The ride for Furious 7 hasn't exactly been smooth. There's been a lot of bumps in the road but it's finally here. And it's crazier, more action-packed and just more insanely OTT than ever before but it's damn good too. Ride or die!
We open to see our film's antagonist Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) having laid waste to a hospital to get to Fast and Furious 6's Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), who's on his death bed because of Vin Diesel and his crew. Statham's 'his big bad brother' and he wants revenge. The sins of London have followed our team home and, after brawling with Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs in the DSS office - coming close to putting him into a body-bag - killing Suang Kang's Han, in Tokyo - finally connecting the franchise to Tokyo Drift - he's thirsty for blood and, after blowing up the family house 1327, Dom, wanting to protect his family, sets out after him.
We then have Kurt Russell's shady government official Mr. Nobody who enlists Dom and his crew's help to retrieve a hacker by the name of Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), who has created a programme called "God's Eye" which has the ability to locate anyone on the planet within minutes by turning any tech device into a weapon. There's also some other subplot including Djimon Honsou's Somalian terrorist Jakande, who also wants to get his hands on Ramsey's programme, thrown in there for good measure too.
There's a lot going on here. We have our main plot and then there's a bunch of other subplots too that no one really cares about; merely present to extend the runtime and give the film something extra to flesh it out. It can become a little convoluted and make very little sense at times but, frankly, this is a Fast and Furious film. We're not exactly there for a House of Cards-esque complex storyline. We want to see cars, action, explosions and races. Well, guess what? That's EXACTLY what we get with Furious 7.
James Wan - taking over helming duties from Justin Lin (who directed the last 4 F&F films) - really ups the ante here. Having never directed an action before, the horror aficionado has his work cut out for him, taking the mantle for such an illustrious franchise, and he does one hell of a good job. He definitely knows what he's doing here and is having a blast with it too. Each action sequence is better than the last, each set piece more insane than the one before. It's all beautifully shot too and looks stunning. It's an even better treat in exuberant IMAX, plunging you straight into the action.
We have cars skydiving from planes, cars flying out of skyscrapers, people getting thrown through plate glass out of buildings (and surviving). Normally, you'd expect just one maybe two, sequences of such scale in a feature film but there's several of them in Furious 7 and they keep on getting bigger and crazier! This is a popcorn flick. You'll shut your brain down for a couple of hours to see epic car races, explosions and dudes jacked up on baby oil (yes, you Mr. Johnson) beating the shit out of one another.
Now, I don't mind suspending disbelief. You'll have to in order to enjoy this film because it's just so over the top crazy and dumb. It works though, for the most part. It's so chaotic and mad that it's fun to watch. You'll actually believe cars can fly. Saying that, however, there are one or two times when it just gets a little too far-fetched that it takes you out of the film for a few seconds whilst you go, 'Okay, now that's just exaggerating things a bit too much.' Except, the thing is, it isn't the extravagantic stunts that feel a bit much, it's the things like the characters going through hell and coming out with not a scratch to be seen. For example, there's a scene where Dom and Ramsey's car goes tumbling down a cliff and they both emerge looking fine. I'm pretty sure the Fast and Furious franchise has entered superhero territory. These guys are more invincible than The Wolverine!
As far as the acting in this goes, everyone is great. The already stellar ensemble is only getting better with newcomers Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Tony Jaa, Djimon Honsou, Jason Statham and even Ronda Rousey pitching up for a cameo, in which she and Michelle Rodriguez fight it out, all lending their talents to the blockbuster. Kurt Russell is an acting legend and his performance as the shady Mr. Nobody is rather witty and brings a light, humorous tone to the proceedings.
As far as our big bad goes though, Statham rocks. His character Deckard Shaw somewhat resembles that of The Winter Soldier. He appears out of nowhere, wreaks mass havoc whilst trying to slaughter the ones he is after before disappearing again until next required. It's also any action lovers dream seeing him in a Fast and Furious film, butting heads with both Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel in sequences that are so epic they'll make a grown man cry.
It's also nice seeing the always dazzling Michelle Rodriguez properly back in action and with the family. Diesel's yet again kicking ass. The chemistry between Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson is on a par again too, with the latter stealing the belly share of the laughs (as always) as the enigmatic Roman. My one complaint is that there wasn't enough of The Rock. Him as Hobbs is the best thing to happen to the franchise and he breathed new life into the series with Fast Five. He's one of of my favourite actors working today and I love his character in these films, he brings a lot of wit to them, so it was a shame to see him disappear after the first 10 minutes or so, for about an hour and half, until Furious 7's monumental finale. The same applies to Jordana Brewster's Mia who was hardly in this too. She was barely in Fast 6 as well.
We then come to the heart of the film: the late but great Paul Walker and his alter-ego Brian O'Connor. Just over a year since the actor was taken and his passing is still affecting us all, even more so after watching this. For the scenes he did actually shoot, he was great. Just like Diesel or Rodriguez or Brewster, who've all been here since day one, these characters come so easily to them. It's hard for them to give a bad performance in any Fast and Furious film. As for the CGI Walker, it's hard to notice the effects unless you're really trying to notice them but, in the film's very concluding scenes, the SFX/CGI becomes evident just because it's hard not to look for it there.
It's the perfect send-off for the actor. He'd most definitely be proud of the final cut of the film; a pulse-pounding, thrilling, emotional popcorn flick. There's also a moving tribute to Walker at the end of the film that takes a trip down memory lane, highlighting some of his best F&F moments. Honestly, it's a beautiful, powerful and emotional finale that is sure to bring a tear to your eye. Vin Diesel narrates over it. His character Dom is supposed to be speaking to Brian but we really know that's it's Diesel talking to Walker. It's the perfect finale to what has been such a marvelous franchise but it's also the perfect setup for another instalment.
This a franchise that should have been burnt out by now but, instead, keeps on getting bigger and better. I love these films and Furious 7 shows exactly why, it's mayhem but you have a blast with it. Packed with everything we love about the Fast and Furious films; from races, sexy cars, sexy chicks, fast-paced action, unbelievably OTT stunts, close-up butt shots (there's a whole load of them), an awesome soundtrack, energy that can fill a NOS can, Vin Diesel going on about family and some truly dumb, fiendish fun, it's all here.
An insanely grandiose and massively over the top spectacle, Fast and Furious 7 is a fast, furious and high-octane action-thriller packed with a heart as big as its set pieces. This is no ordinary blockbuster, this is an event and it's one hell of an epic, fun ride.
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.