And so with the sound of screeching brakes and roaring engines we head into cinema’s silly season. A glorious time when the world’s IQ drops sharply, a multitude of things either blow up or fall down (or blow up and THEN fall down) and questionable violence is crammed into a lenient 12A rating. First out of the gate is the long awaited Furious 7, held back by a year due to the tragic (yet ironic) death of star Paul Walker. We’ll address his tribute a bit later but first, let me announce that 2015’s first super-blockbuster (of many) is a fantastic start chiefly because it’s really, really fucking stupid.
Anyone who has resisted the F&F franchise’s main draw of scattered ass, hot cars and sweaty male bonding ain’t gonna be swayed by this, not by a long shot, but converts and old fans should guzzle this up like Detroit Muscle guzzles fuel.
Over the last couple of installments the gang has gradually become like some sort of Mission: Impossible from “Da Streetz” (in fact the M:I gang has already conquered high buildings in Dubai without feeling the need to drive fucking cars out of them) but by the end of THIS movie they’ve fully graduated to full superhero status.
Yes, as the magnificently chaotic and protracted finale destroys large swathes of L.A. in it’s wake there’s no mistaking we’re squarely in Avengers territory here. This is mainly shown by the fact that the main characters are now not only immune to the laws of physics but also to fire, concussive blasts and getting pummelled by massive bloody wrenches.
People casually drive off cliffs like it’s a national pastime and emerge from the wreckage looking vaguely dizzy without nary a trace of whiplash, let alone being mashed to testosterone flavoured jelly.
It’s actually hilarious stuff, bringing forth as many honks of belly laughter as it does gasps of disbelief.
The cast are as reliable as ever with Vin Diesel growling his lines as unintelligibly as a bear who has been taught to speak English, nonchalantly and repeatedly shrugging off death like a cold. Michelle Rodriguez is essentially she-Diesel struggling with the amnesia she contracted from part 6. The rest of the crew fulfil their parts joker, taskmaster, and hacker well but again it’s Dwayne Johnson (in a lesser role this time) who steals it whether bicep flexing out of an arm cast or Rock Bottoming Jason Statham through a glass table.
As yes, The Stath. Adding admirably to the high levels of bald in the movie he comfortably emerges as the film series’ finest villain to date. Dropping in and out of the movie at the worst (read: best) moments he acts like a folically challenged Joker, or if the shark from Jaws was a SAS trained geezer.
Also having the time of his life is an entertainingly game Kurt Russell, although these days he’s looking about as leathery as a crocodile’s armpit.
Plus keep an eye out for one-time martial arts messiah Tony Jaa (Ong Bak) as a henchman.
And then there’s Paul. His loss is felt in every scene culminating in a last act farewell that is actually genuinely moving yet totally respectful.
Yes, I shed a manly tear. Be warned, you may too.
And as for the action in this movie? It’s so huge you begin to wonder where the Hell the series could possibly go now short of strapping a car to a rocket and jumping a canyon on the moon. I’m not gonna spoil anything for a change (I’m lying! Wrench fight!!) but take my advice. Sit as far back from the screen as you can. Your retinas will thank you for it.
As Vin is already touting a part 8 and it’s becoming obvious that this part will take more money in a short amount of time than God being a contestant on Catchphrase, I’d suggest buckling in for a wild ride, cos there’s still a long explodey road ahead.
Over to you, Avengers…