Review: Fast & Furious 7

SERGIO DAVIDS
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 PAUL'S LAST RIDE: Fast & Furious 7 is possibly the best in the franchise and a fitting tribute to the late Paul Walker. Image: YouTube ~ yourhealth

Vehicular science-fiction, crazy stunts and cheesy one-liners... The *Fast & Furious returns in its seventh installment and it's packed with all the gun fights, exotic cars and locations we've come to expect.  

Fast & Furious 7 also serves as a touching tribute to the late Paul Walker, killed tragically in a car crash in 2013, who reprises his role as Bryan O' Conner.

Despite his not completing the movie, the film received huge support from fans and with some clever CGI and brothers Caleb and Cody filling his shoes, Fast &Furious 7 delivered what is arguably Walker's best performance.

THE PLOT

So what's it about?

Following the events of Fast and Furious 6, it turns out dastardly villain Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) has an evil brother, Deckard (played by a Jason Staham), intent on revenge. Shaw begins his path of vengeance by killing Han, shown at the end of the sixth film, and sending a rather violent message to Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew.

It's up to Dom and his gang of carjacking vigilantes (hard to believe that's what they started doing 14 years ago) to take on a relentless Shaw with the aid of a clandestine government agency led by "Mr Nobody" (Kurt Russel).

Series favourite agent Hobbes (Dwanye "The Rock" Johnson) returns along with Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) who is dealing with amnesia following her crash in the fifth movie.

Fans will be pleased to see Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) from 'Tokyo Drift' making an appearance. Newcomers include Game of Throne's Nathalie Emmanuel (drool...) and a surly Djimon Hounsou. Ong Bak's Tony Jaa and mixed-martial arts star Rhonda "Rowdy" Rousey" are enlisted to give the F&F crew a work out.

'CARS DON'T FLY'

Bugatti Veyron, Nissan GT-R , Maserati Ghilbi... there's enough car-candy for motoring enthusiasts to enjoy and occasionally wince at. During one high-flying stunt, Walker yells out "Cars don't fly!" which accurately sums up the use of vehicles in the movie, although varied and plentiful, are treated as props and in many cases projectiles.

From a desert drag-race involving an Audi R8 to a medieval joust with Dom's modified 1970 Dodge Charger and Shaw's Ghilbi, Furious 7 delivers one crazy car-stunt after another.

UNLEASH THE BEAST

One of the highlights is the W Motors Lycan Hypersport - a twin-turbo flat-six 3.7-litre hypercar capable of 552kW/960Nm. It rockets to 100km/h in 2.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 385km/h.

At the equivalent of R41-million, it's the third most-expensive car to be made yet with seven units built (four created, three sold) since 2012. Part of its hefty price tag is its options list which includes titanium LEDS with 420 diamonds. Customers can also specify rubies or sapphires throughout the vehicle.

There are loads of muscle cars on show including a 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT-8, 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, 1970 Plymouth Barracuda,

Some of the sports cars and exotics include the Ferrari 458 Italia and Aston Martin DB9.

OVERALL

The F&F series prides itself on giving the audience all the vehicular madness it can endure. It's the kind of movie where you'll start off rolling your eyes but by the end you're pleasantly surprised at just how much you're actually enjoying the vehicular lunacy on screen.  

From smashing a car through a trio of the world's best hotels to shameless plugging (It'll take you days to stop thinking about drinking Corona), the movie doesn't take itself seriously and in this case it's a good thing.

Highlights include an epic cliff-top chase in Azerbaijan and a game of "hot potato" involving a Predator drone in downtown Los Angeles.

Some of its negatives include the tedious "will Letti remember Dom?" saga and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) being reduced to a cartoon version of himself ("I bet there's missiles under that dress" - actual line). For petrolheads, the lack of a proper car chase involving the Lycan (maybe taking on the Veyron, right!?) is a letdown.

Despite its shortcomings, it's possibly the best in the F&F series though the tone couldn't be more of a departure from the first films. It's a great action flick which even non-fans would find entertaining and it's a fitting send-off for Walker who helped build the series into what it is.

WALKER'S LAST RIDE

In touching tribute to the late Walker, the movie has lots of emotional scenes and genuinely moved the audience judging by tears and sniffles heard. Off-camera, Vin Diesel, a close friend of Walker, went further than most by naming his daughter Pauline in honour of the late actor.

Look out for an awesome montage of Walker's Fast & Furious career before the credits roll.

FASTER, MORE FURIOUS

Fast & Furious 8 is due for release in 2017 and could be the finale in the franchise though rumours persist of prequels and spin-offs.

Who will play the bad guy?

On March 30 2015 actress Helen Mirren said she'd like to play a villain in the next film. Now what set of wheels could suit a villain of Dame Helen's stature? A hybrid La Ferrari or perhaps a monster Unimog.

*For those keeping track the film sequence is 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 3, 7 (excluding the short films that is).

Watch the trailer below: