Runtime: 137 Mins
What To Expect: A narratively redundant Vin Diesel tome, nailed to a series of shark jumping set pieces
I reckon Walter Hill put it best, when he said that action sequences must be at least somewhat realistic, in order for them to be effective as entertainment. When a movie like Furious 7 flagrantly doesn’t bother with any sort of plot, we’re at the mercy of its action sequences to entertain us. And the action sequences in Furious 7 for the most part, are just at a toe-curling level of shittiness. Which is a pity, because this movie looks good. It sounds even better. And it has a great cast – even if overcrowded. Wasted though, with the whole affair being kind of a mediocre drag.
I thought I was getting a revenge movie here, with Jason Statham no less as the aggrieved man. That was supposed to be cool, the unstoppable martial artist kicking all kinds of ass in a moody revenge thriller. Instead we get a Mission: Impossible rip off with team Diesel sent the world over to take down hackers and terrorists. Further explanation on the story is not needed beyond that, because the movie doesn’t really bother. Just like the last one, outrageous action set pieces were thought up first and a thin story tacked on later to tie them together. It’s like the storyboards came first, then a screenwriter was hired, quickly, to put it all together. With orders to rip off Mission Impossible.
I do dig certain parts of this movie. My favourite scenes involve Paul Walker, Statham, The Rock and Tony Jaa (who looks like such a fucking badass in this film). At the start, there’s a great throw down between The Rock and Statham, a nice fight sequence with no shaking cameras. Later, Jaa and Walker develop a rivalry and fight each other, more than once. Those fights are great, the highlight of the movie to me. Walker also has a touching send off at the end, the only time the movie doesn’t patronise its audience. I also mentioned the the film is shot well, the budget shows up on screen and the sound in particular is in a class of its own – I wanna be able to hear what these cars sound like, what ever gear climb has to say, and there is a lot of car booty in there. That helped get me through and raise its profile a little.
However, the problems of the last film return. Firstly, as well as the plot being non existent, there are too many people in this movie. Too many faces. Ten, maybe more. Which means that the significance of their characters are reduced to almost nothing. This includes the villains, Jason Statham and Djimon Hounsou, whose combined screentime amounts to less than a third of the movie. Maybe even a quarter or less – Statham seems to pop up throughout the movie, showing his face here and there like where’s Waldo. What does this say about the story? Ask Vin Diesel, because Jesus Christ, this is literally the Vin Diesel show. The man is in damned near every frame, with his trademark Toretto thousand yard stare. It’s beyond gratuitous and there probably would’ve been big hissy fits if the screenplay wasn’t deliberately tooled in this way.
They don’t even kill anyone off. I won’t say who, but they avoid putting definitive endings in this movie, at the cost of its story, simply because they know the next movie will make even more money by jamming every possible cast member, bad or otherwise, into that story too. After Vin Diesel, of course. I feel ripped off, I don’t like being milked.