Fast & Furious 7 Review
Director: James Wan
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Christopher "Ludacris" Bridges, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Lucas Black, Tony Jaa, John Brotherton, Djimon Hounsou, Noel Gugliemi, Ronda Rousey, Eden Estrella, Iggy Azalea, Ali Fazal.
Horror director/producer James Wan steps out from the shadows and takes the helm from Justin Lin, who's successfully filmed the previous four Fast & Furious films. We've come to know what to expect from the series in terms of story, outrageous action and style and Wan does a brilliant job of continuing in true Fast & Furious fashion. In fact, the cinematography and sequences he brings to life really are a step up, even when we thought it would be a challenge to beat what has gone on before. The opening sequence as an example is superbly captured as one long take as this film's protagonist is introduced.
Just when Dom and Co. are settling into well earned freedom, trying to adjust to ordinary life, the older and obviously meaner brother of Six's Owen Shaw comes to seek revenge on those who put his younger sibling in hospital. The last film ended on a cliffhanger, a twist adding more depth to the exit of Han's character, proving that Transporter, Jason Statham might well be their most ruthless adversary to date. Actually placing this film to be the direct sequel to follow Tokyo Drift, with all others between being prequels.
The action goes up another gear entirely with some totally unbelievable and ludicrous set pieces but Wan really brings it home using some different and thoughtful camera angles which immerses the audience directly into the action. The fights scenes also go up a notch, having Ong-Bak's Tony Jaa go up against Walker in some pretty intense punch ups, with Walker being a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, he held up his own very well indeed.
Sadly, Paul Walker died in a fatal car accident offset from filming, this which left cast, crew, friends, family and fans grief stricken. Filming was going to be scrapped altogether as it was a great loss, effecting all involved, but the decision was made to continue as it was what Paul would have wanted. His brothers Caleb and Cody acted as body-doubles with some deleted and reused scenes spliced to tie-off Brian's story and actually paid an tremendous tribute and farewell to the star who was obviously loved and respected by everyone on set with a percentage of the film's profits being donated to Paul Walker's charity Reach Out Worldwide which provide supported relief to areas damaged by natural disasters.
His passing had a massive impact on everyone and everything relating to the franchise. The story obviously had to be rewritten to order to explain his parting which opened a new side to the characters, especially Dom's with that symbolic last drive, pretty much breaking the fourth wall, but helps represent their characters both individually and as a family, something that I am very fortunate to understand so very well myself, with my own La Familia suffering an tragic lost around the same time of the release of this film. You can watch this touching interview hosted by TODAY where the cast and director speak openly about the loss of their friend.
Even the soundtrack pays respect to the loss of Walker with a track from Skylar Grey and the film's anthem "See You Again" from Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth; a song Vin Diesel sings to fans at every opportunity. You can watch him here receiving two awards for favourite film and best action picture at the People Choice ceremony.
Even though Wan increases the already over-exaggerated, he unfortunately allows the film to fall into that CGI hell most fans and audiences despise. The additional of Russell's Mr. Nobody feels forced and out of place, as does Emmanuel's character of Huxley. The God's Eye element is too far fetched and the resulting action and finale is way too unbelievable making this film one of the weakest in the series. However, it's still great fun and a good send off to one of the most important characters and actors of the entirely franchise.
Up Next: Fate of the Furious
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 9
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for being a heartfelt tribute to Paul Walker.
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Already do.
#VinDiesel #PaulWalker #MichelleRodriguez #JordanaBrewster #SungKang #BrianTyler #ElsaPataky #LukeEvans #DwayneJohnson #KurtRussell #NathalieEmmanuel #LucasBlack #RondaRousey #EdenEstrella #IggyAzalea #AliFazal #JamesWan #TonyJaa #JohnBrotherton #DjimonHounsou #NoelGugliemi #JasonStatham