Furious 7 (2015)

Review #1,155

Director:  James Wan
Cast:  Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Kurt Russell
Plot:  Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for his comatose brother.

Genre:  Action / Thriller
Awards:  -
Runtime:  137min
Rating:  PG13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language.

“This time it ain't just about being fast.”

The “Fast and Furious” franchise has come a long way.  In its seventh installment, the franchise continues to find familiar ground with itself and with audiences.  Horror director James Wan, of Saw (2004), Insidious (2010) and The Conjuring (2013) fame, takes over the reins from Justin Lin (who directed the previous four movies).  The result is seamless, and fans expecting everything that is exciting about the franchise will find their engines revved once again. 

For the neutral and unconverted like myself, Furious 7 is same old, same old, much like how the earlier movies were.  However, it’s never one movie too many if familiarity is the raison d’ĂȘtre of such a franchise.  To its credit, to be able to sustain the same appeal for fourteen years (the first installment began in 2001) with an ever increasing fan base is quite a feat.

Fans would also be satisfied to know that the late Paul Walker, a key actor in the franchise, is given a proper tribute that integrates well with the bigger, continuing narrative.  I sense a little more focus on drama in this latest flick than all-out action, which is always a good thing in extending the franchise’s shelf life reasonably longer.  Themes of loyalty, vengeance and brotherhood continue to evolve, though not in stimulating ways.  But it is enough to keep things moving. 

The ensemble now battles a villain, played by Jason Statham in cold and calculated mode, whose sense of revenge (for his comatose brother) consumes and drives him to obliterate those who cross him.  He is a handful to handle in hand-to-hand combat, but when it comes to the matter of vehicular warfare, I guess the playing field is set flat for all. 

If you are into action and car chases of the stupendous kind, this movie is for you.  With a mix of stunt driving, CG effects and a fistful of editing flourishes, Furious 7 is no doubt thrilling, stylish and kinetic.  It is also the longest installment to date, running at more than two hours.  You won't mind its length, though you might feel that the movie could benefit more from a tighter cut. 

Whether you like it or not, Furious 7 reminds us that summer is near, with many movies to anticipate.  Some will satisfy, others will disappoint – this film does neither for me.

Verdict:  Same old, same old, but the action sequences remain stupendous, which will thrill fans for the seventh time.  

GRADE: C+ (6.5/10 or 3 stars)

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