Director: James Wan
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham
Release Date (US): 3rd April, 2015
Company: Universal Studios
“Thought you could leave without saying goodbye?” – Brian O’Conner
The big finale in a pseudo-trilogy of Fast & Furious features, Furious 7 concludes the story set-up in the hugely successful Fast Five and Six – with James Wan (The Conjuring) in the driving seat. Vin Diesel (Guardians Of The Galaxy) stars as Dominic Toretto, with Paul Walker (Brick Mansions) by his side for the last time, posthumously. After defeating Owen Shaw during the events of the last movie, the team find themselves hunted by Shaw’s ruthless older brother – who will stop at nothing to destroy Toretto’s family.
Chances are, if you’re watching an instalment in the F&F franchise, you never came for the story. Much like it’s predecessors, Furious 7 abandons all sense of reason within its opening few minutes, freeing itself to tell a tale void of any thought or logic to hold it back. It’s a fun, fast-paced and blistering ride, but in order for the viewer to enjoy it as intended, it’s probably best to turn your brain off for the next 120 minutes or so.
That’s not to say it’s lacking in emotion or intrigue. Furious 7 succeeds in where most of the other F&F flicks have failed (bar Fast Five) – delivering a heartfelt yet gripping central plot that successfully balances the thrills with drama. Indeed, it’s the movie’s sprawling cast of characters and vibrant locations that make it so engrossing – in addition to adding to its large-scale ‘event’ feel. Full of fantastic call-backs to previous instalments, alongside heightened stakes, this really is The Avengers of the Fast & Furious franchise.
“One last ride.” – Dominic Toretto
None of the performances are Oscar-worthy, but it’s hard to fault the chemistry between the cast members in Furious 7. Over the course of almost fifteen years, this ensemble have developed a genuine bond, and it’s no more evident than during Paul Walker’s scenes. Walker, Diesel and the returning Michelle Rodriguez (Lost) represent the main focal points in this movie, and (with a few cheesier moments aside) deliver the drama almost as well as they handle their more staple action sequences.
Despite being somewhat underused, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Hercules) is, once again, a real highlight – typifying this truly ludicrous series with another gloriously over-the-top yet badass performance. Kurt Russell is equally delightful to watch as the cool and very shady ‘Mr. Nobody’, bouncing off Diesel particularly well. Game Of Thrones‘ Nathalie Emmanuel is another great new addition to the cast, while Jason Statham (Snatch) is easily the series’ best villain as the hardened and venomous Deckard Shaw.
Direction & Tone
After his predecessor revolutionised this once-ailing franchise, stepping into Justin Lin (Community)’s shoes was never going to be an easy feat for James Wan. And yet, by paying homage to what came before, as well as mixing things up somewhat (to avoid the more fatiguing elements seen in Fast Six), Wan managed to hit the perfect balance for a great action movie. In light of recent cinematic action feats like The Raid, the fight choreography could have been a little more imaginative – but this was just a minor peeve.
- I’m back! If you haven’t noticed (and I’m sure you did not), I’ve been away for a little while working my exams and some other stuff. But I’m back to review some of 2015’s biggest hits. My takes on Age Of Ultron & Mad Max are both on their way!
- I’ve been wondering just at what point these movies suddenly became cool. Obviously Fast Five was a big step-up for the series, but the turnaround in both the critical and general audience perception of these movies has been astounding. It’s one of cinema’s greatest mysteries!
- Spinning-off of that, this movie has now powered it’s way to become the fourth-highest grossing movie ever. Director Lexi Alexander remarked on Twitter that this feat could have been down to the diversity of its cast. I’m inclined to agree with her.
- Spinning-off of the term ‘spinning-off’, I’ve recently heard rumblings of a Luke Hobbs spin-off bouncing around. Assuming you understood that, I feel like that could be a fresh new place to take this franchise, after the ‘big event feel’ of Furious 7.
- Finally, the send-off for Paul Walker is undoubtedly an emotional roller-coaster. Despite acting under non-ideal circumstances, the movie’s narrative handles his departure thoughtfully, and there is a very touching moment before the credits. *Sobs*
James Wan delivers even more fun, style and thrills to produce the franchise’s strongest instalment yet. Flaws aside, Furious 7 is everything you could ask for from an action flick, with plenty of death-defying stunts as well as a touching final tribute to Paul Walker.