Fast & Furious 7 isn’t seamless. It’s a patchwork quilt of different ideas and elements that don’t always mesh 100%, but which come together to be more than the sum of their parts. This is a milestone movie in the series, which had the unenviable task of farewelling Paul Walker as well as bringing the story full circle by closing the arc begun by outgoing director Justin Lin in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
In some ways then, it’s miraculous that Furious 7 (as it’s called in the States) holds together as well as it does. On close scrutiny, many of the plot points and story beats bear no relation but this was never a series that was meant to be examined under a microscope. If all you’re looking for is the next instalment in The Fast and Furious franchise or blockbuster action then Furious 7 has got you covered for two hours of your time. It’s ludicrous, over the top and totally nonsensical – so it’s an absolute blast if you’re happy to switch of the thinker.
Walker’s tragic passing is handled gracefully, with his scenes being completed through a combination of body doubles, CGI and unused footage from previous films. It’s mostly seamless, and some viewers will be fooled by the quality of the effects – but those with a discerning eye may be taken out of the experience at times when special effect Walker is on screen. Still, director James Wan has intelligently and tastefully handled Walker’s departure, while leaving room for the series to continue in the years to come.
My personal quibbles with the film boil down to an underused Dwayne Johnson, whose character Hobbs – a great addition to the cast in Fast & Furious 5 – sits out much of the movie, and an underdeveloped and machine-like Jason Statham. Statham’s Deckard Shaw, the brother of villain Owen Shaw from Fast & Furious 6, is out for vengeance, but after an impressive introduction promising big things, Deckard’s character isn’t given room to breathe – merely appearing when dictated by the plot. These are minor niggles however, as Fast & Furious 7 successfully closes out this chapter of the high-octane series on a high note – and will no doubt have us returning in spades to play the Vin Diesel ‘family is important’ drinking game.