When “Fast and Furious 7” played in 2015, we thought that it had to be the end of the series. How many explosions, exhilarating car races, and girls in skimpy outfits we can take?

Plus, the death of Paul Walker, who portrayed one of the main characters, Brian O’ Conner, would serve as a nice ending to the series, right? We were wrong.

Source: United International Pictures

The 8th movie was officially confirmed in 2015. Although it was speculated that Paul Walker’s brother, Cody Walker, will be joining the cast as a new member or to replace his brother, the news proved to be false. Instead, the movie focused on the dynamics of the rest of the characters.

“The Fate of the Furious” starts off with Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) and Letty Ortiz (played by Michelle Rodriguez) on their honeymoon in Havana, Cuba. They live a seemingly normal life, enjoying each others’ presence. There’s of course the occasional street race, but nothing major. However, things take a turn for worse when a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of crime that he can’t seem to escape. This also means a betrayal to those closest to him, and his team has to learn to live with it and overcome the trials headed their way.

The movie also sees the addition of 3 new characters, Charlize Theron’s Cipher, Helen Mirren’s Magdalene Shaw, and Scott Eastwood’s Eric Reisner.

So how did the movie and the new characters fare?

Source: United International Pictures

We’ll start off with Magdalene Shaw.

The mother to Owen and Deckard Shaw had a wry sense of humour, which appealed to us immensely. Although she didn’t have that many scenes, her interactions with her sons caught our attention. It made us chuckle and wonder about the kind of relationship Deckard Shaw has with his mother. It compelled us to want to know more.

Meanwhile, Eastwood’s portrayal of Reisner was extremely adorable. He was spot on as the clueless and slightly annoying newbie who was relentlessly teased by all the other characters.

Source: United International Pictures

While Mirren and Eastwood’s characters were lovable and left an impact on us, the same can’t be said for Cipher.

Sadly, we have to admit that Cipher was underwhelming as the main villain. There was so much more room to develop her character but she remains one-dimensional and stoical throughout the whole movie. We couldn’t relate to her but we didn’t hate her either. Theron’s character just did not elicit strong emotions from us. As much as we didn’t want to admit it, Cipher was just a filler character to fill in the plot lines.

Needless to say, the regular cast members give us stellar performances, like they always do.

Source: United International Pictures

With 7 instalments in the bag for the “Fast & Furious” film series, it might get a little tiring for the audience. Franchise fatigue is a real thing and many fans felt that the producers have been pushing it a little too far with the constant stream of sequels. But not only did they manage to pull through the 8th movie, they did so spectacularly.

They played with the dynamics, they made one of the good guys turn to the dark side, and well, it worked. Frankly, when the official synopsis was released, we were sceptical. We’re sure many of you scoffed too. How do you convince the audience that one of the pivotal character of the series, who gave us some of the most heart-warming scenes, has suddenly turned rogue? Sure, Dom is a tough guy, but we all know how important family is to him. What would persuade him to turn his back against his team and even his wife Letty Ortiz?

Thankfully, the twist given was understandable and believable. When thrown into that position, we’re sure that plenty would have reacted the same way. He took what he had and did the best he could. Twist after twist were introduced in the movie, and it did not disappoint.

Source: United International Pictures

The Rock’s prison scene was highly-anticipated, but unfortunately, it did not live up to expectations. It’s not every day that you successfully break out of a high-security prison 38 feet underground so when you do it, you’re expected to go out with a bang. Somehow, it all seemed a little too easy to us. We expected more gravity-defying stunts but all we got were easily defeated opponents. They all fell apart like dominoes and no one was there to keep Luke Hobbs in check.

Thankfully, the seemingly useless sequence did give us one of the best highlights of the movie – the “bromance” between Hobbs and Deckard Shaw. As we see the pair bicker and try to outdo (or rather, out-talk) each other, we can’t help but smile at the violent yet weirdly engaging exchange. Abusive words are part of their relationship and we see the partnership evolve from grudging acceptance to sincere alliance.

Hands down, their interactions were one of the best parts of the movie.

All in all, “The Fate of the Furious” is a solid movie, we say. As a standalone movie, it’s commendable, but as a movie off the “Fast and Furious” film series, it’s a must-watch. There’s also a homage to Paul Walker’s character towards the end of the movie and trust us, it will make you go, “Aww..”.

Directed by Gary Gray with a screenplay by Chris Morgan, the action thriller zooms into Malaysian cinemas today (Thursday, 13th April).

BONUS: Check out some fun facts about the movie and its characters here.

For more info, visit the movie’s official website and Facebook page.