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|aka Fast & Furious 7|
dir James Wan
scr Chris Morgan
prd Neal H Moritz, Vin Diesel, Michael Fottrell
with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Kurt Russell, Djimon Hounsou, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Tony Jaa
release US/UK 3.Apr.15
15/US Universal 2h17
Car porn: Walker and Diesel
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
With a blistering pace that rips through a series of outrageously staged stunt-based action sequences, this sequel begins to feel rather elegiac in the way it plays up the sentimental family relationship between this band of mercenaries. Essentially the whole film is a love letter to late actor Walker, which adds some nice depth to the otherwise simplistic plot.
After their last mission with Agent Hobbs (Johnson), the gang is being targeted by Deckard Shaw (Statham), ex-black ops brother of their previous nemesis. And he's coming after them. Meanwhile, Dominic and Brian (Diesel and Walker) are offered a job by the shady Mr Nobody (Russell) and gather their crew (Rodriguez, Gibson and Bridges) to rescue Ramsey (Emmanuel), a computer whiz whose technology is wanted by high-tech villain Jakande (Hounsou). But Shaw interrupts them at every stage: in the mountains of Azerbaijan, the deserts of Abu Dhabi and the streets of downtown Los Angeles.
The movie looks spectacular, with seamless effects augmenting insane stuntwork. In an opening scene, Brian tells his young son that "cars can't fly", after which director Wan proves otherwise, hurling them from planes, cliffs and gleaming tower blocks, after which the occupants brush themselves off for more mayhem with even more flashy cars to smash. These set-pieces are fiercely staged for maximum eye-popping impact, with whizzing, twirling camerawork and shredded editing that just about keep things coherent.
Despite the picturesque globe-hopping, the filmmakers can't think of more original settings than an abandoned mountain road, an abandoned factory or an abandoned city street. So despite the inventive chase and fight choreography, the movie itself feels a bit stale. Thankfully, things are livened up with continual flashes of dry humour, and each cast member gets a chance to do some heavy emoting. On the other hand, these meathead actors are much better at comedy and physicality than anything deeper.
What holds this all together is the ensemble's multifaceted texture. We have the muscle-boys (Diesel, Statham, Johnson), the hot ones (Walker, Rodriguez, Brewster, Emmanuel, Pataky) and the goofy guys (Gibson, Bridges), plus Russell and Hounsou offering different sides of shadiness. And while the undercurrents of feeling for Walker add a strongly resonant kick, the camera is still far more interested in loud cars and scantily clad women. Intriguingly, the ending feels like the end, although it's unlikely the studio will be able to resist an eighth adventure.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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