Fast and Furious 7

WRITTEN BY: Chris Morgan
STARRING: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson
RATING: 3 stars

As Dom (Vin Diesel) tries to reconnect with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who is still struggling to remember their life together, Brian (Paul Walker) is finding it difficult to adapt to suburban family life with Mia (Jordana Brewster) and their son. British assassin Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) soon arrives to ruin everything, hunting down the car racing crew who put his little brother (Luke Evans) in hospital. So, Dom and his team join forces with the US authorities to snatch an ingenious tracking device from a mercenary named Jakande (Djimon Hounsou), and in exchange, the authorities promise to help them take Shaw down.

Fast and Furious 7 is one of the most ridiculous films I have ever seen, but it also left me an uncontrollable blubbering mess at the end, and it is all thanks to director James Wan and writer Chris Morgan. It is hard to imagine a more fitting conclusion for Walker's character in a way that still allows the franchise to continue, which is possible given the box office success this instalment has already achieved. Walker had filmed some scenes before his untimely death and the rest of the film was completed with some rewrites, editing and CGI on the faces of his stand-ins. They included Walker’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, and John Brotherton. While the effects are not perfect, they are as close as possible and it is only if a person is examining Walker in every scene that a viewer will notice it is not him. Meanwhile, the dialogue, which included Walker's voice as well as his brothers, were equally impressive. The film also had several touching references to Walker throughout, plus a lot of general nods to the previous films in the franchise including jokes about beer and Mia's sandwiches. But it was the very emotional tribute to Walker at the end that brought tears to many people's eyes. Dozens of audience members could be heard sniffing and there were some puffy eyes outside the cinema.

While it must have been a difficult task for the cast and crew to complete Fast and Furious 7, fans will be glad they did. The film is outrageous with action scenes including cars flying and people surviving miraculous crashes and falls. But by now, we all know what we are going to get from a Fast and Furious film. Statham is a welcome addition as the villain who seems to be as tough as the Terminator and as resourceful as MacGyver. Kurt Russell also has a memorable role as the covert Mr Nobody and Dwayne Johnson is used well as the one-man cavalry. Housou seems to be playing a caricature but at least he is having fun with it. Diesel and Rodriguez get to further develop their romance but it gets a little too sappy at times. Meanwhile, Tyrese Gibson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges are reliably entertaining.

Fast and Furious 7 is mindless fun and more family-oriented than ever. Fans will love it.