Posted March 31, 2015 by editor in Film Reviews
 
 

Fast And Furious 7 Review


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So it looks like we are getting Fast and Furious 7 here in the UK, not Furious 7. For some reason Universal insist on being anything but that with their film titles, so we get a different title than the states.

Like any of it matters. And that is a key phrase that aptly can be attributed to the rest of the film that follows.

At the end of the last film we were treated to an end credits scene that introduced Jason Statham as a force to reckon with when he took out team member Han on the streets of Tokyo. Anyone familiar with the series will know that Han actually died in the Tokyo Drift installment of the series, and this post credit scene finally put that death in the time line of the series and ret-conned it to show that his death was no accident.

So Statham – as it turns out – is Deckard Shaw, the brother of the man the team took down in Fast and Furious 6, and now he wants revenge on the team.

After an encounter with Luke Hobbs (The Rock) at his cushy desk job he leaves with information he has sought, and also leaves Hobbs in hospital.

This is then where his trail leads him to Tokyo and puts events in motion for him to be on a continual collision course with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). And that’s pretty much the only times you get to see Statham: when he shows up out of the blue, armed to the hilt and on a rampage against Dominic. The rest of the team it seems is pretty safe.

The writer of the last five movies now has decided that instead of a revenge thriller with a high hero body count to instead deliver parallel plot lines with several injuries to characters instead of deaths.

The other plot line involves an agency man who calls himself Mr. Nobody. (Kurt Russell) who tasks Dom and his team with rescuing a computer nerd and also a device she has invented which can find anyone anywhere on the planet within hours. And so the team (Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris Bridges and Michelle Rodriguez) head abroad with Dom and end up in all sorts of high speed shenanigans.

Sky diving cars, cliff side drops, skyscraper to skyscraper leaps (in cars!) and you are set for some pretty big action detours. There are also a few emotional backdrops as well – Brian (Walker) being a family man, Letty (Rodriguez) coming to terms with her memory loss.

But is it any good? Of course sense, logic and physics go out the window. Diesel is serving some horrible dialogue, Tyrese Gibson finally finds the balance he has been looking for as the comedic relief so that he doesn’t come off as annoying and is actually funny. Ludacris Bridges surprises with a few tricks up his sleeve and Michele Rodriguez gets to fight a wrestler turned actor (Rousey Rousey). A shame then that James Wan can’t direct his way around hand to hand combat as well as the series previous director could, because although we’re sure Rousey can fight in real life, we’re all the more sure she can’t act.

The best hand to hand combat has to go to Paul Walker and Ong Bak star Tony Jaa – who really does know how to serve someone’s ass to them. And with Statham getting to have a go at both The Rock and Diesel there is no shortage of mano e mano combat.

With so many characters – we forgot to mention Djimon Housou as the main antagonist of the second plot (underused, underdeveloped, wasted – like he was in Guardians of the Galaxy) – it’s easy for the film to get in a bid of a muddle. Perhaps starting the film actually where the 6th one left us might have saved some time, instead of going back in time to establish Statham more.

There are also call backs to earlier films with the odd minor character showing up for one scene. Even Lucas Black (the hero from the Tokyo Drift movie) is shoehorned in despite it being (and him looking) 9 years older than when the film was made. That’s the price the series has to pay for holding onto the Han character for so long that his death fits in at a time almost a decade after they made it and that everyone left alive is slightly more haggard looking these days. But Black literally checks out after one scene, so his forehead wrinkles shouldn’t offend too many people.

This could well be the most chaotic of the series so far. But it threatens to become The Phantom Menace of action films where it cuts between far too many characters – many of which are not the main event or even doing anything all that interesting. Any promise of death and threat that Statham posed in the clip from Fast 6 is watered down by him not being present enough here and only aiming his threat at Dominic.

In the end though the elephant in the room that had to be addressed was the passing of Paul Walker. Suffice to say, no matter how cheesy you may think it is, they dealt with it with their hearts on their sleeves.

Fast and Furious 7 will delight fans no end and is a lot of fun, and often very funny. The action stakes may be for a younger, more tender crowd though, even if us adults want something a little more severe.

 

Steven Hurst


editor