Judging by the outrageous Box Office performance of Furious 7 (otherwise known as Fast 7, Fast & Furious 7, roughly 118 variations of the same, and even Wild Speed: Sky Mission in Japan), you’ve probably already seen the latest instalment in The Fast and the Furious franchise. If you haven’t, all you need to know is it’s the seventh film in The Fast and The Furious franchise.
With six films under the belt you should know what you’re getting by now; fast cars, gorgeous girls, outrageous action, plenty of ridiculous stunts, ham-fisted emotional scenes, awful dialogue, bromance, comedy, and sheer abandonment of the laws of time and physics; all wrapped up in a ‘family’ led package which is both woeful, wild and somehow inexplicably fun.
Continuing from Fast 6, Furious 7 (will the next one simply be ‘The 8’? Followed by ‘And 9’, and finally ’10’?) sees retired drag-racers-turned-criminals-turned-government-helpers/action-super-team Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel, Guardians of the Galaxy), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker, Brick Mansions), and the rest of their merry band of outlaws targeted by Deckard Shaw; the “big bad brother” of the villain they faced in the last film, a man who’s out for vengeance and given real presence through the use of both an awesome name (Deckard), and being brought to life by action super-star Jason Statham (The Transporter, The Expendables’, Crank, The Mechanic).
Yes that’s right. Two films ago we had Fast 5 marketed solely on the fact ‘Vin Diesel has a fight with The Rock’ and now two movies later Universal have tried to recapture the same winning formula, by hiring another big bald bloke who’s made a name for himself by punching people, and given us Furious 7; which sees Jason Statham fight The Rock (Dwayne Johnson, returning as Agent Hobbs), and then sees Jason Statham fight Vin Diesel. It simple, it’s effective, and while it may sound both a little childish, and like a bit of a cop-out, there’s no denying it’s pretty freaking cool.
Yet Furious 7 isn’t just a trio of bald blokes fighting. Oh no. We’ve also got cars parachuting out of planes, drones attacking muscle cars in downtown LA, a return to racewars, a supercar jumping through skyscrapers, a Michelle Rodriguez and Ronda Rousey (The Expendables 3) fight, wisecracks from Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris, Game of Thrones’ Nathalie Emmanuel joining the team (providing a decent enough turn as the new piece of eye candy and damsel in distress), Kurt Russell (Escape From New York) playing a CIA type, and Ong-bak star Tony Jaa free-running all over the place and kicking the shit out of Paul Walker.
So there’s plenty to like, as well as some crazily large and ambitious action set pieces (even if most of them are instantly forgettable), but as with any Fast & Furious movie there’s also a lot of problems; problems which sadly aren’t limited to the (just-about forgivable) gaping plot-holes, awful dialogue, forced emotion, ropey acting, and sheer implausibility of the entire affair.
James Wan (The Conjuring) has stepped into the director’s chair for the first time in the franchise, and sadly his direction appears to be a little slapdash; hitting the mark dead-on in some areas, and failing miserably in others. The editing is frankly awful, to the point where the shoddy work even generates dialogue which makes no sense, the whole thing is cheesier than a mountain of brie, and the level of crazy has now reached such insane heights the Fast franchise seems to have accidentally driven into the self-parody lane.
Though you can’t deny, it does deliver exactly what it promises; Furious 7 has the cars, the girls, the action, the stars, the pomp, the parties, the puns and the fun. It’s got it all, and even a fan-pleasing tribute to Paul Walker (which despite loathing myself – solely because it’s jarring, doesn’t seem to fit within the context of the film you’ve just watched at all, and makes the odd decision to assume everyone watching knows the story behind the film and the death of Paul Walker). So despite its problems (of which there are many), Furious 7 is still entertaining as hell.
If you’re not a fan of the franchise, the plot-holes, the ridiculous nature, the over-the-top action, laughable emotional scenes, average direction and sloppy editing will do nothing to convince you to join in on this ‘one last ride’, but if you’ve ever watched and enjoyed a Fast film, if you long for a return to ‘80s style sheer entertainment and big budget buffoonery, if you want to revel in the ride and laugh along with a film which knows it’s preposterous and fully embraces every single stereotype it aspires to, then saddle up, strap in, and sit back for the ride of your life; Furious 7 – like every other Fast & Furious movie, but on NOS.