Fast and Furious 7 – Review

Click on the image to see the trailer
Click on the image to see the trailer

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CARS!

If you didn’t like the first six instalments of the turbo charged, mono-pulling V8 monster franchise, then you’ll hate this one. I love them, and Furious 7 is the FASTEST yet! And, of course, you can not watch this movie and appreciate anything about it, other than the cars of course, without watching the first six feature length episodes. Did I mention the cars? Wait till you see the Lycan Hypersport. In the immortal words of Paul Walker, “$3.4 million, 0-60 in less than 30 seconds, there’s 7 of these things in the world!” It certainly is a beautiful thing.

Directed by James Waan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring), Furious 7 continues on from where Fast and Furious 6, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift left off. Vin Diesel (Guardians of the Galaxy, Babylon A.D., The Chronicles of Riddick), again headlines the show as Dominic Toretto alongside Brian O’Conner played by Paul Walker (Brick Mansions, Hours, Vehicle 19). Several members of the original cast also reprise their roles, including: Michelle Rodriguez (Machete Kills, Resident Evil: Retribution, Battle: Los Angeles), as Dom’s wife, Leticia “Letty” Ortiz-Toretto; Jordana Brewster (American Heist, Home Sweet Hell, Annapolis), as Brian’s wife, Mia Toretto-O’Conner; Tyrese Gibson (Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Legion, Death Race), as the token clown, Roman Pearce; Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas, Hercules, Pain & Gain), as Luke Hobbs, a ‘hulking’ Diplomatic Security Service agent; Elsa Pataky (Thor: The Dark World, The Wine of Summer, All Things to All Men), as Hobbs’s partner, Elena Neves; Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (New Year’s Eve, Gamer, Max Payne), as Tej Parker, a very switched on mechanic and technician; and Lucas Black (42, Promised Land, Legion) makes a cameo as “DK” (Drift King) Sean Boswell. This was one of the questionable continuity choices made by the movie makers, considering Black no longer looks like the fresh-faced 16-year-old he was when starring in Tokyo Drift back in 2006.    

Newcomers to the cast of the action-packed saga include: Veteran superstar Kurt Russell (Death Proof, Tombstone, Escape from New York, and appearances in over 50 other movies since 1963), as agent Frank Petty; Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones, Twenty8k), as a tech savvy Megan Ramsey; Jason Statham (The Expendables 1, 2 and 3, Parker, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), as rogue special forces assassin, and ultimate bad guy, Deckard Shaw; Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blood Diamond, The Island), as another bad guy, Mose Jakande; the one and only, and absolutely amazing, Thai martial artist, Tony Jaa (Ong Bak 1, 2 and 3, The Bodyguard 1 and 2), in his Hollywood debut as another bad guy, Kiet; and current UFC champion and Olympic athlete, Rhonda Rousey (Entourage, Expendables 3), as Kara, the Head of Security for an Abu Dhabi billionaire.

Deckard Shaw (Statham), is hellbent on revenge after discovering his younger brother, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans – The Hobbit 1, 2 and 3, Dracula Untold, Immortals), is comatose in hospital following the actions of Dominic Toretto’s team, shown in the final scenes of The Fast and Furious 6. His objective is to hunt down and destroy all members of the team beginning with the now Tokyo based, Han Seoul-Oh (yes, that’s right, just like Harrison Ford in Star Wars, only a different spelling. Super cool right!), played by Sung Kang (Bullet to the Head, Ninja Assassin, Pearl Harbor). Rewind back to The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and the death of Han, and so begins instalment seven. Following the destruction of the Los Angeles based Toretto home, Dom travels to Japan to transport Han’s body back to the US. At Han’s funeral, Shaw is seen by Dom and a car chase ensues. It soon ends, resulting in a close encounter between the two, only to be interrupted by a covert ops team before the altercation elevates. The leader of the team,”Mr. Nobody” (Russell), offers to help him catch Shaw if Dom assists him in a mission that only Dom and his team can pull-off. And so begins another crazy, action-packed, roller coaster ride, jam-packed full of stunts and car chases to fully satisfy any Fast and Furious lover.      

Well done to stunt coordinator, Spiro Razatos for continuing his fantastic work on from the previous movies in the franchise, Fast Five and Fast and Furious 6. Not only do the stunts surpass those of all of the other movies in the franchise, but I’d rate them up there with the best stunts of all time. The “air drop” sequence will be hard for any stunt team to top. This involved dropping five cars from a Lockheed C-130 Hercules at 12000 feet. Each car’s parachute deployed at 5000 feet and landed safely onto a mountain road. No computer generated imagery (CGI) was used as Razatos wanted the scenes to “feel real.” Amazing! The scene featuring Brian (Walker) climbing out of the crashed bus and running along the top, while it slowly slides off a cliff was performed by a stuntman and was also created using no CGI. One stunt that required a substantial amount of CGI however, was when Diesel did a Smokey Bandit with the Abu Dhabi billionaire’s Lycan Hypersport out of the Etihad Towers. Crazy! All up, 340 cars were used in the making of Furious 7, and more than 230 of them were destroyed.   

Furious 7 sadly marks the final movie appearance of one of its main stars, Paul Walker, who was killed in a single-vehicle accident off-set on November 30, 2013. Production of Furious 7 was only partially completed at the time, and of course, included Walker in several scenes. Following his death, filming was delayed for a period of mourning, script rewriting and production planning. A new strategy was devised that included employing the talents of Walker’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, to be used as stand-ins to complete Walker’s remaining scenes. Filming resumed on April 1, 2014. Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital (creators of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings franchise, and Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), were employed to recreate Walker’s face and body for certain scenes. Although they mostly did a great job in replicating Walker, there were times throughout the movie that it just wasn’t right. It was so easy to tell that it just wasn’t him. But it worked for the most part, and hats off to the movie makers for doing what they did in paying homage to the young star, especially during the final scenes.

Breaking many records since its opening weekend, Fast and Furious 7 has lived up to its name by earning the status of being the fastest movie ever to earn $1 billion at the box office. Making $1.152 billion worldwide, it is already the seventh-highest grossing movie of all time, the highest-grossing film in the franchise, the twentieth film to gross over $1 billion, and the highest-grossing film of 2015, all within three weeks of its release. Nice one Vin.

Can’t wait for Furious 8!          

  If you like Fast and Furious 7, you might also like: Gone in 60 Seconds (1974, 2000), The Fast and the Furious (2001), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Fast and Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011), Fast and Furious 6 (2013), Need for Speed (2014).

      The Movie Lad rates this: Four out of a possible five really cheesy lines from The Rock.

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