Fast Five is still my favorite, but Furious 7, the latest in the Fast & Furious franchise, is a damn close second. It is the quintessential action film. A simple yet interesting plot, characters you have come to care about, amazing action sequences and plenty of funny one-liners. This is the film Michael Bay has been trying to make for 20 years.
With Justin Lin, the director of the last 4 films busy making Star Trek 3, James Wan (Saw and Insidious) has taken over directing duties. I was slightly worried that a director of almost all horror films was taking over this series, but my worry was unfounded. He nailed it and I hope they bring him back for part 8.
I won’t bore you with a detailed plot synopsis. These films aren’t about the plot. They are about the characters and the action. I will say it involves two plot threads side by side, the crew is hired by the government to save a computer hacker so they can use her program and throughout this adventure the brother of the bad guy from the last film keeps showing up to ruin everything and kill them all.
This is where the new characters come in. The government guy is played beautifully by veteran Kurt Russell, who not only does his suited G-man thing but gets to actually kick some ass. It was nice to see Snake Plisken back in action for a few minutes. The hacker is played by Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones) who is basically a plot device, and one more super nice ass to look at.
The bad guys are 3 fold this time out. The mercenaries that are out to get the hacker are played by Djimon Hounsou (Amistad) and Tony Jaa (Ong Bak). They don’t do much accept fight and blow things up but both are serviceable in their roles.
The real star of this film, as with every film he’s in, is Jason Statham. Out for revenge he has one goal and one goal only: to kill all those who are responsible. He doesn’t care about the money or the hacker or the government. He just keeps showing up throughout the film to try and kill everyone. As we know from the end of the last film he succeeds in killing Han in Tokyo, making this the first film to take place after the third film, Tokyo Drift.
We get a Statham vs. The Rock fight, a Statham vs. Vin Diesel fight, a Paul Walker vs. Tony Jaa fight and even a Michelle Rodriguez vs. Ronda Rousey fight. Not to mention all the vehicular mayhem. Cars fall out of planes, jump from skyscraper to skyscraper, hit in head on collisions and everything else you can think of. The plane thing is especially entertaining.
Remarkably, almost all the stunts in the film were done practically. In this age of CGI for everything, they actually took the time to figure out how to do some pretty incredible things for real. They dropped cars out of a plane at 12,000 feet and parachuted them to the earth. They had cars hit head on at full speed and go crazy through the streets of L.A. I’m pretty sure the skyscraper thing was CGI though.
So it’s got everything you want, hot actors, crazy action, laughs and even some sentimentality at the end. They deal with Paul Walker’s untimely real life death and exit from the series very tastefully and with lots of heart. See it on the big screen and let’s hope part 8 is here sooner rather then later.