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FAST AND FURIOUS 7 Where The Rubber Meets The Road

fast_and_furious_6-wideDirected by James Wan

Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson

Over the past seven films the Fast And The Furious franchise sure has built up its own little world. A world where physics doesn’t matter a damn, bald men with muscles can take more punishment than a Terminator, family matters above all else, and there is very little that can’t be solved by the judicial application of a really fast car.

Following on from the events of the previous film, former British black ops assassin gone rogue, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), seeks revenge on Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his team of elite drivers for the crippling of his brother. As Toretto’s team is hunted, a shady government official, Mr Nobody, (Kurt Russell), offers them a chance to turn the tables and become the hunter. To do this, they must rescue a hacker (Nathalie Emmanuel) from an international terrorist and retrieve the tracking device, Godseye – ahhh look… the plot really doesn’t mater, just strap yourself in and enjoy. All you need to know is that everything can be accomplished by skilful driving, and an understanding of inertia that rivals the Roadrunner.

This has everything we have come to expect of a Fast And Furious film. Vin Diesel’s sub-harmonic rumbling as he talks about the mean streets in front of an American muscle car, Paul Walker tearing around in a plastic fantastic, The Rock oiled up and throwing full grown men around like rag dolls, and enough car-porn to make Michael Bay aroused – all of it is here. It also has the emotional core of family, that has been a consistent thread running throughout the series. Here it finds particular resonance, as the tragic death of Walker in a car accident makes this his final film. The series uses this opportunity to grant a final farewell to one of it stalwarts, producing a genuinely moving send off from the cast.

Despite this touching tribute, it is fairly obvious that this franchise is in danger of hitting peak oil in its attempts to constantly one up it’s own ludicrously over the top action sequences. Fortunately it hasn’t quiet hit that point yet, presenting some of the most unbelievable jaw-dropping setpieces of the series to date. Yes, it is completely insane to expect audiences to believe this world of cartoon physics populated by ex-street thugs turned multi-millionaire part-time spies, but it has also become one of the most entertaining movie franchises around. So for that couple of hours it is surprisingly easy to just sit back, enjoy your popcorn and get lost in the engine roar and insane automotive ballet, believing that cars can actually fly.

The handing over of the reigns from long time director Justin Lin to James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring), certainly seems to have left the series in safe hands. Furious 7 accomplishes everything its predecessors did, and ramps things up nicely, for an unbelievably enjoyable ride.

DAVID O’CONNELL