Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs
Channing Tatum as Bradley O’Conner
Liam Neeson as Bernard Shaw
Helen Mirren as Verona Shaw
Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty
Ludacris as Tej
Tyrese Gibson as Roman
Luke Evans as Owen Shaw
and Ronda Rousey as Cornelia Shaw
Any successful pitch for Furious 8 must answer three main questions:
- How do we move on without Paul Walker? (While knowing that emotionally, we never will.)
- What about Helen Mirren? (And does her role have to be the obvious, ‘she’s Jason Statham’s mother’ storyline?)
- How do we top planes out of the sky… and tanks out of trucks… and a vault in the street… and the entire Dubai sequence – that shit was ridiculous.
All of these questions will be answered as we go. But, as with all things Fast and Furious, we start with the most important thing in the world: La Familia.
Let’s get to it…
He used to…. ah… He used to have a barbecue every Sunday after church.
For everybody in the neighborhood.
If you didn’t go to church, you didn’t get any barbecue.
Every single day he was in the shop, and every single night,
he was at the kitchen table with Mia, helping her with her homework.
Even after she went to sleep, he’d stay up for a few more hours so he could learn the next chapter and help her the next day.
I remember everything about my fathahh.
– Dominic Toretto, Fast Five
A pair of gloved hands grip a chrome black steering wheel.
Some kind of matte black sports car (product placement TBD) cruises down a nearly empty Washington D.C. street at night.
We see a strong chin clenched stoically behind the wheel of the car. The chin belongs to a white male in his 60s. We watch his lips move as he speaks for the first time. His accent is Irish: “Almost there.”
From the man’s earpiece, we hear a strong female English-accented voice respond: “Took you long enough.”
The man pushes down on the accelerator and speeds forward. Suddenly, he whips a right at an intersection and comes to a stop in front a familiar building:
The Pentagon – Washington D.C..
The man sits in the driver’s seat, waiting. He checks his watch. Suddenly, we hear the sound of a helicopter over head. The man looks up into the sky as the chopper cruises overhead. The man speaks into his Bluetooth earpiece: “Was wondering when you’d catch up.”
“Very funny,” the female voice responds. “Stand by.”
The man in the driver’s seat watches as THE HELICOPTER FIRES TWO GIGANTIC MISSILES right at the Pentagon building. The missiles explode the base of the building, leaving a giant hole in the foundation of the fortress.
The man speaks into his earpiece: “Your aim’s not what it used to be. Almost missed the target.” He checks his watch impatiently.
The woman fires back: “My aim is as good as it ever was. I’ll see you back at the warehouse in fifteen minutes.”
Sirens begin wailing in the distance. Suddenly, from the burning hole in the Pentagon wall, a figure emerges, strutting through the frame like a total badass. The figure approaches the man’s car and opens the door. He lowers himself into the passenger seat.
The man is Deckard Shaw. (That’s Jason Statham to you.) And he’s just escaped from the Pentagon.
Deckard looks to the man in the driver’s seat and addresses him: “Thanks, Dad.”
For the first time we get a look at the man in the driver’s seat. It’s Bernard Shaw, Deckard and Owen Shaw’s father. And he’s played by Liam f**king Neeson.
Bernard Shaw hits the gas and flies off into the night, the authorities in hot pursuit. As we watch the first car chase of Furious 8, we realize that Bernard Shaw is possibly the best driver we’ve ever seen. Eventually, Bernard ditches the authorities and pulls into the parking lot of an abandoned warehouse. He parks the car. Bernard and Deckard exit the vehicle.
The warehouse doors open. A women paces forward toward the men confidently, her helicopter stashed inside the building behind her. This is Verona Shaw. And she’s played by Helen f**king Mirren.
“That’s for getting thrown in prison… Now let’s go hunt down the man who put you there.”
The Shaw family turns and walks towards the warehouse together, ready to stir up some major shit.
Note: Right now you’re saying: ‘But I thought we were going to do better than ‘Helen Mirren is Jason Statham’s mom’.’ And to that I say: We are. Trust me. But while we’re going to give Helen more layers than just being Statham’s mom, she’s also his mom because it’s still incredible casting, even if it is obvious.
I remember everything about my fahtahh.
