After Furious 7 earned critical acclaim and more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office last year, fans of the action franchise are excited for the upcoming Fast 8, which is currently scheduled for release in April 2017. Directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton), the film sees yet another star-studded ensemble team up, with big names like Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren joining Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and the rest of the family.
Ever since he made his first series appearance in Fast Five as DSS agent Hobbs, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been one of the more prominent figures in the films. His character has grown from an adversary of Dominic Toretto's crew to an ally. As arguably the leading action star working in Hollywood today, there's much interest in seeing Johnson return for Fast 8, especially after many felt his role was cut short in Furious 7. The charismatic actor gets the spotlight in the latest behind-the-scenes video from the forthcoming flick (watch it above), detailing a scene involving a youth soccer game.
The short featurette details Hobbs and his daughter's team performing the Haka, described as "a dance of a true warrior," as they look for a spiritual edge when the contest is tied. Johnson briefly mentions its significance to Polynesian culture, saying that it was a truly special occurrence for him. Choreographer Layne Hannemann was the one who designed the sequence, and he actually sent it to New Zealand so it could be blessed by their elders, a nice touch that illustrates the team's commitment to getting things right.
As time has gone on, the Fast & Furious franchise has become one of the most diverse offerings in mainstream Hollywood, a key reason why the movies do so well commercially (especially internationally). It's great to see a massive studio tentpole highlighting the Haka, as it's something rarely seen on the big screen. This is the latest instance of Johnson paying respect to his heritage in his film career; he is voicing the Polynesian god Maui in Disney's animated movie Moana, which hits theaters this November. It's apparent that this is something very important to the Rock, and he's thrilled to share it with millions of moviegoers over the next several months.
It will be interesting to see how the Haka factors into the film. From the video, it looks like it will be a fun character moment at the beginning of Fast 8, perhaps an introductory scene as audiences catch up with Hobbs as the story gets going. The scene in question doesn't contain any of the franchise's trademark souped cars or explosions, but it should still be a treat to watch. Gray calls the sequence one of his favorite moments in the entire film, so hopefully he, Johnson, and Hannemann all deliver and give viewers something amazing they'll never forget.
Fast 8 will open in U.S. theaters on April 14, 2017.
Source: Universal Pictures