Haters be damned, The Fast & The Furious film series has only gotten bigger, better, and more audacious with each entry. When it comes to no-holds-barred action adventure, there's simply no other Hollywood product that comes close to matching the gravitas and adrenaline of Vin Diesel's signature franchise. Plus, with Furious Seven raking in 1.5 billion dollars worldwide (enough to make it the sixth highest grossing film of all time), it's safe to say that the series has plenty of gas left in the tank.
Now we've finally seen the first trailer for the upcoming eighth film in the saga, The Fate of the Furious. By and large, the trailer promises more of the same high-octane action that has been the franchise's trademark for years. That being said, Fate looks to throw a few wrenches into the formula, with a mysterious new villain, a new suite of settings, and some seriously unexpected plot twists to go along with the typically bodacious action setpieces. With that in mind, let's take an in-depth look at all the secrets and reveals in this three-minute preview.
10. Dom's Crew Are Super Secret Agents
The earliest moments in the trailer depict Dominic (Vin Diesel) and his team raiding a heavily-guarded facility of some sort, possibly under orders from Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), their main contact in the world of international espionage. Based on their apparent amity with the CIA spook, it can be inferred that Dom and company may have found new work as hired guns for the US Government. It's unclear what exactly their mission is, but the writing on the walls of the buildings in the complex is in German, so it seems a safe bet that this sequence is set in Germany. They build good cars, but not good enough to withstand the force of a gigantic wrecking ball traveling at terminal velocity.
Dom's crew is a well-oiled machine, and engaging in riotous acts of ridiculous property destruction is surely old hat to the likes of Roman and Tej by now. As mercenaries go, Mr. Nobody seems to have the utmost faith in their skill and ability, as well as their loyalty to their leader, Dominic Toretto. Of course, since we can reasonably assume that this sequence is from the beginning of the film, an unexpected twist will shake the team to their very core.
9. "Next Spring, Family Will Be Broken"
After successfully escaping from whatever adventure they were up to in Germany, all seems well, though the ominous narration by a female voice proves that things are not as they seem: "Your family is about to go up against the only thing they can't handle: you." Cue Toretto ramming The Rock's car off the road, betraying his family and the very philosophy which has driven his character since the first film.
Even back in the old days when the Fast & Furious series was only about street racing and the thieving of minor scores, Dominic Toretto had always been a righteous champion of the virtues of family and the responsibility which that entails. The main hook for this entry is that something has come between Dom and his core belief, pitting him against his old friends, err, family.
Enter Charlize Theron, the face behind the earlier narration, who is described by Mr. Nobody as "the very definition of high-tech terrorism." Her character, Cipher, has her hooks in Dom, though the reasons why she is able to wrest him away from his family are not elaborated upon in the trailer. However, she is obviously wealthy beyond measure, with access to loads of weaponry and gadgets, including a submarine, as shown in the trailer's climactic finish.
8. Rogue Dom
While Charlize Theron's Cipher is clearly the villain of the film, her motivations are unknown. For the trailer, the immediate antagonist is Dom himself, a fascinating and unexpected twist which will surely lead to awesome fights and dramatic moments alike. Fast Five featured a brutal bare-knuckle brawl between Diesel and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson; while there's no sign of such in this trailer, we can't imagine that a hand-to-hand rematch isn't in the cards for the finished film, especially in light of the recent drama between Johnson and a certain co-star, who is strongly believed to be Diesel himself.
The trailer does feature a scene in which Dom is confronted by members of his team on the streets of New York City. They attempt to incapacitate his vehicle using some type of grappling hook devices and tow cables, but to no avail; American muscle wins out every time, and the sheer torque of his iconic Dodge Charger outclasses his five opponents and he escapes, though not before causing the cars being driven by Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) to wreck in spectacular fashion.
Later in the trailer, the combat extends to on-foot sequences, where Dom is seen wearing some seriously military-chic body armor while using a bulletproof shield to deflect gunfire from Hobbs. Perhaps this is where the two musclebound bald hunks will trade hand-to-hand blows for the first time since Fast Five?
