A fitting tribute to Paul Walker, Fast & Furious 7 stays true to the franchise and delivers an entertaining mess of cars, guns and of course, explosions.’
By now I am sure that most people understand that the Fast & Furious films tend to push most of their budgets into the special effects, explosives and luxurious cars, rather than into writing a plot filled with much substance. But such is the nature of almost any Vin Diesel movie; we are not here to think, we are here to be entertained.
The film begins with a somewhat corny and forced monologue from Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) as he sets out for revenge on the team that put his younger brother in a near-death state (see: Fast & Furious 6). From there we see the main members of the team introduced in their current lives. Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is still experiencing a severe bout of amnesia as she struggles to return to her reality, straining her relationship with Dom (Diesel). Brian (Paul Walker) is slowly adjusting to his life as a father, swapping fast cars for family-friendly mini-vans as he attempts to start a family with Mia (Jordana Brewster). However, this does not last long as Shaw’s quest for blood leads him to the team. Without the resources necessary to get one step ahead of Shaw, Dom is forced to help “Mr. Nobody” (Kurt Russell) rescue a kidnapped hacker to gain the assistance he needs. From there the plot bumbles its way through the story, as Shaw continues to meddle in the team’s plans to rescue the captive at the most inconvenient of times. Whilst the story of a F&F film is nothing to be taken seriously, the seventh iteration of the series certainly finds itself making unnecessary plot choices to reach the final sequence of events. This is likely attributable to the tragic death of Walker in late 2013, nearly half-way through the production of the film. It’s obvious that serious rewriting hampered the original direction of Furious 7 but the film still sticks to the spirit of the franchise, delivering on such an entertaining level that these issues become insignificant.
With more explosions and ridiculous stunts than you can shake several sticks at, the true heart of the movie lies in each of the high-octane action sequences that revolve around the crew. One moment you will find yourself on the edge of your seat in anticipation, the next you will be laughing at the sheer stupidity of what you are seeing; Fast & Furious doesn’t take itself too seriously and that is what makes it great. Let me just describe one scene in particular for you (Spoilers… I guess?): After witnessing the mayhem going on in downtown Los Angeles, Hobbs breaks open the cast on his arm simply by tensing his biceps, steals an ambulance and drives it off a bridge and into a drone, picks up a heavy machine gun from the drone, proceeds to wreck everything in sight and then shoots down a helicopter with his own sidearm. It is truly unbelievable to watch ‘The Rock’ become the biggest badass in the history of cinema in approximately ten minutes and I was laughing and cheering my way through it all. The action sequences of Fast 7 leave you with a buzz of adrenaline far greater than anything seen in the previous iterations of the franchise, which is not an easy feat given what has come before it. In the end they compensate more than enough for the weak storyline of the film, delivering on the trademark entertainment that has made the series so popular.
While majority of the film is action-orientated, the death of Walker and the fate of his character certainly linger in the back of your mind during the events of Furious 7. I will not spoil the ending, but it serves as a fitting and emotional tribute to the man who was in so many ways at the core of the franchise. Throughout the film Dom refers to his team as family, drawing obvious parallels between the relationship of the characters and the relationship of the cast. Walker will always be remembered for his role as Brian O’Conner in the evolution of the Fast and Furious from street racing to global heists. What the team behind Furious 7 did to ensure that Paul’s last film would be bigger and better than the rest is commendable and leaves a lasting mark on the minds of viewers about a life sadly lost far too early. The film won’t win an Oscar, but the combination of action, recklessly entertaining driving and cheesy one-liners makes Furious 7 a memorable trip to the cinemas.