Exclusive: “I Wanted To Bring Something Different To The Franchise," Says FF8 Director F. Gary Gray

Exclusive: “I Wanted To Bring Something Different To The Franchise," Says FF8 Director F. Gary Gray

By Samantha Ofole-Prince/Photos by Matt Kennedy & Universal Pictures

There are plenty of reasons to love this eight installment of the “Fast & Furious” franchise.

From the camaraderie of the cast, the banters, the comic delivery, the car carnage to Charlize Theron’s intense portrayal of ultimate bandito, “The Fate of the Furious” is certainly the best to date.

Directed by F. Gary Gray, who combines the humor of his directional debut “Friday,” with the action of “The Italian Job,” the film kicks off in Cuba where Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are enjoying marital life. After winning a drag race to save his cousin’s car, Dom is approached by Cipher (Theron) who blackmails him into turning against his chums. The world’s most notorious cyber-terrorist has plans for world domination (don’t they always) and she plans to use Dom to achieve this goal by any means necessary. When Dom’s crew learn of his betrayal, their goal becomes to prevent global annihilation and save him from her evil clutches.

From crazy car stunts to cool locales, you know exactly what you’re going to get with the “Fast and Furious” films and this one doesn’t disappoint.  From Cuba, a city well known for its car culture, there are stops in New York, Russia and Berlin. Gray, whose versatile filmography includes the biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” adds a little zest to this latest offering with the comedy and action, but still follows that old familiar deep-seated theme of family, which has been entrenched in every film. The filmmaker, who directed Vin Diesel in “A Man Apart,” Dwayne Johnson in “Be Cool,” Jason Statham and Charlize Theron in “The Italian Job,” clearly has a connection with the cast and it shows.

“I wanted to bring something different to the franchise, and it all starts with the story. This is completely different; it’s nothing we’ve ever experienced in the Fast franchise,” says Gray who takes the series in a fascinating new direction.

Franchise favorites Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Tyrese Gibson, who still serves as comic relief, return as well as previous cast members, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Dwayne Johnson, Elsa Pataky and Jason Statham, who made his notorious introduction in the “Fast & Furious 6.” New additions include British actress Dame Helen Mirren whose actions are key to resolving the plot and of course Theron.

Some of the highlights of the film are the brilliant and highly amusing banter between arch enemies Deckard (Statham) and Hobbs (Johnson) who continuously rain insults at each other. There’s also a carefully choreographed and outrageous car race through the streets of Havana, an incredible car carnage in New York and an engaging jail break, but the mesmerizing cornrow-wearing, cold and calculating Theron as the ballsy badass super-villain is simply the icing on the cake.

With a combustible combination of reggaeton and hip-hop, this turbo-charged action movie is guilty pleasure the box office is certainly going to love.

(L to R) Roman (TYRESE GIBSON), Tej (CHRIS LUDACRIS BRIDGES), Little Nobody (SCOTT EASTWOOD), Hobbs (DWAYNE JOHNSON), Ramsey (NATHALIE EMMANUEL) and Letty (MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ)
A car race through the streets of Cuba - Universal Pictures
Dom (VIN DIESEL) is recruited by Cipher (CHARLIZE THERON) in The Fate of the Furious
Letty (MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ) and Dom (VIN DIESEL)
Photo Credit Universal Pictures
Theron as Cipher
The Fate of the Furious