Furious Seven

A family of misfits, led by two enemies turned friends, nay, brothers – one who has a child with the other’s sister, the other who’s still in love with a girl he thought was dead, but who’s not, though she suffers from amnesia… The “Fast & Furious” saga is a soap opera as much as it an action movie franchise.

More often than not, things get personal, and “Furious Seven” is no different, Chris Morgan’s screenplay revolving around a dual revenge story: the main villain, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), wants to avenge his brother Owen (Luke Evans), who was the bad guy in “Furious 6”, so he starts killing our heroes one by one, starting with Han (Sung Kang)… Which makes Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew want to get revenge of their own…

But of course, things get more complicated and preposterous than that, as the plot zigs and zags around the world, introducting various other characters, including an intelligence agent (Kurt Russell), an international terrorist (Djimon Hounsou) and a hacker (Nathalie Emmanuel)…

This is really all an excuse for a series of wonderfully insane set pieces involving everything from skydiving cars to a car jumping between buildings to cars trying to escape a military drone. There’s also plenty of gunfire and explosions, plus a whole lotta fights.

Director James Wan, taking over from Justin Lin, does a solid job orchestrating the mayhem, though there are too many close-ups and quick cuts for my taste. While I’m nitpicking, I’ll also mention that I wish there was more of mega badass Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and his hilariously cheesy one-liners.

But it’s not like Toretto isn’t enjoyable enough, as are Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Tej (Ludacris), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and last but not least, Brian (Paul Walker). I wasn’t always his biggest fan, but over the course of this series, he’s more than earned his place in Toretto’s family and the fact that Walker died during the shooting of the film makes it really moving to watch this last performance of his. I won’t reveal any specifics, but I’ll just say that the filmmakers imagined a fitting send-off for their friend Paul.

No matter what Vin Diesel says, “Furious Seven” won’t win the Oscar for Best Picture. But as far as action movies/soap operas goes, it’s enjoyable as hell.