Saturday, 3 October 2015

Fast and Furious 7

If you have made it this far into the modern day masterpieces that are the Fast and Furious films then you already have a pretty good idea what to expect with the seventh instalment. Feeling like the lovechild of Vin Diesel and an explosion, Fast and Furious 7 is a completely insane thrill ride from start to finish, somehow being crazier than the previous one. The stunts are bigger, the fetishizing of women more extreme, and the relationships are somehow even more bromantic.

 Directed by James Wan and out now on Blu-Ray and DVD comes Fast and Furious 7, and continues the trend started back in the 4th film of having nothing to do with street racing. Crazy stunts and Dwayne Johnson are now the flavour of the day, and in this one they're turned up to eleven. The film effortlessly weaves a dumb but fun plot around insane set pieces without them feeling set piece-y and often leaves the series’ comfort zone of good old fashioned car carnage. The film opens with perhaps the best scene in the film, possibly even the series, when Dwayne Johnson’s Agent Hobb’s comes up against newcomer Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw, brother of Luke Evans' Owen Shaw from the previous instalment. Johnson and Statham are probably the biggest action stars of this generation; they are this millennium's Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, so this opening fight has a lot to live to. It also has to live up to the colossal fights from the previous films, like the spectacular Hobbs versus Dom fight from Fast Five and to top it all off Fast and Furious stalwart Justin Lin had vacated the director’s chair this time leaving horror maestro James Wan in charge and out of his comfort zone. Luckily he pulls it off marvellously, creating the best fight scene from the entire franchise. The whole scene is shot incredibly well and the fight scenes are the standout moments.

Wan is a natural at this sort of thing and keeps the fistfights clear, brutal, and refreshingly old fashioned. He keeps the quick cutting to a minimum and makes the action easy to follow. That’s not to say the vehicular action isn’t great as well though, it really is. From Vin Diesel’s Dom launching a super car between not 2, but 3 separate Dubai sky scrapers to Johnson’s Hobbs crashing an ambulance off of a bridge onto the top of a speeding drone; Fast and Furious 7 has it all, and then some. Perhaps too much for a lot of people but fans of the series won’t have an issue with this, especially as the action is so varied throughout. A particular highlight is parachuting car scene early on the film. Wan expertly blends real effects and CGI to create a fun and creative action set piece unlike anything else out there.

The performances in a film like this aren’t really important, but nonetheless the cast give it a good go. No one is winning any Oscars for it but the sense of family established between them since the start of the franchise is at its best here. You really believe the cast would do anything for each other and this is only emphasised by the sweet and touching tribute the ending pays to the late Paul Walker, who is great in one of his final roles. Another standout is Tyrese Gibson’s Roman Pierce who remains genuinely hilarious as he did in the previous 2 films, almost completely wiping 2 Fast 2 Furious from our memory. Of course Dwayne Johnson is as awesome as ever, albeit with slightly reduced screen time to the previous two films but making up for it with some particular stellar scenes and quotable lines. Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto is once again the heart of the film and once again he does a brilliant job as the mumbling tough guy with a big heart. He doesn’t redefine acting or anything but what he does; he does extremely well. In fact this is the case for the majority of the cast with them now being completely comfortable in these characters.

Fans of the series will absolutely love Fast and Furious 7 and casual fans will probably get a kick out of it too. It may be too far-fetched for some people but if you’re like me and you’ll happily watch Vin Diesel collapse a parking garage with a single kick then you’ll love it. And that’s how I’ll rate it. Fast and Furious 7 is the clear best of the series and is one of the best action movies of the year.  Yeah, it’s dumb and over the top but the filmmakers know it and embrace it and I can’t honestly think of anything with it I’d change.

Fast and Furious 7 gets top marks with 5/5.


Tom Bumby

Fast and Furious 7 at CeX

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