The Fast & Furious franchise has transitioned into a well thought out business plan, upto it’s sixth previous instalment, the franchise looked very close to running out of steam, but the strategic repositioning of the franchise into a sort-of heist formulaic approach saved it.
Courtesy of IMAX Kenya (as they celebrated their third anniversary on Wednesday April 1, 2015), we got to watch Furious 7 two days earlier than the rest of the world 🙂
Furious 7 Review
In one sentence, this is a great movie. This movie makes you feel. It makes you feel excited, good, at the same time it strikes the right notes emotionally where it should. That’s something not every blockbuster film does so well, especially when they have certain points where suspension of belief is a must. But this movies does it well.
This franchise knows its identity very well, and it thrives on it. It may have its moments of weakness here and there in terms of story and dialogue, but it focuses more on making its strengths shine brighter than its flaws, and that is done to perfection. Story comes into play in a dramatic manner with none other than Jason Statham getting quite the intro to the franchise and audience.
Jason Statham plays Deckard Shaw, an ex-black op who seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for the grievous harm done to his brother Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) in the previous 2013 Fast & Furious 6. From that moment, things shift into high gear!
As said earlier, this movie embraces its identity and plays to its strengths, setting up its own tune and dancing to it perfectly. The stunts, specifically car stunts are totally at a level that can’t be justified by the term ‘extreme’. Forget the trailers, they don’t even show half the crazy stunts this film has in its arsenal. This film is literally a globe-trotting one action set-piece after the other!
The term ‘family’ has been emphasized alot in the build-up to this release, and a better word can’t be found to describe how all the returning characters have grown and fit into their roles to perfection. Complimenting and strengthening each other’s roles in a way only family can.
The new additions, specifically Jason Statham and Kurt Russell were perfectly cast for their respective roles. Jason Statham was the foil and the ever haunting ‘ghost in the dark’ to Vin Diesel’s Toretto and family. Kurt Russell’s military character Frank Petty added quite the charm and gravitas to the storyline, giving the story its primary plot: kidnap hacker ‘Ramsey’ (Nathalie Emmanuel) who has access to a software surveillance system called ‘God’s Eye’ that allows the user to track down anyone they want to on earth. If Toretto and his crew were successful, they would use that to track down Shaw and bring the fight to him.
Tony Jaa’s (Ong Bak, The Protector 1 & 2)inclusion was something that this reviewer looked forward to with great anticipation, especially given the hiatus the actor has been in after some unfortunate moments in his career. Unfortunately, aside from looking really mean, lean in his military garbs, tattoos and well choreographed stunts, he wasn’t given as much prominence as probably necessary to showcase his worth.
Djimon Hounsou as Jakande felt more one-dimensional than the rest of the other characters too. he had presence when he first appeared true, but he was merely a plot-point at the end of the day. A reason for one huge showdown back in LA.
This review won’t be complete without mentioning…
This movie had every reason to fail given the untimely demise of lead actor Paul Walker back in November 2013. There was no coming into this movie without some emotional connection and expectation given his death, something the cast and crew knew very well, suffered and dealt with and in the long run executed a befitting farewell to a well loved and recognised character, cast member, friend and brother.
Don’t bother trying to see through the CGI and stunt doubles that were used to finish his remaining scenes, Peter Jackson’s (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogy director) effects company Weta Digital was hired to reanimate the actor’s for his remaining scenes using past footage.
Paul Walker gets an emotionally fitting send-off, one worthy of his involvement so far and one that thankfully, yo won’t see coming.
Furious 7 is the best so far in every way. A good example on how to keep something this huge rolling commercially, 7 instalments in. Not just within its world, but in comparison to other certain franchises such as Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise *cough*
Go watch this in cinema. Only watch this in cinema. That’s the best advise we will give you for now.
Furious 7 in Kenya cinemas and worldwide April 3, 2015.