Movie: Furious 7
Director: James Wan
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, Kurt Russell, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
The Fast and Furious franchise, over the last decade-and-a-half, has grown and developed in ways we couldn’t have imagined when the series first took off. The latest film Furious 7 has little in common with Fast and Furious (2001), about street racing, done on a tiny scale.
However, the differences are where the buck stops. The newest film pays homage to every character that’s walked in and out of the series over the last 15 years. And the most important homage was of course, for the late Paul Walker, making his last on-screen appearance as Brian O’Connor, the former FBI agent, who joins Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his rat pack, marries Toretto’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster), and sets off on all kinds of adventures with the team.
Those adventures continue in Furious 7. The film finds a settled Brian, Mia, Dom, and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) hunted by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the very lethal and slightly off-the-rocker older brother of Owen Shaw, the FF6 villain. Shaw takes a detour and also pays a visit to Agent Hobbs (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), and the meeting lands The Rock in a hospital bed for the most part of the movie, coming back towards the end to save the day, of course.
Helping the Furious 7 with their ill-advised revenge attack on Shaw, is the mysterious Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell), who in exchange for getting a hacker, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and her highly advanced surveillance device called God’s Eye, out of a high-security kidnapping racket; will help the team get to the shadowy Shaw.
The sheer scale of tying up the haphazard chronologies of the previous six installments seems to have thrown director James Wan (a newbie to the franchise) off. We revisit familiar places like Race Wars and the Tokyo Drift arena for split moments, in a movie that’s already running way over-time, and you’re left feeling squeamish and a tad cheated as well.
And while action in the Fast and Furious series has always been high-octane and goes against all conceivable laws of physics, this one kicks it up a notch further. This time around, audiences are treated to flying cars, and for a minute I thought I was watching Harry Potter and not Fast and Furious. What ticks one off is not that all of this is implausible, but that it could have actually been done better. In less time. With less pathos involved. And if I am made to listen to Vin Diesel growl about the importance of family one more time, I think I would have to cry myself to sleep.
The movie is as stylish as ever and the thrills keep coming at you, but after the first hour and 15 minutes, you wish it would just stop. What they do manage to get right is Paul Walker’s goodbye scene and this one probably got most people down to weeping in the theatre halls.
It’s always quite a conflicting feeling to watch a dead person (Walker died in a car accident, ironically, while he was still shooting for Furious 7) and it’s understandable that the makers almost scrapped this movie. But they’ve managed with CGI and body doubles to create an incredible tribute to a beloved character, actor and human being.
Let’s hope they keep the next film, yep there’s a next one (rumoured to be set in Manhattan), short and classy.