7. Jailhouse Rock
Whatever Dom and his team were doing in Germany, it was definitely an off-the-books mission; after being incapacitated by Dom's betrayal, the next time we see Hobbs, he's in prison, presumably having been disavowed by Mr. Nobody and, by extension, the United States government. For a while, there was talk of Hobbs getting his own spin-off movie; while that may yet come to pass in the future, we can't help but be disappointed that "Hobbs in Jail" is being utilized here, where it can't be explored to its fullest. In the brief glimpse the trailer gives us of Hobbs's incarceration, we see him trading threats with criminals whom he had personally escorted to the clink, and utterly destroying fools during a full-blown prison riot. That very concept would, itself, be enough to sustain a whole testosterone-fueled action movie, but the scale of this franchise has grown so grand, "Hobbs in Jail" only a corner of the whole F&F experience. Come to think of it, we can't believe that there hasn't already been a movie about Dwayne Johnson kicking butt in prison called Jailhouse Rock. We would absolutely pay good money to see that film.
6. Best Frenemies
It's not bad enough that Hobbs is stuck in jail as a direct result of Dom's unexpected treachery; he's imprisoned in the same facility as Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the greatest enemy against whom Dom and his crew had ever faced. This antagonist had elevated Furious Seven with his presence, and we're happy to see him back in the fold, especially with an unexpected twist; in an effort to bring down the traitorous Toretto, Mr. Nobody releases both Hobbs and Shaw to join the team. Hobbs is none too pleased to even be in the very presence of Shaw, as showcased in his gloriously corny one-liner directed at the villainous Brit: "I will beat you like a Cherokee drum."
While the trailer doesn't show the rest of the crew's reactions to this news, we can't imagine they'll be chomping at the bit to work with Shaw. For newcomers to ther series, or those who've forgotten, Deckard made his first appearance at the tail end of Fast & Furious 6, on a quest of vengeance for the maiming of his brother, Owen (Luke Evans), by Dom and his crew. He killed Han (Sung Kang) in cold blood, hospitalized Hobbs, and tried to murder the rest of Dom's family before he was defeated and imprisoned. Now they're just supposed to welcome him to the team? Perhaps the prospect of some type of forgiveness for his crimes will keep Shaw from continuing his quest of vengeance... At least until the next sequel.
Obviously, the loss of the endearingly charismatic Paul Walker will leave a painful hole in the dynamics between the main cast, but it is clear that the filmmakers are taking great strides to shake things up with regards to characterization and interpersonal dynamics amongst the main characters. Between Toretto's turncoat status and Deckard Shaw as the enemy within, there is no shortage of dramatic potential with this new status quo, even when cars aren't getting pulverized in explosive fashion.
5. New Blood
As for casting, this trailer gives us a first look at newcomers Charlize Theron and Scott Eastwood, though it wisely keeps the focus on mainstays like Toretto and Hobbs. Charlize Theron has a unique look and an aura of menace, though Cipher remains just that, a cipher, an enigma whose goals and motivations are completely shrouded in mystery. Meanwhile, Scott Eastwood's character is little more than a chiseled face with no lines of dialogue. He has only a single close-up, which lasts for barely a split-second, though he does appear in the background of a couple other shots holding a gun and acting as backup for Hobbs in a snowy Icelandic setting. He's an agent working for Mr. Nobody, but beyond that, he's a total unknown. We don't know yet if he's intended to become a full member of the team by the end of F8. Perhaps his part will be akin to Eastwood's role in Suicide Squad; a highly publicized part which fueled rampant fan speculation, but who ultimately turned out to be a virtual non-entity.
Even with this fairly comprehensive trailer, there are still a handful of faces which remain unaccounted for. It had been long-rumored that the characters played by Tego Calderone and Don Omar would be returning for the first time since Fast Five, but they have yet to make an appearance in any F8 material. Likewise, the much anticipated debut of Helen Mirren into the fold will have to wait until the next trailer, or possibly even the completed film. Her role is also a total mystery, though fans are speculating that she might be playing the Shaw matriarch.
4. Superfluous T&A In 2017
No matter how serious or dramatic a James Bond film would get, they would almost always find a way to include a scene featuring scantily-clad women, either sunbathing poolside, as arm candy at a high-stakes poker game, or as part of an exotic harem. Even Spectre managed to feature a totally pointless scene of the lovely Monica Bellucci in sexy underwear... Though we suppose that was the entire point. Likewise, Fast & Furious, even though it has strayed far from its street racing roots, still manages to invariably include a sequence with sexy females gyrating to the pulse of an overly bass-heavy hip hop beat. It's just the way it is, and probably will be, until the end of time.
