Movie Review: Fast & Furious 7
You will believe a car can fly.
The first and last moments you see Paul Walker on screen are both warm and poignant and the most recent release of the much beloved Fast & Furious franchise is a fitting tribute to the late actor’s legacy.
Furious 7, Furious Seven, Fast & Furious 7, whatever colour you paint it, is a film that seeks to outdo itself at every turn and delivers in souped-up spades.
In capable hands with writer Chris Morgan (Tokyo Drift, 2009’s Fast & Furious, Fast Five & Furious 6), and directed by Australian, James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) the Horror director who at first seems an odd choice until you realise the commercial success he’s had with his own billion dollar franchises.
This time around we see the big bad brother of the hospitalised F6 villain, Deckard Shaw (Statham) out for revenge against our merry band of street racing, anti-heroes. Diesel is back producing and staring as the gruff alpha, Domenic Toretto and say what you like about the testosterone filled tank top, he may be one note but geez it’s a good one. Walker, always watchable, returns as Brian O’Conner who is struggling to adjust to family life and yearns once again for the thrill of the chase. Rodriguez & Brewster are back, Brewster literally relegated to babysitting duty and in an attempt to flesh out the male dominated cast and perhaps inject some fresh blood into the series, Nathalie Emmanuel enters as hacker Megan Ramsey who you can see a lot more of in TV’s Game of Thrones. Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges takes a front seat in this one but is given more of an expository role in an effort to explain the plot’s high-concept technobabble and Tyrese Gibson is at his motor-mouth best as Roman Pearce. Kurt Russel adds a bit of class as the spec ops suit while Jason Statham is menacing and terminator like in his persistence as the inexorable, Deckard Shaw.
Dwayne “I used to wrestle” Johnson gets by on his affable charm and seems to have the mantle of one liners in his sites with lines like, “Woman, I am the cavalry.” In lesser hands it could come across as patronising and chauvinistic. Shakespeare, tis not. Djimon “Where is the diamond?” Hounsou and Ong Bak’s Tony Jaa round out the rogues gallery but are rather one dimensional characters (is there another kind) the latter donning an evil moustache to become Walker’s nemesis in an East meets West duel that allows for some interesting and thrilling fights.
The plot is somewhat convoluted and redundant but when has that ever stopped the Fast & Furious? There are some daytime television moments of melodrama that clunk by but that has never been what the Fast & Furious does well. What it does do well is give us cars, fist fights, gyrating bodies, shootouts, exotic locations and over-the-top action sequences. We travel across the globe at breakneck speeds to an adrenaline inducing soundtrack featuring Iggy Azalea (keep an eye out for the cameo) & Wiz Khalifa (so hot right now). There are cars jumping out of planes, cars jumping down the sides of mountains, cars jumping out of buildings and cars jumping out at helicopters. Who says cars can’t fly? Bullets, bodies, cars fly every-which-way as each new set piece seeks to out do the last and as I guiltily watched while my logical brain called bullshit I couldn’t help but wonder and get excited as to where the series would take me next. I for one will be looking forward to the next film in the franchise, Fast and Furious Infinite: Furious In Space, where you live your life a quarter light-year at a time.
Stunts, gyrating booties and hopefully pondering aside, in terms of being a well-made movie, it can sometimes suffer from the 2Fast, 2Much syndrome but Wan covers the action well enough to not jolt you from the experience. That being said, it’s quite a marvel that considering the obstacles they had to overcome to complete the final reel, both emotionally and technologically, it’s quite an achievement.
Whether this is the end of such a beloved, fan franchise or a set up for the next instalment, it is a pitch perfect way that allows the fans to say farewell to the blue-eyed boy with the 900 horsepower smile whose down to earth charisma and charm was what helped us all fall in love with franchise in the first place.
Dear heavenly spirit, thank you for providing us with the direct-port nitrous injection, four-core intercoolers, ball-bearing turbos and titanium valve springs…and thanks for Paul Walker.
2.5 tuna sandwiches on white, no crust. (Add another if you’re a fan)
Plot, writing and some phoned in performances aside, Furious 7 delivers over the top action in souped up spades. A fitting tribute to the late actor’s legacy. Pitch perfect way that allows the fans to say farewell.