Dominic Toretto often talks about his father as a constant presence in his life. But what about his mother? For a man so dedicated to family, why doesn’t Dom ever talk about his mother?
In Furious 8, we find out that Dominic Toretto’s mother died while giving birth to his sister Mia. This left a devastating hole in Dom and Mia’s life. Mia chose to fill the hole by acting as a mother figure to Dom and his friends (see: Her every action in The Fast & The Furious through Furious 7). But growing up, Dom coped in another way.
As a 15 year old, Dominic Toretto entered into an affair with an older woman. This woman was the crew chief and wife of a Formula One race car driver – and together they were the best in the world. She was the greatest car technician on Earth – in fact, the NOS boosts used by all street racers were her creation. The husband, on the other hand, was the greatest driver on four wheels – able to do things with a semi-truck that the second best driver in the world couldn’t do with a stunt car. When Dom’s father died, this woman was the one who encouraged Dom to pursue his love of automobiles and opened his eyes to the underground street races that he eventually would dominate. Dom learned to love cars – and appreciate family from this woman
That woman was Verona Shaw. Yup. Vin Diesel was banging Helen Mirren. Told you we’d give her more to do than just the English mother role…
Eventually, Dom broke things off, knowing that it could never work out between he and this older, married woman. When he ended the relationship, Verona freaked out and swore she would get him back one day for making her look like a fool.
Verona’s Formula One driver husband, Bernard (Liam Neeson, remember?) found out about the affair and swore his own revenge on Dom Torretto. Verona and her husband never divorced, but instead maintained a hostile and dangerous marriage for decades.
So the familial layers have begun to pile up. Not only does Dom have a complex and complicated history with Verona and Bernard, but now he’s gotten their two sons throw in maximum security prison. As you might imagine, the Shaw family has one hell of a grudge against Toretto and his crew…. This is where our story begins.
Note: I know what you’re thinking: ‘This sounds like a lot of dramatic backstory. We see Fast & Furious movies for the action, not because it’s a soap opera! How will you handle all this plot?’
Answer: This entire backstory will be laid out in a three minute confrontation between The Shaw Family and Toretto’s crew at the abandoned racetrack where Dom and Verona began their relationship decades ago.
In which we pit Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Co. against Helen Mirren, Liam Neeson and Jason Statham.
Dominic Toretto is sitting around his newly refurbished LA body shop with his crew: Letty, Tej, Roman, whoever else is still alive and is willing to sign a reasonable contract to appear in the movie. It’s a simple life: Fixing cars all day, barbequing all night. And for Dom’s crew, it’s a welcome relief.
When we see them, Dom and the gang are kicking back with a couple ice cold Coronas, talking about their friend, Brian O’Conner.
Just as Hobbs sits down and grabs a Corona for himself, Dom’s phone rings.
Verona Shaw is on the other end of the line.
After a tense opening conversation, Verona tells Dom to put the news on the television. Dom does as requested and is horrified at the sight that greets him on the TV:
A giant tank has destroyed the Swiss National Bank and the criminals responsible for the destruction made off with 100 million bucks from inside the bank’s vault… And even worse, Dom’s face and the faces of each of his crew members (including Hobbs) are being shown on the screen as the likely culprits.
Frame Dom and his crew for both the stolen money and the upcoming destruction of famous landmarks across the globe.
Why famous landmarks? Because the only way to stop the Shaw family is to catch them in the act. Knowing this, the Shaw family wants to force Dom and his crew to chase them through highly trafficked, police-heavy areas. After the Swiss Bank robbery, Toretto and his crew are wanted by every authority on the planet – and being in highly public, highly visible places it the last place they want to be.
Verona ends the phone call and Dom addresses his crew. They ask what they’re going to do now. The feds will undoubtedly be there to arrest them at any minute.
Dom, as always, has a plan.
In which we move on from Paul Walker in the only way we ever could…
Dom, Hobbs, and the Crew stand outside a dilapidated house on the outskirts of town. Dom knocks on the door. A figure rattles the blinds, peaking out to see who’s at his door. We hear eight different deadbolts being unlocked inside. A head peeks out from inside.
Dominic Toretto does the introductions. “Guys, you know that Brian O’Conner is our brother… Well, this is his brother… Meet Bradley O’Conner.”
