James Wan who we know from the Saw franchise, Insidious and The Conjuring delivers an action movie which just manages to tick all the boxes before the pen blows up, destroys half of Abu Dhabi and slaps the audience in the face with the cartoon-esc approach to life and death.
I was determined to watch the midnight screening of Fast & Furious 7 with absolutely no preconceptions of this terribly high-concept, blabbering male dominated, and money doused feature. I put that to the back of my mind, or at lease tried.
In case (like me) you are absolutely unaware of what Fast & Furious 7 is about, allow me to divulge. Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), an ex-British secret service assassin is seeking revenge against Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the rest of his crew for the demise of his hospital-bound brother. All whilst a system named “God’s Eye” which allows the user to track and trace anyone at the touch of a button via hacking into everything, from cell phones to ATMs and satellites, is being fought over by a Nigerian warlord, his small army, Vin Diesel and his new mate Kurt Russell.
I don’t think I mentioned the word car there did I? From what I’ve gathered this newest picture has drifted rather far from the original movies; they appeared to have transition from cars to heists. This isn’t really a flaw (not for a first time viewer anyway) but almost shows the development of the franchise.
Okay, but the film was weak. I mean, really weak. I found myself pained watching manly men try and out man each other whilst simultaneously competing for the cheesiest (and manliest) line award. That combined with a frank chauvinistic approach to the representation of females, explosions every 10 minutes, fight scenes where characters receive an uppercut from The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and get straight back up, a cameo appearance from Iggy Azalea and soppy romance which provokes absolutely no response from the viewer; was all too much for me. It’s like a soap opera being given a $250 million budget. The action sequences are contrived and the romance sequences are poorly executed; both of which are strung together by a small piece of string which resembles the dialogue from Hollyoaks.
But, that’s action films. If you don’t want to see that, don’t watch these types of features. Everything bad about this film is simply just a genre convention. So can we blame Wan or Diesel?
Cool, so there was so much wrong with this film – as aforementioned, the male domination, contrived narrative, and just god awful dialogue – but strangely at the grossly longer than necessary 137mins (2hrs 17mins), I somehow found myself entertained. The camera work was cool, and the addition of fast and slow motion as well as extended shots for the action sequences was a nice touch. I wasn’t yawning, fidgeting, or finding myself nodding off (which I did incidentally do during the newest Spongebob movie.) So through all the poor performances, ‘bad guy’ lines and inability to go 10 minutes without showing a pair of tits or an ass, I found myself laughing (albeit at the wrong times) and generally enjoying myself (slightly.) I did look away a couple of times because some fight scenes are really intense and a few car crashes are similar, but how’s that for a visceral response? This movie made me laugh, wince, and the end sequence is emotive and relatively well executed. You can’t really ask for much more from a Blockbuster exploitation action film.