Fast & Furious 7 DVD Review
If you thought the stunts in the previous six Fast & Furious movies were totally and utterly insane, just wait till you see Fast & Furious 7 which turns the insanity level up to 11 with a shed-load of gravity-defying, jaw-dropping action!
What’s It About? The Furious family is back for a tale of revenge and terrorism that finds them continuing the series’ jet-setting ways, leaping from London to LA, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, the Dominican Republic, and Azerbaijan.
Verdict: As you know, sadly Paul Walker, who plays Brian O’Conner, died in a car crash when he was part-way through filming Furious 7. After that, the script was rewritten and Walker’s brothers Caleb and Cody acted as stand-ins. Given the circumstances, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for them to do that.
But thanks to them as well as some CGI jiggery-pokery and some cunning camera positioning, Walker’s part in the film was able to be completed. On a couple of occasions, if you’re looking really closely, you may notice the CGI wizardry. We’re talking seconds’ worth of footage here, and I certainly never found it off-putting.
Given Walker’s untimely death, there are a few moments in the movie that feel a touch eerie. I’m not going to spoil anything by saying what happens with Brian, suffice to say it feels like a suitable send-off for both the character and one of the franchise’s biggest stars. Don’t be surprised if you feel a tear or two rolling down your cheek by the end of the movie.
For obvious reasons, Fast & Furious 7 feels like the end of a chapter, if not of the franchise itself. There are plenty of call-backs to earlier outings in the series, with characters, events, dialogue, and even some product placement popping up to firmly tie all seven movies together.
Alongside Furious mainstays Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, and Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson, the man who blew the cobwebs out of the franchise in Fast Five, also returns. And while we don’t get to see Johnson quite enough in this movie, when he does appear he gets some brilliantly ludicrous lines which he delivers as only he can.
There are also several new additions to life in the Furious fast-lane. With echoes of Die Hard With A Vengeance, Jason Statham turns up as the vengeful brother of Luke Evans’ dastardly character, Owen Shaw, who went up against Team Toretto in Fast & Furious 6. Statham gets to make a very cool entrance and has some great action scenes, including a glass-shattering fight with Johnson.
But Statham’s not the only bad guy in the movie. Djimon Hounsou, who you’ll remember from Guardians Of The Galaxy, is drafted in to play a random international terrorist who’s hell bent on getting his hands on a super-tracking device for reasons that are never made even vaguely clear. Given his character has no back story and relatively little screen time, Hounsou feels underused in this role. In fact, I’m not sure why Statham’s character couldn’t have filled both the avenging brother and the international terrorist roles in the movie, which would also have helped simplify the plot which can get a bit convoluted.
Nathalie Emmanuel, best known as Game Of Thrones’ Missandei, makes her Fast & Furious mark as a British hacker who created the tracking device that Hounsou’s baddie is after.
Thai and mixed martial artists-turned-actors Tony Jaa and Ronda Rousey get some kick-ass action, and Kurt Russell joins the cast as a craft-beer-loving, shadowy man-in-black type.
For me, the Furious movies are at their best when they skate in under the 2-hour mark, at maybe 1 hour 45. Fast & Furious 7 runs for nearly 2 hours 20, which does start to feel a little on the long side as the movie hits its final stretch, yet there’s still plenty of blistering action in the film’s final showdown, even if that finale does have a bit too much going on at once.
In fact, Fast & Furious 7 has bucket-loads of what this franchise does best: explosive, big-ass action set-pieces which are in-freaking-sane! Obviously, Newton didn’t bank on the Fast & Furious movies when he came up with his laws of physics but these guys definitely know a thing or two about defying gravity.
And while Fast & Furious 7 is a world away from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Fast & Furious crew realise that that’s no reason to deny ourselves stunning scenes of cars flying through the air, one of which has shades of Die Hard 4 about it. We also get to see cars smashing through skyscrapers in a scene that calls to mind both Die Hard and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. And there’s the most awe-inspiring bus-over-a-cliff-edge scene since The Italian Job. Essentially, Fast & Furious 7 is the Fast & Furious films on steroids, and given everything they get up to, the characters are like superheroes without capes!
Extras: Back to the Starting Line.
Final Words: Fast & Furious 7 is a jaw-droppingly insane, gravity-defying, nitrous-oxide-charged ride that manages to unite all seven movies in the franchise while also delivering a tear-inducing send-off to one of its family.
Fast & Furious 7 is available on Blu-ray & DVD on 7 September 2015, & Digital HD on 24 August from Universal Pictures (UK).