Yeah I’m not really a fan of these movies. Even the first one which is probably the best I would argue is a bit over-rated but the least I would say is a lot of the Fast and Furious films had an identity in the early days. I think this has definitely got lost as these films have gone on and these films definitely shouldn’t have got as far as a seventh movie but the studio kept pushing these out so I had to keep seeing them much to my detriment and in all honesty I am amazed Fast and Furious 7 has even been released. It was delayed a couple of times due to the tragic death of Paul Walker in 2013. I will go more into detail about how the film goes round this later on in the review. I went back and forth whether I wanted to review this film considering because I was worried I would be overly kind to the film in regards to the circumstances around the filming. However, I decided in the end that there really wasn’t anything else coming out Easter weekend and it wouldn’t be fair to the actor or any of the people who worked on the film that this one wouldn’t get a fair grilling so with some hope that this film franchise might have slightly improved on some level I went in to see the film.
Fast and Furious 7’s plot takes place directly after the end of Fast and Furious 6. Dom (played by Vin Diesel) is still living comfortably, Brian (played by Paul Walker) has got his family life back together and Agent Hobbs (played by Dwayne Johnson AKA The Rock) is still kicking all kinds of arse and taking down big names in the crime world.
The plot really kicks off right from the start with Deckard Shaw(played in this film by Jason Statham), brother of the previous film’s villain Owen Shaw (played by an unconscious Luke Evans for 5 seconds) who vows revenge on the group that took down his brother in the Sixth film and uses Hobbs’ computer files of the gang in order to take them down. Basically, your basic revenge plot. However, things come to a head when Mr Nobody (played by Kurt Russell) recruits Dom and his group to rescue a hacker named Ramsey (played by Nathanie Emmanuel) in order to get back a surveillance programme called God’s Eye and if he does so he will put all his resources into taking down Shaw.
If you were coming into this film expecting anything different from the previous films don’t be this is basically a very similar film to the previous films, particularly Fast and Furious 5 and 6. Instead of the street race based L.A. thriller the first couple of films focused on, we are back to the later films globe hopping with a heist film mixed in that 5 and 6 delivered. The main location this time being Abu Dhabi. However, unlike 5 and 6 we don’t stay in Abu Dhabi for most of the film. In fact there is quite a few more locations this time around including a brief sequence in Azerbaijan and don’t expect this film in any way to go back to it street racing identity. There is only one street race throughout the entire film and it is right at the beginning and holds absolutely no consequence to anything. That is less than the previous two films and is one of the things I would like to see when I watch a Fast and Furious movie. The characters aren’t much different and I didn’t really like these characters to begin with. They are basically stereotypes of stereotypes. In fact you won’t really remember these characters by their character names you will remember them by the actors who play them.
Most of the new additions are not really that welcome and really lacking in much better personality. Ramsey isn’t much fun and she barely has any character to begin with which makes me upset that Han from the previous film is killed off in the first 30 minutes. Jason Statham is also not really a very good villain. He is well cast in this role but he is never allowed to be the villain. He feels very inconsequential to the plot and his character suffers through some of the bigger plot holes of the movie. Stathem just seems to pop out of nowhere whenever the gang is doing anything to cause havoc how the hell does he know where they are and how does he get there so fast it’s hardly a trip across town to Abu Dahbi from the middle of Azerbijan. I thought this would be explained by a plot twist but the actual plot twist raised further questions and nothing was explained. It is also a shame that Agent Hobbs really isn’t in this movie. The Rock’s role in the previous two films really was the stand out performance and he practically stole the show from Vin Diesel and in this film he is barely used. He gets into a fight with Jason Statham at the beginning, disappears for the entire middle act and then turns up for the climax at the end. This feels like a really big rip off especially considering he was on most of the posters for the film and in all of the trailers. The trailers implied he was going to have a bigger role in these films. That is not changing the fact that all of these characters apart from Hobbs are really just dull. Even newcomer Mr Nobody who potentially could have been a really good character is wasted in this film because the writers just write him as a caricature and I’m just not sure what he is a caricature of. All I know is I have seen that character in plenty of films and I’ve seen it done better. The plot also meanders like nobody’s business. There is no reason for any of these films to be 130 minutes long. They have been doing this since 5 and that film, 6 and 7 could easily have come in at 100 or even 90 minutes.
I also really didn’t care about a lot of the characters’ motivations in this film and Michelle Rodriguez’s memory loss is finally brought to its conclusion in this film and it is not very satisfying. I also felt this film was beyond objective with the female characters and women in general. Where feminists complain that media and films are overly objectifying women, this film is a prime example of that and the way some of the camera shots were taken you really had to roll back your eyes and say come on! In other words everything that was wrong with the previous two or three movies is here again. It is almost the exact same plot. The difference is now I have seen it about six times. I don’t need to see it again. If you want to make this many movies warrant there to be a reason for this many movies. The Fast and Furious franchise hasn’t managed that.
I will say the plot this time feels a lot more personal to the characters compared to 5 and 6 but that is the only real positive point and we actually spend more time in L.A. . Everything about the plot just feels really half arsed and just there because they wanted to get a sequel out. The villains are not that memorable and this is a plot that is basically very forgettable and it has done in the previous two films. For the love of God you could easily have written a much different film to the previous two.
