The Bottom Line: Just when I thought I was in, they (try to) pull me back out. A massive and virtually mindless mash-up of mind bogglingly over-the-top vehicular warfare and meandering muscle car machismo, Furious 7 is exactly what you might expect, but somehow a lot less – even though there’s a ton more jammed under the hood. For the record, I wasn’t a fan of this series until 2011’s Fast Five (B+) and 2013’s Fast and Furious 6 (B) roared in to theaters and fused the series’ fast lane focus with a compelling and keenly more self-aware heist movie mentality. These were slick flicks knowingly built on brain-bashing visuals, cheesy dialogue and richer, more compelling storylines… A tad of that deserved good will has carried over here, but sometimes knowing you’re cheesy, over-the-top and basically the live-version equivalent of a Road Runner cartoon doesn’t make it okay to be cheesy, over-the-top and so darn meep meep-ish. Biggest problem here is that the exciting revenge plotline teased at the end of episode 6 never really starts paying off... Statham is in full-on goon mode, showing up wherever and whenever the script dictates, but he never gets the job done. This movie is a teeth-gnashingly over-blown lesson in cinematic redundancy. A lot of the intrigue has diminished here in lieu of non-stop mano-a-mano fist-a-cuffs, eardrum rattling gunplay and violently PG-13 vehicular warfare. Some of it is efficiently fun, but most of it gets destructively sloppy and veers off the road of remotely interesting. It’s a flick that would have benefitted greatly from a tighter, shorter running time and a stronger focus on cohesion of plots. A race car movie that, oddly, needs a yield sign or two. If you loved the whole series or only the last two installments (like me), don’t be surprised if you find yourself fidgeting in your seat or checking your watch from time-to-time. The movie may be explosively chaotic but it definitely does drag. The cast, as expected, are enthusiastically there to get the job done though: Diesel grumbles, Diggs complains, Rodriguez mopes, Ludicrous solves, Russell quips, Statham jabs, Johnson charms and the late Walker (with a touching tribute toward the end) adds a dose of gravitas to the proceedings that eerily reminds us of the movie’s muscle car mantra of Ride or Die. There’s some globe-hopping James Bond meets The Avengers excitement to be had, but the tread has definitely started to wear a bit thin – here’s hoping there’s a suitable pit crew in place for part eight and nine.
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Michelle Rodriguez, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey, Jordana Brewster, Djimon Hounsou and Kurt Russell
Directed by: James Wan (The Conjuring and Insidious)
Running time: 140 minutes
Story: After Dominic Toretto and his crew helped take down Owen Shaw (Fast and Furious 6) – his brother, Deckard Shaw, seeks revenge.
Official site: www.furious7.com