FAST & FURIOUS 7
Direction: James Wan
Actors: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker
After a somewhat slow start back in 2001, the Fast & Furious films have incrementally picked up speed to become one of the durable franchises of the new millennium.
In the previous installment the daredevil car-racing gang had vanquished a criminal mastermind. Now facing a tougher challenge, they continue to deliver what gear-heads crave: souped-up vehicular mayhem.
Taking over the reins from Justin Lin who helmed the last four films in the series, incoming director James Wan and scenarist Chris Morgan had to revise the script following the tragic death of leading man Paul Walker in an automobile accident while on a break during production.
Utilising unseen footage from the earlier editions some of Walker's scenes were also digitally tweaked with the help of his two brothers, Caleb and Cody, who acted as body doubles.
Dedicated to the memory of the late actor, his farewell four-wheel antics defy logic and the laws of physics and gravity.
Louder, longer and more ludicrous than its predecessors, the $250 million demolition derby showcases such spectacular stunts (a sports car crashes out of the windows of two skyscrapers to land in a tower block across the road, to cite only one example) that the viewer will likely overlook the asinine dialogue and clichéd characterizations.
This time around, a new vengeance seeking villain (Jason Statham) is introduced. Besides the core crew---Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson, the still-amnesiac, Michelle Rodriguez remains the lone female driver on the team.
Also in the mix are a Thai bruiser (Tony Jaa), a scantily-clad computer hacker (Nathalie Emmanuel), a megalomaniac mercenary (Djimon Hounsou) and a smarmy CIA agent (old-timer Kurt Russell, whooping it up).
When they are not vrooming across the streets of Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Los Angeles and even Azerbaijan if you please, the hulking speedsters pulverise their adversaries with car wrenches, guns and fists of fury.
Put bluntly, Fast & Furious 7 merely offers the "ride or die" excesses of the ongoing franchise.