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Film Review: Fast and Furious 7 (2015)

 

Seasoned horror genre director James Wan brings us the 7th instalment of the Fast & Furious franchise. With a resume including Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring, the scepticism of franchise-long fans was understandable. But as far as I can tell, his knowledge of how to build suspense and fear, really helps to make Furious 7 a tense, adrenaline-sparking journey.

Having not seen the first six films, I really didn’t know what to expect. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Now, don’t get me wrong, clichés and monologues filled with words and phrases nobody would use in the real world were more than frequent, but it was entertaining to watch.

The storyline itself is that of a typical crime-thriller; catch the bad guy. But the events along the way are truly entertaining, and unlike other films of its genre it’s not afraid to portray some unrealistic stunts in a realistic setting. I spent most of the film on the edge of my seat. CGI and special effects are used for the majority of the film to create the astounding stunts. Less obviously, there are scatterings of CGI throughout to continue the story after losing the essential character of Brain O’Conner (Paul Walker). Body doubles and previous clips are also weaved into the works in very subtle ways as to not disrupt the story.

Writer Chris Morgan has written four previous films in the franchise so he has knowledge of his characters and past storylines. Although he doesn’t bombard you with an in-depth backstory of each character, he allows you to see where the characters are in their lives with glimpses into their past and how that affects Furious 7’s story.

 

Beginning with Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) trying to settle into domestic life, it’s not long before professionally trained Shaw (Jason Statham) interrupts the couple’s attempts. With Mia hiding a life-changing secret; Brian leaving to join the team’s attempts to bring revenge-driven Shaw down; Dominic and Letty’s love life wobbling and slipping due to Letty’s memory loss, it’s clear we have a lot to speculate. How will they ever catch and stop Shaw? Will Brain be happy with domestic life, if he can ever get back to it? Can Dominic and Letty last? A new addition to the team is Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) who is a tech genius who has created a new, advanced, controversial security device named God’s Eye. However, it is in the hands of the wrong people, and they desperately need it to find vengeful Shaw.

As I haven’t seen the first six films, I was quite surprised to see Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty paired together. They make for an unconventional Hollywood couple in terms of looks, but in terms of their character’s personality they appear perfectly matched.

I do feel that we don’t see much of Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs though, as he is quickly hospitalised after Shaw begins his revenge after the team took down his brother, an international terrorist, in a previous Fast & Furious film. However, what we do see of him is pure awesome action sequences.

One thing I feel compelled to comment on is the tasteful, whole-hearted send off they give Paul Walker. The final goodbye sensitively weaves itself into the ending; the film wearing its heart on its sleeve. Avoiding any cliches or Hollywood drama in this emotional farewell, this film sets itself aside from the others by bringing in a deeper understanding of family, and an poignant goodbye to Brain O’Conner who has been a main-staple in the series.

Watching some shocking stunts play out on screen in a nail-biting flurry of action, there’s never a dull moment. In fact, I might have to buy the boxset of the previous six films. There’s nothing wrong with fun and fast-paced action to make you realise not everything in Hollywood has to take itself too seriously. Just remember to switch off the logical side of your brain for most of it. If you’re looking for a fun Friday night; not having to think too much; and a film that can take you through all ranges of emotions, Fast and Furious 7 is my pick of the week.

9/10. Fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-your-seat action. Lively, entertaining, with a side of emotion.

 

Written by April Williams

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