Bradley O’Conner – Brian’s estranged, biological brother – steps outside. He is played by Channing f**king Tatum.
Bradley is one of the best computer hackers on the planet. Brian always wanted his younger brother to put his skills to use for good – a position with the FBI or CIA would have been ideal. But Bradley always bristled under authority and over time learned that it paid better to work for hire outside the law. As a result, Brian and Bradley butted heads constantly. But Bradley never stopped looking up to his older brother. Growing up, he learned to become a great driver by studying Brian and asking for lessons whenever his older brother was in a generous mood. While Brian would never admit it to Bradley, he often bragged to people that Bradley had become a better driver than him.
We will never move on from Brian O’Conner. But as we grow to know Bradley – A smart, resourceful, witty, computer hacker who drives a Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R like nobody’s business – we begin to feel like we’ve added a new member to our familia.
Anyways, Bradley O’Conner hacks the FBI database and gets the gang off the grid… for now. Dom and his crew sit around Bradley’s apartment, sipping Coronas after a stressful day, and debate what to do next…
Dom’s phone rings. It’s Verona.
“Paris is for lovers, Dominic. Why don’t you join me there? Maybe we can rekindle what we’ve lost?” She hangs up.
Dom does quick mental detective work, and comes up with a theory: The Shaws are going to destroy the Eifel Tower. And they’re going to frame Toretto’s crew for it.
Insert terrible Roman joke here… Example:
Roman: The Eifel Tower? Is that the one that looks like a giant metal D–
Tej: (Interrupting) ROMAN!’
The crew has no choice. They’ve got to confront the Shaws in Paris, with an entire international police force chasing after them.
THE PARIS CHASE
In Paris, shit really hits the fan – and sets up the high stakes and incredible action of Furious 8.
As soon as Dom and his crew (with Bradley O’Conner in tow) touch down in Paris via a private, unregistered FBI plane acquired by Luke Hobbs, they see the Eifel Tower already in flames.
What ensues is an incredible chase through the claustrophobic streets of Paris – with Dom and his gang in hot pursuit of the Shaw Family, who were obviously responsible for blowing up the Eifel Tower but managed to once again frame Toretto and Co. for the crime.
During this chase, a few things are established.
- The Bernard and Verona Shaw team is still as potent and dangerous as ever. Bernard drives his 1970 Dodge Charger like a devil on asphalt while Verona mans a helicopter up above. Verona’s technological and mechanical skills are incredible: During the Paris chase we see her hack through security gates so Bernard can sneak through – while at the same time showing off her custom-made weaponry that allows her to shoot rockets that automatically lock on to the cars being driver by Dom and his crew.
- Owing to their federal imprisonment, Deckard and Owen Shaw have become even more ruthless and violent. While they were both always excellent drivers, we now see that they are willing go to any lengths to get revenge (including one stand-out scene where Deckard tells Owen to crash their car into the Arc de Triomphe so that they can jump out into the Sienne right before impact and hopefully cause Tej and Roman to crash and die in the ensuing chaos).
- The Shaw’s have a daughter. Her name is Cortinia. And she immediately proves herself to be a complete badass when she engages Letty in all-hands-on-deck fist-fight in the middle of the Mona Lisa room of the Louvre. And even better? That sister is played by Ronda Rousey using an English accent. (She’s a different character than whoever it was she played in Furious 7.)
During the chase, we begin to see certain rivalries develop. Dom chases after Bernard (while Verona pursues Dom). Luke Hobbs has his eyes set on taking down Deckard Shaw. Tej and Roman have their hands full trying to capture Owen Shaw. Obviously, Letty and Cortinia beef. Which leaves Bradley O’Conner….. Who hasn’t been set yet in during this entire sequence… Hmm…
The chase through the streets of Paris is incredibly destructive. With the two families driving their cars on the ground and Verona shooting rockets from the sky, it seems like the entire city is destroyed. The climax of the chase occurs when every single member of both crews meets at the base of the Eifel Tower.
Luke Hobbs, riding shotgun, tells Dom to drive over a bridge that seems unclearable. Dom doesn’t hesitate. He guns his car over the bride, Luke jumps out of his window in mid-air and CRASHES into the Eifel Tower. The impact is insane. When he rises, Luke appears to be fine. As for the Eifel Tower? It now sports a huge, Hobbs-sized dent. Then, The Rock delivers this delicious bon mot:
Unfortunately, during the bridge jump, the Shaw Family managed to escape. And the international police force now has Dom and Crew cornered at the base of the Eifel Tower. It looks like our heroes have finally been beaten.
