Fast & Furious 7, 2015.
Directed by James Wan.
Starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Lucas Black, Jordana Brewster, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham, Ronda Rousey, Tony Jaa, Nathalie Emmanuel, John Brotherton and Djimon Hounsou.
After the death of his brother, Deckard Shaw (Statham) aims to take revenge by hunting down Dominic (Diesel) and his team.
Physics be damned: that’s the mindset for the recent two movies in the Fast and Furious franchise, and even though the director’s chair has switched from Justin Lin to James Wan (an auteur who has at this point made a prodigious portfolio out of modern horror classic films like Saw and The Conjuring), the goal is the same. Furious 7 is here to blow crap up for over 2 hours and show jacked up musclemen beating the living tar out of each other, while of course putting on display action sequences that are so over-the-top and insane, it’s easy to once again roll your eyes at how stupid the logic is because the results are some of the most satisfactory mayhem in modern action cinema today. With that said, Furious 7 might just be the craziest and most flat-out fun of the bunch.
What elevates Furious 7 above its predecessors is the drastic reduction of wasted time spent slogging through cheesy dialogue regarding the importance of family. That routine has been done for six installments now and gets more grating every time. There are still thematic undertones about family and loyalty but this time around the pacing is far more tipped in favor of going from set-piece to set-piece. It’s actually quite jarring in a good way at how the movie transitions from the much advertised vehicular skydiving mountain sequence to the absurdity of the action in Abu Dhabi. It may take Furious 7 a good 30 minutes or so to fully pick up steam, but once it gets kicked into high gear the jaw-dropping stunts repeatedly come one after the other.
For a franchise that has never really had its villains leave a lasting impression, the addition of Jason Statham winds up being pure magic. Not because he is some layered character with depth, but because of his natural charismatic badass aura that has turned him into one of the greatest action stars of the century. It’s easy to roll with Statham hunting down Vin Diesel’s team of renegades just because they kicked his brother’s ass in the previous movie. Statham has an amazing deliverance of body language that essentially illustrates that vengeance is the only thing on his mind.
Per the norm however, the story is quite garbage outside of the delicate and touching handling of the real-life death of Paul Walker. Writing Paul Walker out of these films is one of those narrative situations that has to feel respectable to both the crew and audience, and thankfully here it does. Will the movies be the same without him? Yes and no; I’ll always miss his presence in future entries, but when the narratives are already this ridiculous and full of holes in logic (There are like 42 times that Vin Diesel could have just shot Jason Statham) I’m pretty sure future movies will still be highly enjoyable.
These movies are about implausibility and giving the middle finger to physics in order to deliver unforgettable fistfights, car chases, one-liners, and non-stop mayhem. The light is also shined on multiple characters besides Vin and Jason, as you have Dwayne Johnson mowing down everything in sight with a gatling gun, Michelle Rodriguez taking on Ronda Rousey in a hard-hitting slugfest, and more. It feels like every action sequence in Furious 7 sets out to blow the last one out of the water, which is one of the most admirable compliments you can give an action movie. The best part is that it delivers again and again. Sure, Furious 7 is stupid, but it’s some of the most beautifully choreographed high-octane fun you’ll have at the cinema this year.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook