Review: FAST & FURIOUS 7 (2015) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Review: FAST & FURIOUS 7 (2015)

FAST & FURIOUS 7 is overlong and overly melodramatic, but ridiculously over-the-top and fun enough to satisfy most die-hard fans of the series.

When you walk into the cinema to watch a FAST & FURIOUS movie, it's obvious that you leave your brain and your logic at the door. After all, this is the kind of Hollywood blockbuster that wears its over-the-top silliness like a badge of honour. And it is evident since director Justin Lin single-handedly revitalised the series into a billion-dollar franchise, beginning with the fourth entry known as FAST & FURIOUS (2009). Unfortunately, he chose to bow out of the franchise after the successful entry in FAST & FURIOUS 6 (2013) and made way for James Wan to take over the director's chair instead. Originally slated for release in July 2014, FAST & FURIOUS 7 was forced to stop production when lead actor Paul Walker was tragically killed in a car crash on November 30, 2013. But instead of scrapping the movie altogether, the studio (Universal Pictures) was wise enough to rewrite some of the scenes to give Paul's character of Brian O'Conner a proper farewell.


In this seventh entry, big brother Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) promises to his terribly injured brother Owen (Luke Evans) that he determines to kill Dom (Vin Diesel) and his whole crew for revenge. He already killed Han (Sun Kang) in Tokyo, and even manages to put Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) into the hospital. After blowing up Dom's house in Los Angeles, Dom and his crew is set out for revenge after learning about Han's death as well. But things get complicated when a mysterious government agent nicknamed Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) offers Dom a deal: rescue a hacker named Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and retrieves a Big Brother-like surveillance device known as God's Eye from a terrorist group led by Jakande (Djimon Hounsou). In return, Dom and his crew is allowed to use the device to track down Shaw.

Best known for some of the most popular horror movies in recent memory including SAW (2004) and THE CONJURING (2013), the idea of seeing director James Wan handling a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster seems like a risky choice. However, Wan proves to be a competent filmmaker when comes to staging some of the most spectacular stunts ever seen in the FAST & FURIOUS series with the help of veteran stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos.

The returning cast -- including Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Jordana Brewster and Dwayne Johnson -- are adequate enough for their roles. It is particularly heartbreaking, especially for many die-hard fans of his movies and the series itself, to see Paul's unexpectedly final performance in FAST & FURIOUS 7. It is even more poignant to see him during the final montage scene that shows selected clips from all the previous six FAST & FURIOUS movies. Rounding up the cast are new additions, including Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Djimon Hounsou, Nathalie Emmanuel, as well as notable cameo appearances of Tony Jaa and Ronda Rousey.

As evidently shown in the heavily-promoted trailers, it was the two highly-entertaining action scenes worth watching for: the elaborate set-piece that begins with a bunch of parachute-equipped vehicles skydiving out of the C-130 cargo plane and continues with a dramatic car chase along the winding road of the Azerbaijan mountainside, before concluding with Brian running and jumping to his safety just before the overturned bus sliding off the cliff. The other memorable action set-piece is the insanely-choreographed car chase inside one of Abu Dhabi's skyscrapers that sends the car crashing through the windows and flying through the mid-air before going over to the next building, and again, to the third building.

Although Wan knows how to pull off over-the-top action sequences and crazy vehicular stunts that made FAST & FURIOUS such a popular franchise, he spends most of the time shooting his movie like a person suffering from epilepsy. Suffice to say, his filmmaking style is reminiscent of most today's action filmmakers that favours over herky-jerky camerawork and frenetic editing than old-school shooting style. The result is quite frustrating to enjoy the action sequences properly. This is more evident when I watch the movie in the IMAX 3D cinema. Frankly, the inclusion of 3D is wholly unnecessary as watching this in a normal 2D cinema is actually more than enough.

Like the last two movies, FAST & FURIOUS 7 still suffers from the same old long-winded script by Chris Morgan. The non-action moments are more melodramatic this time around, especially the one involved Dom and Letty's struggle to rekindle their relationship back to normal.


Even though FAST & FURIOUS 7 doesn't scale the same creative heights and entertainment levels of Justin Lin's last two movies, this seventh entry remains a reasonably entertaining ride. Finally, with Paul's unexpected demise, it's hard to imagine a subsequent FAST & FURIOUS movie in the future without the appearance of his character.

* This review is written courtesy from UIP Malaysia IMAX 3D press screening *

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