Car crashes, fast ladies and shirtless men – and still just a little bit of fun

Let’s face it, when you pay to watch a new Fast and Furious film, your foremost expectations are fast cars, ridiculous one-liners and oiled up men throwing each other through walls and glass.

That being said there has to be a certain emulsifying additive that brings it all together to make a potent fuel, and not just a mess.

Director James Wan’s Furious 7 is a volatile mix that burns dangerously hot and doesn’t let up —eventually snuffing itself out.

Fast and Furious veterans Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and the late Paul Walker return to the Furious Cinematic Universe. Riding shotgun is Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Gal Gadot and Dwayne Johnson; with new faces Kurt Russell, Thai martial arts superstar Tony Jaa and Oscar nominee Djimon Housou. For those not familiar with the Fast franchise, the ad hoc family of drag racers and thieves are pinned this time against mercenaries and murders.

If you tuned in for the last installment, you’ll recall that British baddie Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) had been left for dead on the tarmac of an airfield in England. In this film, his older more evil brother has stepped in to seek vengeance on those who harmed his baby bro. Played by stone-faced Jason Statham, Deckard Shaw wages war on Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Walker) and their family and friends.

This is where the film’s plot becomes thin and convoluted. Furious 7 had the potential to bring the crew back to their roots and their world in Los Angeles—back to where it all began. Instead the crew is led on a hunt for a stray plot device that has them hopping around the globe like a group of muscled bound James Bonds.

Furious 7 has clever and memorable moments throughout; the short scene where O’Conner attempts to adjust to life in the slow lane by trading his street racer for a minivan stand out, but unfortunately moments of brilliance do not make a good film.

Jason Statham plays the big bad brother of comatose Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), his mission is to kill every member of the crew involved in his brother’s accident—including heavyweight Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson).

Photo provided by Universal Studios

Deckard Shaw’s mission for vengeance takes a backseat to the Mission: Impossible influenced antics of the Furious crew. His story bookends the film with strangely unexplained cameos throughout.

The second act of the film is a crude cacophony of collisions and vehicular carnage. I understand that this is a Fast and Furious movie, but the previous six movies in this high-octane franchise – directed by Justin Lin- had method behind the madness and mixed fun and top-speed action.

At a run time of over two hours the film perhaps could have used a trim here and there. Perhaps somewhere in between jumping a beautiful car between skyscrapers and not one, but two games of vehicular chicken between Diesel and Statham.

The film tries to one-up itself, and every other Furious film, at every corner. Eventually you stop caring about the characters and the improbable danger that their facing, because you know that after the umpteenth time Toretto his car in a violent fury of metal and debris, he’s going to be just fine. Again.

And Again.

The film is humorous at times, but ultimately it burns bright and hot for too long and the breakneck chase sequences become a bore to watch.

Call me sentimental but my favourite part of the film, perhaps along with many others in the audience, was a heartfelt tribute and farewell to Paul Walker at the end of the film.

1.5/4 Stars

gbarraza@cjournal.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story; Garrett Harvey at gharvey@cjournal.ca