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Fast and Furious 7
Genre Action

Fast and Furious is a film series that seems to be improving with time. You wouldn't imagine a franchise about sexy women, fast cars and machismo would last seven outings, but Fast and Furious has aged well and keeps reinventing itself! This time, it's personal... as Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his gang for the death of his brother.

Fast and Furious 7 is a shift for the series, opting for renowned horror film-maker, James Wan, to take the wheel with action man, Jason Statham, stepping on the gas. The change in direction is welcome, giving Wan a chance to build on the success of the series and give Furious 7 an extra layer of finesse in terms of drama and production value.

Based on his work in SAW, Insidious and The Conjuring you could say Wan knows suspense and pacing. These are pillars of great horror films and Wan has mastered these facets of film-making, retaining artistic credibility while pandering to over-the-top action involving: a super car ramping from one high rise Abu Dhabi building to another or cars being air-dropped via parachutes.

The big action moments have an affinity with the old school Bond days of Pierce Brosnan as larger-than-life and borderline cheesy action entertainment soaks up our attention. The wink-wink jokes keep us from getting too analytical with the near-impossible action and our engagement with the characters anchors the global gangster's paradise.

Fast and Furious 7 is their biggest outing yet, bundling Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell, Michelle Rodriguez and Jason Statham... each worthy leads... into one movie. The juggling act works with Diesel taking most of the heat with Walker as his wingman, Johnson as the secret weapon, Russell as the enabler, Rodriguez as the kick-ass love interest and Statham as an invincible villain.

Wan interjects the all-out action extravaganza with dramatic moments harnessing the importance of love and family. This keeps us involved and behind our heroes, who while not blessed with superpowers like The Avengers, are still able to generate enough air punch moments to keep us enthralled.

The CGI is spectacular and even amazing, especially when you consider they were able to complete the film without diminishing Paul Walker's character. There's enough carnage to rally blockbusters like Transformers and the triple climax formula is right up there with The Avengers. The fight choreography is imaginative, energetic and mesmerising as the camera tracks the realistic movement without disintegrating into quickfire editing.

Fast and Furious 7 is a wonderful tribute to the late Paul Walker and the film-makers handled his character's exit with great subtlety and a touching send off. Just like Ledger's final performance in The Dark Knight, the story-behind-the-story does give the blockbuster another emotional dimension as we part ways with one of the staple characters.

While it vetures into Bond territory, the series retains its Fast and Furious attitude, flair and adrenalin obsession. We're constantly entertained, always amused and quite surprised at the staying power of the dramatic interludes. It willfully goes over-the-top and against our better judgement at times, but we roll with it without asking too many questions in the hopes of the next unbelievable crowd-pleasing stunt.

James Wan has taken the Fast and Furious series to the next level with a sequel that makes it seem like the ever-popular barrage of action movies is just getting started again. It's sad to say goodbye to Paul Walker, but even more surprising to see that they do, in fact, have a 7th gear. It won't win Best Picture like Vin Diesel has stated, but it's a movie that will be regarded as the best of the lot for now.

The bottom line: Entertaining

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