Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for the death of his brother.
The Fast and the Furious returns with its seventh film, a cast full of series regulars and first time franchise director James Wan picking up where Justin Lin left off with the previous four films. Veteran writer Chris Morgan continues his run of these films which also began back in 2006 with Tokyo Drift.
James Wan has made a seamless transition into the ever popular series, continuing the stylistic direction established by Lin and keeping in the spirit of the franchise but still managing to leave a few personal touches to call this particular instalment his own.
The Fast and the Furious 7 hooks back into Tokyo Drift as we witnessed at the conclusion of the previous film, in an interesting move that slotted the last 3 films in the “interquel” space between the second and third instalments. All of that essentially amounts to a couple of scenes linking the films up, before quickly getting on track as simply a sequel to the last film.
In that sense, this film succeeds on every level in terms of continuing the series in an entertaining and as over the top fashion as possible. Story wise it’s an extension on the previous film, and similarly across the franchise typically hangs together a few plot threads around which to build extravagant action sequences, some pretty cheesy dialogue, populated with charismatic characters and heartfelt themes of family.
By this point fans know what they are getting with one of these films, and it’d be unfair to be expecting anything else. You won’t find a sophisticated story here, but this film is packed with energetic and superbly crafted action sequences, fast paces fight scenes, and hugely ridiculous car stunts that are off the charts in terms of implausibility but so entertaining and thrilling to watch none the less.
James Wan brings some interesting new camera work to the film, which travels to some locations that we haven’t really seen before in a Fast and Furious film which is refreshing. Events escalate to a grand scale which compared to the more humble street racer and turf war context of the original, has escalated things to about as high a level as you could imagine it can.
Despite all of the flashy glamour, and insane action, what continues to be the franchises strongest foundation is its characters. Even without loads of development this group of characters and actors have a natural presence on screen and are a joy to watch, with seven films starring these characters their onscreen presence has yet to diminish. It was these character moments and interactions that despite being juxtaposed against every other aspect of the film being set to ‘11’, still shine through the strongest.
Diesel, Walker, Rodriguez, Brewster, Gibson, and Ludacris all mesh as easily as we’ve seen before, Dwayne Johnson is unfortunately sidelined somewhat leaving less of an impression than he has in previous films, and Statham does what he can with what is ultimately a pretty flimsy villain role.
As is well documented elsewhere, Paul Walker’s tragic passing occurred before the production wrapped on the film, which naturally has an unavoidable impact on its creative direction. To his credit James Wan walked an extremely well balanced line of delivering on the fun ridiculousness of these films, but still taking the time and care to deliver an emotional send off and tribute to what is Walker’s last film. It was handled with dignity and delivers a truly bittersweet closing few minutes to the film.
Overall this film is an absolute blast, I’m giving Fast and the Furious 7 7 out of 10 stars, it’s in cinemas around Australia from 2nd April 2015.