If you’d told me a year ago that one of the Fast & Furious movies would make $1.5 billion at the box office and become the fifth highest grossing movie of all time, I would have laughed directly in your face. However, I’d be eating humble pie now, as that’s just what Fast & Furious 7 has done, helped by a record-breaking run in China.
I still have no idea why it did so well – not because it’s a dreadful movie, but simply because there’s it’s tough to understand why it was so stunningly successful. But then, I suppose it’s like McDonald’s – nobody would class it as genuinely great food, but it’s incredibly popular because it’s tasty and you know exactly what you’re going to get.
As always with Fast & Furious films, there is a plot, but quite frankly it’s not all that important. Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the brother of the villainous Owen Shaw from the last film, is really angry about his sibling being almost killed, and so sets out to murder Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the rest of the team.
Following the death of one of their number, Dominic, Brian (Paul Walker), Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and the rest vow they will get the incredibly dangerous Deckard.
Things are complicated by the appearance of a shady government official (Kurt Russell) who wants the crew to get their hands on a device called ‘God’s Eye’, which allows you to track any person on the planet, before it gets into the hands of a vicious terrorist. All this sets off a worldwide adventure, which, as you’d expect, involves lots of fast cars, explosions, action and a disregard for the laws of physics which suggest these movies are set in The Matrix.
In fact, I wonder whether its Matrix-like tendencies are part of the franchise’s success, as partway through the whole thing reminded me of kids playing with toys, where their miniature cars can do impossible things and it’s all about the over the top adventures in their imagination.
Despite James Wan taking over from Justin Lin in the director’s chair, all the expected Furious elements are in place and it all feels as familiar as you’d want, including the introduction of some new faces, such as Djimon Hounsou and Tony Jaa.
It is entertaining, although at times even the film itself doesn’t seem sure what the logic of its plot is, and nor does it seem to care that much. But then, it doesn’t need to, as it ensures that when the action kicks in, it’s big and exciting, if more than a little preposterous.
Thankfully it doesn’t spend too much time trading on the tragic death of Paul Walker, and despite the fact he passed away partway through production, his involvement in the movie is pretty much seamless. The emotion is left for the end, when the movie offers a surprisingly affecting tribute to its fallen star.
To be honest, there’s not really a huge amount more that I can say. It’s a Fast & Furious movie, it does Fast & Furious things, and if you liked other Fast & Furious movies, you’ll like this one. It does what it sets out to do well, which isn’t to put together a piece of drama that can rival Hamlet as one of history’s greatest works of art, but simply wishes to entertain.
The fact it does that pretty well is actually fairly impressive considering this is the seventh instalment in a franchise that started with a movie few considered a hit, and where many were surprised it even got one sequel (both Paul Walker and Vin Diesel abandoned the series at one point or another in the early days, before returning). However, it’s turned into a bit of a phenomenon, and while I can’t say I understand why it’s quite as popular as it is, I will admit Fast & Furious 7 quite fun.
Overall Verdict: This seventh instalment is as Fast& Furious-y as you could possibly want – you get exactly what you’d expect, with a fun, efficient, action-packed and completely ridiculous movie.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac