All work and no play...
- Review: Fast And Furious 7
Following the untimely death of star Paul Walker, Fast And Furious 7 was always going to be a goodbye. The actor who has starred in the most of the franchise ( six movies – joint with Vin Diesel, but beating him in screen time) he may have become something of a second stringer in recent episodes, behind Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and the outlandish ‘villains’ who quickly went from drug dealers to highly trained and dangerous operatives.
One such villain is this entry’s Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the older brother of six’s Owen Shaw, here to exact revenge on the previous film’s extravagance. Indeed, his first act in this is seen at the tail end of Fast And Furious 6, where Deckard crashes into and kills Han (though this was first seen in the third film, Tokyo Drift. Stay with me).
The result is a globe trotting adventure to find a computer system to locate Shaw – which seems unnecessary as he follows the team anyways – so that Dominic Toretto and his crew can put all this vengeance to rest. The Dominican Republic, Abu Dhabi, Los Angeles and Azerbaijan (I know) are the locations of choice in this instalment. And, somehow, each of these locations was devoid of gravity for the entire of the crew’s stay.
But who needs gravity when you can have fun, right? This film has bucket loads of it. You will applaud as Brian O’ Connor sprints up a bus as it slips down a cliff, or when he and Toretto drive through not one, not two, but three sky scrapers at a nauseating height. Also to note are parachuting vehicles, inner city drone attacks and nobody gets a seriously hurt in this film series. God forbid.
It’s amazing how these films, once an inch from being a laughing stock, are now a cash cow. But it all comes down to that saying – all work and no play makes Vin Diesel a dull boy. Clocking in at nearly two and a half hours it may seem like a mission to get through it, but you won’t be counting the minutes as it draws to a close.
The first in the franchise helmed by James Wan, he added his own personal touch to the series. this worked well in parts, not so much in others. Where shots of cars racing and chasing were involved, the camera seemed very close to the forefront, so much that it was sometimes tough to make out what was going on.
But the fight scenes were fluid and something to behold. The first sees Deckard Shaw take on Johnson’s Hobbs, each hitting harder than the last punch landed. The swirling camera following the former wrestler’s signature move, The Rock Bottom, to Shaw might be the best shot in the entire film. In essence, each fight was better than the last, and the final one comes complete with weapons that aren’t guns of any kind. It nearly hurts to watch.
What was tough to watch was the end, as the team really did say goodbye to Brian O’ Connor. The film is, as expected and should be, dedicated to Paul Walker, and his characters final scenes did come with a tint of sadness. Justified in his goodbye, Walker’s final moments on screen are with his beloved and best friends. These guys have been together since 2001, and it’s easy to see that, when everyone says goodbye, no one is acting.
A healthy instalment to the not entirely healthy franchise, it does what it says on the tin; extravagant cars, action scenes, babes and not so extravagant dialogue. Paul Walker is finally given the time to shine, in a franchise he has pretty much carried. After all, if he didn’t agree to do 2 Fast 2 Furious, then we would undoubtedly not have a seventh edition. Seven Fast and the Furious films. Who ever saw that happening?