Serving up a fresh round of over-the-top thrills while adding unexpected dramatic heft, Furious Seven keeps the Fast and Furious film franchise moving in more ways than one. Continuing the global exploits in the unstoppable franchise built on speed, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson lead a top-notch cast in the Fast & Furious 7th installment.
James Wan directs this chapter of the hugely successful series that welcomes back Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Elsa Pataky and Lucas Black. They are joined by action stars new to the franchise Jason Statham, Djimon Hounsou, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey and Kurt Russell, along with the stunningly beautiful Nathalie Emmanuel. You might recognize Nathalie as Missandei in HBO’s Game of Thrones, translator for Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaren.
When Paul Walker died in a road accident in November, 2013, the shock at the news of his death was followed by the realization that the film would have to address it. Since the series began in 2001, its joyriding heroes have been all but bulletproof, as two lead characters have ‘died’ on screen only to reappear in later installments. But Walker’s death changed that: it proved that these ferocious, fast-living young stars were mortal too. Although Paul died part way through the making of the film, it was completed with help from his two younger brothers, Caleb and Cody, and some well-worked computer graphics.
New director Wan understands exactly what made the earlier movies internationally successful, and follows the formula. Like James Bond films have allowed viewers passage to exotic foreign countries, so have the Fast & Furious films done with foreign street cultures. Fast Five had Brazil, Fast and Furious Six had London, and the Furious Seven has Abu Dhabi.
That oil-rich country’s finely tuned, outrageously expensive supercars are featured, driven fastly and furiously. One particular, seven-of-its-kind-in–the-world, $3.2 million variety called a Lykan HyperSport is spectacularly driven out of a skyscraper window through another skyscraper, and into and eventually through a third. The film visits that James Bond, personal-jet set lifestyle, with the trappings, including white tuxedos and bronzed tails. But unlike Bond, its characters, like ex-con playboy Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and ace mechanic Tej Parker (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges), revel in it.
New additions in the film include Kurt Russell, Game of Thrones actress Nathalie Emmanuel, and martial artist Ronda Rousey.
While Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs sits most of this chapter out, due to his being obligated to be on set for other projects, he definitely makes the most of his limited screen time. Jason Statham and Djimon Hounsou are delightfully badass big ‘bads.’
The film is rated PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language. All of these elements are present and in good measure for the full running length of two hours, 20 minutes. Series co-creators Gary Scott Thompson and Chris Morgan wrote the film.