Title: Furious 7
Country: USA, Japan
Genre: Action, Crime
Director: James Wan
Gary Scott Thompson
Music: Brian Tyler
Stephen F. Windon
Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges
An Easter weekend cinema-going of this topical car-chasing no brainer, a franchise has already exceedingly overstayed its shelf-life, reaches an unforeseen acme catalysed by the tragic loss of its co-leading man Paul Walker last year (ironically in a car crash, again a bloody testimony of “movies are deceitful”, considering in this latest offering, no lack of crashes, but not even a minor concussion incurred or whatsoever.). After the series best FAST FIVE (2011) and a degenerative FAST AND FURIOUS 6 (2013), this time, the director chair has been delegated to James Wan, the master-hand behind SAW & INSIDIOUS horror trademarks, it is a sure-thing its box office will explode and achieve another series-high, but reckoning a story and cast overhaul is inevitable for its next move, let us take it as a sincere eulogy not only to Paul but the franchise itself.
The cast continues ballooning with Jason Statham as the indomitable villain, and Tony Jaa makes his Hollywood debut in a thankless role as a heavy, with a has-been action star Kurt Russell back in the game with the hope to hog the position as a regular for the upcoming adventures, or a hail to whoever remembers a two-times Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou. Universal surely is hatching a bigger plan for their top-ranking monkey-maker mammoth.
The movie never veers from binging on its WTF spectacles, this time, the highlights include a car-parachuting stunt, an action-packed hostage-rescuing set piece ending with a science-defying cliff-hanger, and a car-swooping among three adjacent high-rises in Abu Dhabi. No doubt they are all thrilling to watch, and the admiration for the teamwork behind swells up spontaneously, which inadvertently becomes an overkill in the final showdown with a bombarding drone running amok in the city, personally it descends to a headache-inducing and eardrum-hurting nuisance because it drags too long and the hand-to-hand combat between Statham and Diesel fails to match its promise.
Now, to the mushy part, as a half-finished swan-song of Walker, Wan and the screenwriter Chris Morgan choose the safest route for his exit strategy, with the aide of body doubles, CGI effects and montages of previous scenes, to say the least, fanboys will feel satisfactory and the due respect has been properly paid to the gone-too-soon. After all, the over-sensational phenomenon is not because the picture per se is the best of the series, purely, it is another victory of the ever-correct marketing tactic exploits on people’s sentimentality on tragedies, which in some way, actually could give this enervated franchise a glance of hope to regain its vigor and keeps its life span. But for now, I can only wish R.I.P. for Paul, never a versatile actor, but a down-to-earth presence our generation hopefully will not forget in no time.