The film series that is, The Fast And The Furious, has gone through a very strange lifecycle, and in fact unlike any other I can think of. Very few film series seem like they are headed directly for the shelves of your local video store, rather than the big screen, only for them to turn it around and have it get bigger than ever with each successive film, and even more crazy seeing as the latest is number 7 in the franchise.
You see, the first film did well, but the two following sequels made less and less, with the third nearly killing the series with well under half what the first film made at the US box-office. Though with the return of the full original cast for the 4th film, saw the series get a new breath of life into it and had it make more and more with each new film, with number 7 now looking to head onto be the biggest yet.
Though Furious 7 came with a different set of baggage, with the sudden death of one of the core cast, Paul Walker, in a car crash with filming still yet to be completed on the film. This would always heighten the stakes of the film in both a narrative sense, and as a film viewer as well, as there were many questions to be answered. Would his character no longer appear in the films? Would they, or could they, finish the film without him? Were they going to deal with his death on screen?
All of those were of course answered in the film, and some part of me wonders if this film will always been seen as a little better than it actually was because of the Paul Walker legacy it deals with. For me, the series peaked at number 5, and has continued to be solid, which this 7th in the series was also. So though not the best in the series, it has kept the ball rolling and fleshed out a universe they hope to keep going even after Walker’s death.
Though what I’ll take away from it the most is they did deal with the real life situation the best they could, and not only this film, but the series as a whole, will always be a fitting tribute to Paul Walker, who many said was one of the genuine few nice guys in a rather cynical and sometimes cruel and selfish industry. But for me, two things stood out as genuinely bad in the film, those being Iggy Azalea’s completely random and unnecessary cameo, and Ronda Rousey’s cringe worthy and awkward acting.
8 out of 10 from me!!!