I was hoping to be surprised and entertained by my first escapade to the cinema for this franchise. Alas, it is simply more of the same old same old–fast cars, crazy and totally ridiculous stunts, little plot or character development, and worst of all, gratuitously dressed women. You might be thinking by my opening statement that I hated the movie, not true. It’s just that with all the hoopla surrounding the movie and seeing the throngs of eager moviegoers lining up to fill each possible seat, I imagined it would have done a better job at earning the plaudits it’s been getting from many critics and the general viewing public. Much of the anticipation is a result of the passing of star Paul Walker, who died halfway through shooting the movie and to whom the movie valiantly attempts to give tribute.
Is it worth describing the plot? You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Who ever watches a Fast & Furious movie to experience a gripping story anyway? No, every single person I have talked to about the movie–and most of them love the movie–accept the fact that a good story is what the movie lacks. Be that as it may, let me attempt this fruitless task. So, where to start? If you watched Furious 6 then you’ll remember Owen Shaw, hardened criminal and special ops mercenary, who wreaked havoc among the Furious crew until they put him in hospital. Well, it’s now his older brother’s (Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw) turn to unleash more of the same in his quest for revenge. Of course, Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew won’t be easy targets, and after surviving Shaw’s first attack, it’s again time to get everybody together again to protect their “family.” At this time, Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody (a top-secret government guy–of course he is) shows up with a propisition: Help him take back “God’s Eye” (an insanely far-fetched program able to locate anyone on earth within minutes) and use it to find Shaw. Perhaps they should have just waited for him as Shaw never has any trouble knowing exactly what they’re doing or where they are. So, the crew travel across the world to face Jakande (Djimon Hounsou), keeper of God’s Eye’s hacker Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and then tough bodyguard Kara (Ronda Rousey, UFC champion) whose boss holds the device, and at last, Shaw. That’s all you need to know.
Now, some of the stunts were spectacular. They had me on the edge of my seat in giddy excitement. Cars flying out of planes, cars flying off cliffs, cars flying through skyscrapers, cars flying into helicopters. Yes, these are the very reasons to watch this movie. Add to that some intense fights, beautiful shots of Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, and somewhere in Azerbaijan, and Brian O’Conner running on top of a bus as it falls of a cliff, well, it is just enough to keep you entertained during most of its more than two hour length. Nevertheless, there are enough problems with the movie to restrain me from giving it a better score. Women, for the most part, are not treated with any sense of dignity and are all shown wearing revealing outfits–thankfully the two main characters remain loyal to their wives and genuinely seem to only have eyes for them. For a movie which was supposed to leave us with positive memories of Brian, I was very surprised to see how little he was a part of it, and how pedestrian he seemed to be all the way through. Vin Diesel stole the show, and Walker was entirely forgettable. Thankfully, the movie did a great job of providing us a fitting adieu to Walker in the last five minutes, including a montage of his scenes in the previous films while we listen to Vin Diesel giving a moving soliloquy in his honour.
One of the main attractions for me in this movie was to see Hobbs (played by the ever-bulky, evergreen Dwayne Johnson) decking it out against Shaw, as they are both two of my favourite action stars in Hollywood today. One of the movie’s opening sequences didn’t disappoint as they pit their muscular fists against each other. I could feel the brute force emanating from these two giants as they sought to overcome the other. What was a massive disappointment however, was Hobbs staying the rest of the movie in the hospital–well, almost all of it. His return to the fray lasted all of five minutes, and he never showed off his fighting skills again.
I loved the opening hour of Furious 7; but unfortunately, it went downhill from there and I became bored at the repetitive antics. It’s not as good as Fast Five or Fast & Furious 6, which both had better villains and more of The Rock. Fans of the franchise will likely adore this film and line up for repeat viewings, but anybody looking for something different–people like my wife who don’t understand why there are so many interested in spending good money on watching cars–better skip this one. This was the first, and the last movie in this franchise that I will see at the cinema. I understand that these movies aren’t for everyone, and many people consider them their favourite movies of all time, but I am hoping this is the last installment of this franchise.
My rating: 6/10
Sudin’s (lifetime Madurese friend) rating: 9/10
Untung’s (Brother-in-law) rating: 8/10