expect from the films. Who could forget the iconic Tokyo Drift tune, or See you again from F7, as well as some classics like Act a fool from 2 fast, Ride out from F7, We own it and Rest of my life from F6. Sure we got Speakerbox and Hey Ma in F8 and don’t get me wrong, they’re good tracks, but it just didn’t get my blood pumping as fast as the tracks from the previous films. It’s a minor nitpick that I can overlook since the action from the film was more than enough to get me into that groove.

All in all? I LOVED IT, every second of it. I can’t believe that the franchise could end after 2 more films but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. If the ladies have their chick flicks, this is man drama at its finest. Gather your group, your barkada, and every dudebro you know and watch the film. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to watch this with a group of 10 guys equally as invested as I was in the series but hey, the ladies will surely enjoy the action too! The film was intense, the stunts off the hook, and the cars a sight to see. Take your “critic” glasses of and enjoy the film as it is, oh and buy a BIG tub of popcorn coz you’ll be glued to your seat for a relatively long period of time.

Check out The Fast and Furious 8 as it opens in cinemas nationwide on April 15, 2017! Check out a few more images from this awesome film below! *Photo credits courtesy of Columbia Pictures*