Movie review: Fast and Furious 7

There’s no point reviewing a film like this with any sort of critical eye. It’s reached a point in the franchise where it’s all but immune to criticism. A sweet spot where everyone watching it as well as everyone involved in making it knows it’s not by any means a good film, but it is a damn entertaining one and everyone knows the score. It’s the cinematic equivalent of the Bonestorm computer game from The Simpsons. You want action? You want excitement? Well, stick this in your exhaust pipe.

After besting Luke Shaw in the sixth installment his big brother Deckard (Jason Statham) vows bloody revenge on Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) team. Meanwhile, said team is tasked by Kurt Russell’s (Kurt Russell!) shady government type to locate a surveillance device – the God’s Eye – that can monitor every single microphone and camera in the wor….yada yada yada. There is a plot in there, trust me, but it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s a framework to hang increasingly outrageous, physics defying stunts on. I’m fairly certain I said exactly this in my review of part six, but that’s what these films are, action showcases.

From an audacious opening with Statham in a hospital, to dropping cars out of aeroplanes, to a Dubai set scuffle that starts in one skyscraper and ends in another, and ending in a city wide chase/gun battle complete with a swordfight of a sort. Action so over the top and ludicrous you can’t help but laugh along with it. The film knows it’s dumb, but it lives and dies on crowd pleasing. There’s a moment with The Rock and an ambulance that makes literally no sense, but it’s such a punch the air moment, capped off with a killer one liner from Mr Johnson, that you just go with it.

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Someone should tell the principal actors though, withDiesel, Michelle Rodriguez and the late Paul Walker playing the whole thing, Diesel especially, as if it’s Shakespeare. Whether the acting-so-serious-all-the-time is an acting choice or a lack of talent, I’ll let you be the judge but in a film like this you have to embrace the ridiculous a bit, but instead we get an uncharismatic monotone lead performance for the seventh time. Crack a joke, Dom. Jeez! Happily Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs continues to be the best thing about these films, pitching his character at just the right level amidst all the lunacy and newcomer Statham fits into the series perfectly and creates a formidable Terminator like villain for our heroes, unlike Tony Jaa and Djimon Honsou who are there to simply fight things and shout orders respectively.

As the film was only half completed when the tragic death of star Walker occurred, steps have been taken to fit him into scenes posthumously using a combination of CGI and look-alikes, long shots and lighting, and unless you really look for it you can’t see the joins. It’s fairly seamless and though the content of the film probably isn’t the best monument to his memory the film ends with a beautiful montage of scenes of Walker through the entire series, and ends the story of Brian O’Conner in a truly fitting and emotional way.

It’s not the best in the series, though it may be the biggest, but starting from the fifth installment, Fast and Furious 7 completes a great little action trilogy.

Big, dumb, fun. In the best possible way. Go see Fast and Furious 7 and be entertained, if not challenged.

3 stars

Review by Jonathan Cardwell.
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