When Fast Five hit theatres in 2011 the series was clearly moving in the direction of the Ocean’s 11 movies with a tight crew pulling off incredible heists only with more amped up action, but with Furious 6 and now Furious 7 they are more of a cross between a G.I. Joe movie and Marvel’s Avengers. The main characters in this film exist in a world where the laws of physics do not apply and the villains are about as clearly defined as your average comic book nemesis.
Jason Statham will growl menacingly at anyone.
“Don’t worry Dwayne, I maybe the primary villain but I have about as much screen time as you.”
What follows is one insane heist/action sequence after another that constantly strains the viewer’s credulity at every turn. Need to stop a heavily armed convoy on a mountain road, well why not para-drop the team with their cars out of a military cargo plane? Certainly don’t bother to explain why that is the best option, just keep ramp up the action and the audience will hopefully not question how ludicrous it all is. The movie even lifts action set-pieces from other films; we get a bus hanging off a cliff ala the original Italian Job and a super-car jumping from one high-rise to another that is right out of the Tommy Lee Jones film Black Moon Rising. Sure the filmmakers may claim these are “homages” to those earlier action flicks but as I’m betting most of their target audience have never seen or even heard of those films I call bullshit.
Now don’t get me wrong this is a very fun film but it defines the term “check brain at door” as even a moment’s thought given to the threadbare plot elements will set it all unraveling. Characters say and do things simply to keep the momentum of the film going forward, it’s like this film is a shark and if it stops moving it will die. This entry is the longest in the series at 137 minutes and I’m betting there is about 10 minutes of story and the rest of it is over the top action beats.
Paul Walker tragically died during the production and I give the filmmakers major kudos for doing a fantastic job honoring his legacy as with the use of his two brothers and computer wizardry I never once doubted I was watching Paul Walker, basically everything about how they handled this was a pure top shelf class act and I’ll admit to welling up a little during the tribute montage at the end.
In conclusion this is an extremely silly film but also quite entertaining, director James Wan could have maybe toned down the spinning camera a bit, but overall he did a solid job for his first big action film gig, and maybe next time they can find a writer who can settle on one villain, a single plot, and hopefully have a defter hand with the comedy and then Roman (Tyrese Gibson) can be told to “Shut the hell up.”