Saying I’m not a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise might be an understatement. I enjoyed the original back in 2001, but I’ve found each installment since to be either mediocre (Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6) or just plain bad (2 Fast 2 Furious, Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious). What started off as a series about street racing has slowly transformed into Expendables with a younger cast. Still, the films are fun for audiences, so once again we are treated to another sequel.
Furious 7 reunites the majority of the main cast from the previous 3 films in the series. Vin Diesel returns as crew leader Dominic Toretto. Paul Walker, in his final performance, is also back as ex-cop Brian O’Conner. Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges also return. The film’s plot revolves around a government agency (led by Kurt Russell) recruiting Toretto‘s team in the search for a hacker (Nathalie Emmanuel) and the brother of the previous films’ villain (Jason Statham) seeking revenge.
Furious 7 unsurprisingly contains every single element that I dislike about the film franchise; Cheesy one liners, gratuitous party sequences that seemed as if they’re ripped straight from late 90’s MTV, dumb cameos from people whose acting skills make the main actors look like academy award winners (Iggy Azalea, Ronda Rousey) and the inevitable shoe-horned street racing scene that has little to nothing to do with the plot. I found myself rolling my eyes during moments where most people will probably be laughing or fully attentive. I’ve also never been a fan of the always stoic Vin Diesel as a leading man.
But there are elements to these films that I can’t deny are absolutely exhilarating. The action sequences, as unbelievable as they are, are always intense and Furious 7 doesn’t disappoint there. From an intense rescue sequence that features cars dropping from an airplane to a couple of fight scenes that remind me why I enjoy Jason Statham so much, the action scenes are enough to keep you from noticing how sophomoric the script is. The action packed finale, which seems more like it belongs in a Pierce Brosnin James Bond movie, is ten times more enjoyable than the ludicrous (no pun intended) runway sequence from Fast and Furious 6.
I’ll never quite understand the hype when it comes to the Fast and Furious franchise. Sure they can be fun, but fun enough to warrant 6 sequels? This latest installment is loud, too long, and about as realistic as a leprechaun riding a unicorn. But it definitely can’t be called boring. And it certainly gets points for giving a heartfelt tribute to the late Paul Walker at its end. If only the franchise itself would ride off into the sunset too. I can’t imagine any sequels becoming more tolerable without him.
FINAL GRADE: C+