Having been delayed in production due to the untimely death of one of it’s biggest stars, Paul Walker, Fast & Furious 7 finally hits cinemas. This fan however went in with a few questions. Would it live up to the hype of the last film? Has the halt in production affected the overall quality of the film? And above all, would it be a fitting tribute to it’s late star. The answers to all of these questions is generally positive, as though the film was far from perfect, this had nothing to do with the changes made following Walker’s death (at least the changes centred to him).
Seeking revenge on the men that killed his brother, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) spares no expense in obtaining his own brand of barbaric justice, with the death of Han (Sung Kang) at the end of Fast & Furious 6 only being the start. So with a bullseye on his back, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew are forced to work with a special ops team lead by the mysterious Frank Petty (Kurt Russell), who promises to help them track down Shaw in return for an item known as God’s Eye.
Having a strong premise, and a talented array of cast members, Fast & Furious 7 is built for success, and though ultimately there are a few places which fail to live up to sentiment, the film as a whole does. Having wonderful action from start to finish, director James Wan allows for a fluent transition between developments, with the insertion of comedy and beautiful cars helping to bring together the ultimate Fast & Furious package. Despite this, I did feel that some of the action and car stunts were a little over the top, as though it was fun to see cars soaring through the air, it felt a little too impractical. On the flip side, I’d much rather this than a dull alternative, with the martial arts on display from Jason Statham and Tony Jaa (Kiet) being a wonder to behold.
The one thing that has remained constant throughout the Fast & Furious franchise (at least since the return of the original cast back in 2009), is that it’s a story about family. This not only extends to the characters who are apart of Dom Toretto’s family, but his closest friends as well, with even Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) eventually falling into this category. This sentiment is translated wonderfully into the acting, as whether it’s Diesel’s strong leadership qualities, the life and soul that comes from the late Paul Walker (Brian O’Conner), or even the badass outsider like qualities that Johnson brings, it all helps to build this into a believable world. Despite this, I did feel that Jason Statham was badly underused, as though he was present for some wonderful action, there was no real depth to his character, literally entering for fight sequences alone.
The most notable moment in this film, has to be the way it ended. No, I’m not talking about the explosive battle that fans expect, but rather the touching tribute that the cast and crew have given to Paul Walker. Showing a transitional point, where his character is no longer in a position to continue to be a part of this risk taking lifestyle, the film quickly moves into a series of clips, highlighting his characters time throughout the franchise. This not only bring a fitting conclusion for his character’s time in the series, but also shows just how big a part Walker had in making Fast & Furious a success, with the cast and crew reflecting this wonderfully.
Fast & Furious 7 is a fabulous continuation to this franchise, and a fitting exit for the late Paul Walker. Yes, there’s a lot I’d change about the film, but at the same time, doing this could easily alter the tempo in a much more negative fashion. Nevertheless, the action, and emotional storytelling within this latest installment will keep fans entertained from start to finish, and though I’m in two minds as whether the franchise should continue in Walker’s absence, it sets great president for this possibility.