In a bizarre twist, the setting of the obligatory twerking in the trailer is none other than Havana, Cuba. Yes, THAT Cuba. The Fate of the Furious is the first big-budget Hollywood tentpole to shoot in the formerly forbidden island, and the sequence showcased in the trailer consists almost entirely of bare female skin, with little in the way of actual geographic scenery of the long-hidden island nation. Whether it's worthy of a facepalm or a round of applause is up for debate, but, for better or worse, it's absolutely true to the spirit of F&F. The budgets may be larger and the scale massive in contrast to its predecessors, but F&F, among other things, will always be about hot ladies dancing around cars, no matter the global setting.
3. Bringing A Submarine To A Car Chase
Every F&F movie has upped the ante in terms of the size and scale of their numerous car chases. Fast Five featured a bank vault smashing through helpless cop cars, and Fast & Furious 6 had an enemy tank causing destruction on a densely populated bridge. Furious Seven had the best action sequences in the series thus far, with the mountainside chase being a triumphant exercise in unbridled creativity and pure spectacle. However, based on the trailer, F8 looks to be well on its way to topping its predecessors, courtesy of director F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton).
The trailer begins with a wrecking ball cutting through enemy vehicles like a... Well, like a wrecking ball. Then it gives Tej (Ludacris) his very own tank, armed with heavy machine guns, which are used to tremendous effect in the trailer. However, the real show-stopper happens in the closing seconds of the trailer, set on a frozen lake. Our heroes seem to be kicking butt and winning the battle, when Cipher pushes a button on a console and a submarine rises from under the lake and bursts forth, sending a handful of unlucky vehicles flying through the air like insignificant debris. Then, the submarine begins chasing the heroes' cars, cutting through the ice like a hot knife through a frosty ice cream cake. It's insane, absurd, and maybe just a little bit stupid, but it's also wholly original and a fantastically imaginative feast for the eyes. Even eight films in, F&F still comes up with ways to surprise us and continuously up the ante. Maybe one day, the series will be forced to go back to its roots and embrace smaller-scale action sequences, but, from the looks of things in the trailer, that won't be happening in Fate of the Furious.
2. New York City
When this eigth entry in the series was first announced, the only plot detail Vin Diesel was willing to divulge was its setting, New York City. Now that the trailer is upon us, we're somewhat disappointed to report that NYC only features in a small portion of the footage, though it will surely have a much larger role to play in the film itself. New York City is famous for so many things, but chief among them is its traffic, and we don't like what we've seen with regards to how F8 will handle NYC's notoriously congested traffic.
The trailer contains an image which may not sit well with local residents; while it only takes up a second or two of the trailer, there is a bit where a villain, armed with a vehicle-mounted minigun, opens fire on a street full of civilian vehicles for no apparent reason. New Yorkers have had more than their fill of terror inflicted upon the civilian population since the turn of the 21st century, and we doubt they'll appreciate seeing innocents getting gunned down in the streets during an adrenaline-fueled action beat. Furious Seven managed to have a high-speed car chase (complete with full-on drone warfare) through the streets of LA with more-or-less minimal casualties, a handful of cop cars notwithstanding. As much as we love watching cars get smashed to bits, the image of an entire street full of people in their cars getting shot to death en masse simply comes across as being in uncharacteristically poor taste from the typically bouncy and irreverent series.
1. That Kiss
The trailer's closing scene is a real doozy, solidifying the extent of Cipher's control over Dom. She and her new lieutenant attack the base of his former allies, using a bomb to knock everyone to the ground. Roman and Letty are shown in close-up, unable to fight back against this surprise attack. As Letty pleads with her estranged husband, he submits to a kiss from Cipher before the two of them leave. Presumably, in the final film, there will be more to that scene than Dom and Cipher showing up, kissing in front of Letty, and leaving, but it is certainly a striking image, that of Dom betraying his wife. He has a sad look on his face, like he has no choice in the matter, opening up questions and theories about his unexplained change in allegiance.
Could redemption still be in the cards for F&F's fallen hero? There are some things a team just cannot recover from. In Fast & Furious 6, Letty was amnesiac and found herself working for Owen Shaw until she realized that she belonged with Dom and her old family. This time around, will Dom be able to return from the brink in the same way? He doesn't seem to have amnesia; he is willingly fighting against his old family. Perhaps he is being blackmailed by Cipher, or he is somehow disillusioned with the state of his life and wants to tear it all down. We probably won't know for sure until Spring, but we can hardly wait to see what lays in store for Dom and his family, and if they will ever be able to return to their old status quo in light of Dom's newfound villainy.
What do you think? Are you looking forward to The Fate of the Furious? Did we miss any details in the trailer? Sound off in the comments below! The Fate of the Furious hits theaters on April 14, 2017.