James Wan’s seventh drive by of the Fast and Furious franchise is a far cry from a dead-beat sequel, never mind the fact that this seventh instalment leaves your heart pounding, if not aching for an eighth. However, as a befitting farewell to Paul Walker, whose character, alongside Vin Diesel, branded the series from the get-go, it’s easy to see that the high-octane action thriller is definitely pulling out all the stops for one last ride.
Furious 7 comes in from right where the sixth left off; a bold move for those new to the franchise. The death of Han and the loss of Dominic’s (Diesel) family home spur his crew on to investigate why they’re being hunted one by one. In comes Deckard Shaw (Statham), the cliché, big, bad brother of the villain from number six, but nevertheless one ultimate assassin who means business. Having few options, the crew accept another deal from government suit, Mr Nobody (Russell), in order to gain extra back-up.
From there the thrill ride of a film focuses on what it does best. Stunts continue to push the envelope, particularly in Walker’s case, reinforcing the idea that there’s no such thing as too much creativity. In short, you will certainly be left on the edge of your seat.
Within the audacity of it all, each of the crew has something charismatic to offer us. Diesel gets in touch with his sensitive side as the protective family man, despite the impending and melancholy end of his bromance with Walker who is struggling with family issues of his own. Letty’s (Michelle Rodriguez) amnesia from the the previous film is still on the table, adding another level of strain to the “family” unit.
Fast and Furious 7 is still very much a film bristling with macho mannerisms and masculinity which touches on the cheesy one-liners. However, its choice to focus on the drivers more so than the cars will always be a string to the film’s bow. Wan’s work manages two achievements very successfully: the first is a fuelled injection of high-octane sequences which will leave you laughing in disbelief, if not gasping in awe; the second is to make a memorable tribute to Walker with an ending sequence that is both warm and sentimental.