There really is no better mix of testosterone, speed, and thrill than the Fast & Furious films. I remember how much I enjoyed the first one a long time ago, I remember how Paul Walker won me over time and time again in its sequels.
To me Paul Walker has been the soul of the franchise, so I was worried about this seventh installment considering the fact that Walker passed away in 2013. Would it be the same knowing what happened to him in real life, or would real life events cloud and tarnish the potential of the most expensive Fast-film to date?
Warning – expect spoilers for the film in the following part of the review
Brian O’Conner’s last ride is funny, exhilarating, over-the-top, but most importantly it is emotional. You won’t be surprised when you watch the first 90% of the film – it is the classic Fast-formula. Fast cars, great action, believability issues, scantily clad women, and a family. For better or worse the formula stays the same.
Truthfully, I felt that the Race Wars women were a bit too much – showed too much – too inappropriate. But then again, it’s a Fast-film. You can’t really complain about the formula of a franchise if you willingly pay to see its seventh installment.
The plot’s never perfect in a Fast-film, and definitely not in this one, as you jump from L.A. to Dubai and back again due to less than stellar plotpoints. But the underlying story is that Brian O’Conner needs to slow down and be the family man.
In order to do that, however, they will have to battle Deckard Shaw (played by Jason Statham), a man with a vendetta against the family; and cooperate with ‘Mr Nobody’ (played by Kurt Russell), who supposedly will lead Vin Diesel and the gang into the coming installments.
I’m not going to evaluate how Walker’s CGI face functioned, but I will mention that it didn’t take me out of the experience too much. Speaking of what happened behind the camera – you could definitely feel that this wasn’t a Justin Lin film. James Wan did fine, for sure, but I missed Lin at times. Also, I wasn’t a big fan of how they moved the camera in falling combat.
Dwayne Johnson isn’t featured in this film a lot, which really surprised me, but they make do with cameos and new stars. Speaking of cameos, the Ronda Rousey-one really upset me. She had no function, other than to keep Michelle Rodriguez’ Letty occupied in Dubai.
I enjoyed seeing Russell in this film, and thought he did fine in his scenes with Dom. I’m excited to see what’s next for him in this franchise, as long as they don’t go full-Expendables. If they start casting Burt Reynolds, then that would be a gigantic red flag.
Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson actually had a lot to do in this film – yes, they did more than stare at Ramsey (played by newcomer Nathalie Emmanuel). You might argue that their little courtship-battle was taken directly from Fast Five, and you’d be right. Also, while Tyrese did fine as the comic relief, at times he felt misplaced – like he was on the wrong set. His lines felt like they were stolen from Rush Hour.
I think I need to make one thing very clear about the performances in this film, and how they added to the cinematic value of the film: Vin Diesel singlehandedly carried this film on his back. And did so well.
In the introduction, I mentioned how I had always felt that Paul Walker was the soul of the franchise, well this film showed me that Vin Diesel is its heart – and most viewers will be captivated by the emotion poured into the ending of the movie.
One of the things that can ruin scenes like the one ending the film, is the music playing in the background. Thankfully, and I truly mean this, Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” was beautiful, befitting, and emotionally driven. A perfect choice.
I am so happy that they made this film, and I am so happy that the cast, crew, and family paid their respects in such a beautiful way.
Final Score: 7.9 out of 10.0 – For Paul. An emotional thrill-ride.
I’m Jeffrey Rex