At this point in the franchise I don’t think it’s exactly a mystery what each new chapter will entail. It’s more of the same here with fast cars, over-the-top action sequences, cheesy dialogue and of course lots of scantily clad women shaking their ass to some dime a dozen pop song. These are the usual tropes and with F7 this legacy continues. It’s hard to deny that this particular addition to the franchise felt quite a bit different. Paul Walker died and his shadow and accident loomed large over the movie.
With James Wan taking over the reins from Justin Lin, this chapter feels more visceral and stripped down. That’s not to say that it’s not filled with some truly ridiculous sequences which include, but are not limited to, falling out of planes in cars, flying cars into multiple buildings and hand to hand combat that would leave any real person in a coma or dead. Justin Lin brought a certain gloss to his F&F films; with the story this time around being one of revenge, a more gritty approach feels appropriate. My biggest problem with Wan at the helm is he unfortunately turned to the fast editing method for the action scenes, specifically the fist fights. Wan is currently my favorite horror director and he does an adequate job here it’s just not the same as his flawless work on films like The Conjuring and Insidious. But the fact that this is technically his first big budget Hollywood blockbuster outside of the horror genre he did a damn fine job. He upheld the current upswing the franchise seems to be taking and I think most importantly helped send Walker off in a truly classy and heartbreaking way.
After all the explosions, bullets, acrobatics and endless funny quips it’s the ending that really sold me on this specific outing with the Furious crew. It was on my mind as I’m sure it was on everyone else’s in the theater; how were they going to handle his death? I would say they handled it as best as anyone could have ever hoped. Like handling a delicate piece of art, they said goodbye to their friend in the most respectful and complete way possible. It not only allowed for cast and crew to say goodbye, it allowed us as fans to say our farewells too. He was a major part of this franchise; he was in part the heart and soul of it along with his co-star Vin Diesel and they helped carry this to become one of the most profitable franchises in cinema history. With half the heart and half the soul gone, any further additions (they’re coming, I promise) will have an emptiness about them that no amount of money or story writing will be able to fill. In the end it almost felt as if the film stopped to let him off the crazy train. It wasn’t so much a conclusion to Bryon O’Connor’s story but more so a closing for the once great man, Paul Walker. It nearly brought me to tears as the homage to his character and ultimately himself played with Diesel’s voice saying his most heartbreaking goodbye. It was a heavy moment handled perfectly.
Now as for story there is a serious lack of Dwayne Johnson in this film. When his character was first introduced he brought a boost of energy and bravado to an already hectic storyline. In F7 he appears in about twenty to twenty-five minutes and that’s it. The entire middle section is void of The Rock and it felt a bit lacking at times because of it. But ultimately the core cast carries this film to a satisfying end with plenty of style, attitude and gallons of gasoline and burnt rubber making a pretty kick-ass ride. If you can accept this as nothing more than a popcorn flick with not a whole lot of brain power propelling it forward then you should have a lot of fun with F7. I had a good time and would definitely recommend it to any fans of the previous Fast & Furious films. Strap in, hold on, and get ready for a wild and crazy NOS fueled thrill ride!
Rated PG-13 For: prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language
Run Time: 137 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson
Directed By: James Wan
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 3.5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below:
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