Seven films into the franchise and yet Furious 7 still does not disappoint, writes Glen Falkenstein…as long as you don’t think about it too much.
If you’re thinking too much into Furious 7, then you’ve got the wrong idea.
Cars drive between skyscrapers, out of planes, off cliffs and into each other at breakneck speeds. Physics and the limitations of the human body are an afterthought – if you’re asking questions, then stop.
The plot of Furious 7 – it’s not important. Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the bigger, badder brother of Owen Shaw from Furious 6 goes after the beloved team of rev-head misfits, headed by Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and The Rock (Dwayne Johnson). Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei from Game of Thrones) joins the gang as expert hacker Ramsey.
Veteran action star Kurt Russell jumps in as ill-defined covert agent Mr. Nobody, with cameos from Iggy Azalea and UFC champion Ronda Rousey. There follows a series of improbable yet spectacular actions sequences, fight scenes and hammy one-liners delivered with Diesel’s trademark bland yet sincere directness. The Furious saga again one-ups itself with tense, extravagant set-pieces and stunts – The Rock flexes a bicep and breaks an arm cast; even the explosions have explosions.
Overshadowing Furious 7 is the death of its star and the saga’s founding member, Paul Walker, who passed away in a car accident during production in 2013. The crew worked with Walker’s brothers Caleb and Cody, a re-jigged script and liberal amounts of CGI to complete Walker’s yet to be filmed scenes in the film. Walker’s posthumous inclusion is seamless in parts, a warm and affectionate tribute which doesn’t rely on overly-emotional segues, never distracting from the action or death-defying stunt at hand.
For a franchise known for being endearingly gratuitous, Walker’s final send-off after seven films, to the enormous credit of the producers, is not a tear-jerker. It is a poignant, simple reminder of enduring friendship which has characterised and held together a series that has spawned more sequels than most action sagas.
The Furious films have come a long way from a low-tech “Point Break” style drama about LA’s underground street-racers heisting VCRs to globe-hopping, espionage thrill-seeking in the penthouses of Abu Dhabi and streets of Tokyo.
With seven films and counting, the Furious Saga still delivers.