For their seventh adventure, the Fast & Furious cast and crew continue to outdo themselves with mind-boggling stunt driving and outrageous action mayhem, this time infusing everything with emotion as a way of honouring late actor Paul Walker. The rip-roaring pace and more internalised drama combine effectively to create a riotous thrill ride that might actually bring a lump to the throat. Even if it's all utterly preposterous, it's solidly entertaining.
Things pick up right where Part 6 left off, with former black-ops killer Deckerd Shaw (Jason Statham, who else?) determined to avenge his fallen brother. As he tracks them down, Dominic and Brian (Vin Diesel and Paul Walker) have reassembled their team (Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges) to take a job with shady government agent Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell). Their target is the even shadier villain Jakanda (Djimon Hounsou), who has kidnapped a genius hacker (Nathalie Emmanuel) to get his hands on her all-seeing gadget. But Shaw is on their trail as they track Jakanda to the mountains of Azerbaijan, and he interrupts their mission there as well as in the deserts of Abu Dhabi and the streets of downtown Los Angeles.
The double-edged premise offers all kinds of opportunity for plot twists, but of course the main point of these movies is to create increasingly insane set-pieces. This time, the film opens with Brian explaining to his young son that cars can't fly, after which director James Wan proves otherwise, flinging our heroes' hot rods into the sky from airplanes, tower blocks and cliff tops. Amazingly, they seem able to steer even in mid-air! But never mind, it looks so painfully cool that there's little do do but sit back and enjoy the chaos, knowing that even though a flashy vehicle is destroyed every minute, there's a newer, more awesome car coming in the next scene.
Continue reading: Furious 7 Review
The most impressive thing about the sixth entry into this noisy franchise is that it's both more preposterous and more self-important than ever before. Which is no mean feat. The cast and crew clearly went for something bigger and more explosive, but by removing their tongues from their cheeks they leave us laughing at them rather than with them. Even so, some of the crazed action scenes are breathtaking.
The story picks up right where the last one ended: Dominic and Brian (Diesel and Walker) have taken the fortune they grabbed in Rio and started an idyllic life in the Canary Islands. Brian and Dom's sister Mia (Brewster) have even produced an adorable baby. Then US Agent Hobbs (Johnson) appears asking for their help in capturing the villainous Shaw (Evans), who is collecting military technological gadgets for some nefarious purpose. And they agree to go along because Dom's presumed-dead girlfriend Letty (Rodriguez) is working with him. So they reassemble the team (Pataky, Gibson, Bridges, Kang, Gadot and Carano) and get started in London.
Yes, this chapter takes place in Europe, which gives the filmmakers new landmarks to race past in their elaborately orchestrated chase sequences, throwing cars like toys at every plate-glass window in sight. The first night-time set-piece in London is fairly incoherent (and nonsensical), but things get better from there, with a whizzy bit of competitive driving for Dom and Letty and a few other showdowns before the action moves to Spain for a couple of massive, gob-smacking action sequences that would boggle the mind if we thought for a second that they were even marginally possible.
Continue reading: Fast & Furious 6 Review