It’s been twelve years since Point Break with cars aka, The Fast and The Furious raced into cinema halls, catching everyone by surprise. It had enough juice to make a decent film followed up by a nitrous induced attempt at a sequel with 2 Fast 2 Furious after which came a drag race of sorts with Tokyo Drift that turned it into a sleeper hit, eventually heralded the return of the Old Guard in Fast and Furious followed up by ideally the best entries in the series in Fast Five, The Fast and Furious 6 and now Furious 7.
The series is testament to the old adage that all you need to do is try and try till you eventually succeed. Director Justin Lin stumbled upon the formula in 2011’s Fast Five, where he brought in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to revive a franchise thrashing around in throes of death. Johnson’s introduction and a new plot system, took the series from, “Damn, they made another one?” to “Damn, I can’t wait for the next one.”
The latest instalment pits The Turretto Family and friends against a former Black Ops assassin named Deckard Shaw, the brother of the antagonist(Luke Evans) from the previous film. Big Brother is clearly not happy with what Dom and Co did to his brother, swears revenge and thus begins a ride that traverses the streets of LA, Abu Dhabi and an insane sequence through The Causcaus Mountains. Amongst all this debris is a small hacking device called God’s Eye that Kurt Russell, a government agent is doing his best to prevent falling into the wrong hands. Russell takes over after an encounter between Hobbs(The Rock) and Deckard Shaw leaves the former in the hospital.
Furious 7 is a lesson in how to give the laws of physics that govern our lives one big, fat, happy, Fuck You. There are instances in the film where you’re watching a set piece unfold on screen where you’re pretty sure that they’re not going to get out of that alive; Yet they walk away from most accidents without as much as breaking into a sweat. But once you make your peace with it, Furious 7 turns into this fun batshit crazy rollercoaster ride that you can’t take your eyes off of. Apart from a clunkily edited climax, Furious 7 for the most part is entertainment at it’s unadulterated best. Props must be given to the sequence in Abu Dhabi where you are for all intents and purposes holding onto your own seat in the theatre for dear life.
Performance wise, The Furious franchise has never thrown us Oscar worthy performances. Diesel, Walker and the rest of the cast turn in decent performances. Statham and Johnson are barely around, even though the latter gets some of the film’s best dialogues.
And now we address the elephant in the room.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last three years, you’d know that Paul Walker passed away during filming in an unrelated car accident. His passing broke the cast, delayed production by a year and gave the writers a massive headache with regards to restructuring the plot. It’s quite obvious in parts of the film, where the plot is extremely muddled and makes no sense. In fact, it feels like two films that are running parallel to each other in one movie. Walker’s brothers Caleb and Cody were brought into film Walker’s remaining bits and there are points in the film where it’s painfully obvious.
But it’s the way that the film wraps up that hits you the hardest.
Christ, I’m getting emotional just thinking about it.
For a film which deals with elaborate set pieces and cars dropping out of planes, you do not expect a film like this to handle such an issue with such maturity. I wasn’t even fond of Paul Walker and I found myself sobbing whilst watching the finale unfold. It was at that moment in time that I realized that along with everyone else in the theatre, that I too was a part of this crazy, race-car loving, death defying family and now, I was mourning the loss of a family member I’d never met. I’ve never seen these people, never had a conversation with them, but there I was, tears streaming down my cheeks, feeling their pain.
That’s the magic of cinema, I s’pose. Such a powerful medium and we’re only just discovering it’s potential.
Furious 7 is an explosive package wrapped in a layer of sentimentality and emotion that compliment each other terrifically. It serves as a great entrant to the summer blockbuster season and will leave you laughing, screaming and sobbing in equal measure. Go watch it now if you haven’t already. You’ll get your money’s worth, trust me.
Another thing that I noticed in the film’s closing stages was during the film’s emotionally charged finale, where a CGI Walker looks at Diesel and asks, “Thought You Could Leave Without Saying Goodbye?” It is at this point that you know deep down that he’s finally bidding us all farewell, not just Diesel. It’s the last time that anyone of us will see Paul Walker on screen. If that doesn’t choke you up, I don’t know what will.