Until suddenly, every police car begins driving forward on its own. The autonomous cars whip around in front of Dom and the gang, opening their doors with welcome. In one of the police cars, we see Bradley O’Conner’s head pop out. Finally, we find out what he’s been up to during this chase.
In which we one-up cars flying out of the sky, a tank being driven through a plane, and all the other crazy shit that has happened in this incredible franchise.
So now we have a set-up for the rest of the movie. Individual rivalries are established, family ties run deep, character motivations are clear.
We know the Shaw Family will continue drawing Toretto’s crew into action-packed showdowns at famous landmarks around the world. This allows us to stage action set-piece after set-piece that continue to up the ante on scale and vehicular insanity.
The pattern: Shaw family causes destruction at famous landmark. Toretto’s crew pursues them while authorities from around the world pursue Toretto’s crew.
Action set-pieces include:
1. A high-speed car chase around the outer cone of a huge volcano in Hawaii that climaxes when Bradley O’Conner jumps the opening chasm of the volcano in a semi-truck.
2. A hot rod chase up the sides of the Great Pyramids that climaxes when everyone involved meets at the very top at the same time, crashes into each other at the pyramid’s peak, then fist fight each other as they all tumble down the side of the pyramid.
3. A family-on-family machete fight in the Roman Colosseum
All roads lead to New York City.
After another intense car chase through the crazy streets of New York city, our climax occurs at the only place deserving of it:
The Freedom Tower. One World Trade Center.
Dominic Toretto and Verona Shaw know that the Freedom Tower is the end of the chase. After this, someone wins, someone loses. There’s no way to escape the authorities after the battle. And what a god damn battle it is.
In their final phone conversation, we find out that Dom’s beloved Dodge Charger was actually designed by Verona Shaw. And it wasn’t the only one she built…
The families meet at the top of the Freedom Tower. After tense words, the climax to Furious 8 kicks off. The following shit goes down, all at the same time, to create the most memorable action set piece film audiences have ever seen.
- Dominic Toretto, Bradley O’Conner, Bernard Shaw, and Owen Shaw drive identical Dodge Chargers in a spiral down the side the 1776 ft tall Freedom Tower. They chase each other, crash into each other, fist-fight through car windows, and engage in the most incredible car chase ever put to film.
- Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw hang off the sides of very top of the Freedom Tower, fist-fighting each other like dueling King Kongs.
- Letty and Cornelia engage in another fist-fight, this time at the very peak of the Freedom Tower’s spire – with each battling it out to claim the spot at the top of the spire. It’s basically a WWE ladder match.
- All the while, Verona, Tej, and Roman fly helicopters around the tower, shooting rockets at the members of the opposing families. (Note: Need to avoid 9/11 comparisons.)
In the end, Dominic Toretto and his familia come out on top. They clear their names, return the $100 million to the Swiss National Bank, and get the Shaw family thrown in Guantanamo Bay. More importantly, they gain another family member in Bradley O’Conner.
The gang is relaxing around the grill as Dom fires up some fresh grilled chicken, a Corona held by its neck in the way that only Dom can pull off. Bradley looks around and feels for the first time since his estrangement with Brian that he has a family. Luke Hobbs has dropped all pretense and is willing to finally admit that he feels more like a member of Toretto’s family than he does a Fed. Tej and Roman continue to bicker in a humorous manner.
And Letty? She calls out for Dom to join her the kitchen. Dom puts down the grill tongs but carries the delicious Corona with him.
In the kitchen, Letty tells Dom she has some news…
She’s pregnant. Dominic Toretto is going to be a father.
From outside the room, we hear a voice – unfamiliar to the Fast & Furious franchise but exceedingly familiar to movie-lovers everywhere.
“You mean I’m going to be a grandpa?”
Dom turns to find the face who just spoke those words. It’s impossible, but he swears it’s the voice of…
His father. Vic Toretto is standing in the doorway. Not dead, but alive as shit.
And Vic Toretto is played by Sylvester f**king Stallone.
CUT TO END CREDITS.