Fast and Furious Retrospective: Part 7
It’s…it’s almost over. So many neon cars. So much bad music. So much confusion of characters dying and turning up again. The past couple of movies have definitely stepped up the game by focusing on ensemble casts pulling off elaborate and ridiculous heists. Justin Lin as director has been moving things up, but now we have a new director. If you’ve got the team, however, it should be fine.
Director: James Wan
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridge, Jordana Brewster, Jason Statham, Kurt Russel
Plot: Shaw’s older brother isn’t thrilled with the results of his encounter with Team Toretto and sets out for revenge. After retroactively killing Han and hospitalising Hobbs, Shaw is looking for the rest of the gang. Toretto and friends are recruited by shady government type Mr. Nobody to retrieve a highly advanced tracking system in exchange for using it to find Shaw.
Review: As much as we love everything James Wan has been doing in the horror genre of late, he doesn’t seem a good fit here. The punch up between Hobbs (Johnson) and Shaw (Statham) is plenty exciting already with the camera occasionally tipping over and discombobulating the audience. There’s also the distinct impression that Wan is under pressure to deliver the expected goods. This entry in the series feels like the most safe in spite of it’s ‘war on the streets of America’ motif. Out of the most recent adventures this is the one that feels the most routine.
Statham and Russell (as Mr. Nobody) are pretty cool additions to the cast. For a moment they threaten to bring back Sean (Lucas Black) from the third movie, the most boring character ever. They build on O’Conner’s (Walker) story arc about having a child by…having another child. Real original there, guys. This is, in case you didn’t hear, Walker’s last performance as he tragically died in an accident. I had heard about the powerful departure scene and…I have a problem with it. All of Vin Diesel’s major franchises feel like his personal centre-of-the-universe jerk-off fantasies. The tribute to Paul Walker feels more like it’s about Vin Diesel than anyone else. They could’ve added more characters in the scene or tried to include more shots from the previous films that don’t have Diesel in them.
Unlike the previous films none of the action sequences stand out as being especially clever of original. There’s no tank chase or vault heist. They all feel like more car chases and maybe it’s because I’ve watched all the movies in three days but it got a bit repetitive. There’s also a couple of interesting new characters played by Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou and Rhonda Rousey but they all turn out to be disposable henchmen. They’re the kinds of performers who would have been good additions to the ensemble, but it’s not to be.
Perhaps it’s a good thing that the franchise is likely to come to a close, because the well of ideas is drying up. This movie ended with Letty (Rodriguez) bringing Toretto (Diesel) back to life with a motivation speech that perplexingly reveals that the characters secretly got married, and that’s dumb on many levels. For one, it’s strange that the guy who is always banging on about ‘family’ didn’t tell anyone that he was getting married.
Rating: SIX out of TEN
Well…that’s it. I’m up to date. I’ll be back in a day or two with the new film review.