Acting wise, these actors are suited to their roles. They are just not that well written. Actors like Vin Diesel and Paul Walker do suit these roles, they have been playing them for most of this franchise now and they kind of suit the caricatures they are written to so you can’t fault their performances they are just not brilliantly written. Once again The Rock hits it out of the park with one of the best characters he has played so far. It is just a shame the film has absolutely no idea what to do with him anymore. Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster are not much better in these films and I think Jordana Brewster is really getting sick of the direction of these films because she is barely in the film this time either and I think it has finally caught on to her that she has basically been used as a sex object for the last couple of films.
If you looked on the IMDB page and saw Gal Gadot’s credit for this film don’t expect to see her. She is not actually in the movie, just a picture of her and still be afraid people she is still being cast as Wonder Woman! Let’s hope for the love of God that the Director can get a really good performance out of her. As for the newcomers they are well cast but they don’t give amazing performances. Jason Statham has been a lot better in previous films that he has been in which is a shame because he has basically become a British action star. Kurt Russell and Nathanie Emmanuel both feel like they are half arsing it. For the absolute worst performance for the film again are Ludacris and Lucas Black who both deliver incredibly awful performances. Seriously stop.
Overall these aren’t mostly terrible performances they are just terribly written characters. I actually think new Director James Wan has done a better job than previous film Director Justin Lin. However, even he can’t get around this script that feels asinine. I commend the actors for at least keeping their performances consistent throughout most of the films and I think Paul Walker’s final performance is a decent one that his family should be happy he went out on.
All that leaves now is the action, stunts and cinematography. Once again like the previous films the action and the set pieces are decent for the most part. This time they are definitely a mixed bag. The fight between The Rock and Jason Statham at the beginning of the film is really good and is definitely the best scene of the film but even this falls into the trap that a lot of these scenes have. For crying out loud don’t insult my intelligence. If you try to do half of this stuff in real life you will die! Period!
The best example of this was the scene that has been played over and over again in all the trailers with the cars trying to catch up with the prison bus by having the cars jump out of a plane and having a parachute open up so that the cars land safely. Yeah I don’t care what planet you live on, what cables you use and whatever way the Directors justified this, you try putting a parachute on something that heavy it will fail! Why do they expect me to buy this!
There is also a sequence in Abu Dhabi where a super car is crashing through the glass and jumping between towers and various storeys. Again I don’t care how fast you drive that car it will not go far enough to go that distance this is physics I would expect in team fotress 2. It is not as bad as the tank chase from 6 or the scene in 5 with the cars pulling the safe whilst engaging in a high speed chase with the police – seriously that is one of the stupidest things I have seen on screen. But I am still really struggling to suspend my disbelief.
The fight scenes are relatively well shot and I would say most of them work out though I do think a lot of this film suffers a real problem with shaky cam and having the camera in too close to the action so it is very difficult to tell what is going on. I will say a lot of these sequences do require the characters to commit a lot of casual murder which considering that some of this is being committed by the main characters is not going to help me endear to them.
I will say I was glad that these scenes relied a lot more on actual cars than they did with CGI but when the CGI is used it is done relatively well and is integrated fairly decently.
The stunt work is also impressive on the most part and the actors do pretty well in it despite the fact that some of the shots are obvious reshoots to work in Paul Walker’s brothers to fill out his position in some of the stunt work.
There is nothing inherently wrong with the cinematography though I did think at times it was slightly grading and it did fall into quite a few things I don’t like about in films like unnecessary speed up and the panning shot of the characters walking towards the camera done in slow motion. Seriously that was a cliché when I was a kid. But I will say it did take a lot of advantage of its location shots and these were done fairly well. Also, if anyone who has actually seen the movie can let me know if they thought that some of the scenes shot in Azerbaijan were of the famous road in Romania that the Top Gear team visited I would be happy to know if that is a fact or not because I was fairly certain that they went to do a few shot there although it also looks like they used another location for later parts of the shot.
Overall my thoughts on Fast and Furious 7 is it is basically the same movie. There is not much different here and I didn’t really like it the first time. Fans of the previous 6 films will probably lap this one up and I would really say I can only recommend it to them. Everyone else steer clear of this one. There is not much to it and I will say it’s not as bad as Need for Speed or last week’s Seventh Son but I didn’t really have a good time seeing this one. The acting isn’t great, the plot has a million plot holes and does’t really work overall and the stunts really felt like they were insulting my intelligence. If you only have enough money to see one film this month save your money – “Avengers Age of Ultron” is coming out in a couple of weeks.
Oh and stick around til the end because there is a very touching tribute to Paul Walker just before the credits
Well what are your thoughts on Fast and Furious 7? Did you enjoy it more than I did or wasn’t it really for you? Please leave a comment if you like and we would be happy to reply to as many as possible.
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With that being said, since this is probably the final Fast and Furious movie (and please let’s hope it is going to be the final film), my question is:
“Which is your best and worst Fast and Furious movies?”
Well I have had two weeks in a row of films that don’t really do much for me so next week I think I need to review a film that I reckon will have a better of chance of doing more for me.
On 17 April 2015 I am going to post online my review of “John Wick” as it FINALLY gets its UK release.
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