Fast And Furious 7: Australian Review

Remember when the Fast And The Furious movies were terrible? Movies made by douchebags, for douchebags? We've come so far since the 2001 original. I never thought I'd say it, but Fast And Furious 7 is damn near perfect.

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Spoilers for previous Fast movies below.

All your favourites are back: Vin Diesel, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster and, for one last ride, Paul Walker. New additions include Kurt Russell as a nameless suit and Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei in Game Of Thrones) as a sassy British hacker named Ramsey.

After defeating international bad guy Owen Shaw in Furious 6, our team of street racing anti-heroes think they can return to their lives in Los Angeles. That's before Shaw's brother, Deckard (Jason Statham), vows revenge on the team for their role in crippling his brother. You may remember they threw him out the back of a plane last time, so he's likely to hold a bit of a grudge.

Deckard Shaw goes on a rampage, attempting to pick off the Fast family one-by-one. Following the funeral of one of their own, Groot in his human form meets with a new shady government agency that contracts the team to recover a hacker and her Snowden-esque surveillance program that allows a user to hack into any phone, mic or camera on the planet to track someone down.

From there, the agency helps our team of drivers track down and best Deckard Shaw in action scene after action scene after montage after action scene. Seriously: everything explodes in this movie.

The story is standard action movie-faire, but the way it's executed is perfect. Every few minutes there's something new. Whether it's a joke from wise-cracking Tyrese or a bonkers action scene like being dropped out of a plane to take on an army of mercenaries or a cool gadget like a VTOL predator drone that tears the Fast team to bits.

Then there's the sprinkling of new stuff into a franchise that probably should have got old a few movies ago. There's the arse-kickingly untouchable MMA champ Rhonda Rousey fighting Michelle Rodriguez's character, a second hacker character to keep the film fresh and gadget-heavy, an amazing action star in the form of Jason Statham and so much more.

There's also a lot more diversity in terms of cars: Shaw brings the gorgeous European motors to the table, while Paul Walker's character brings Japanese imports, leaving Vin Diesel's character to focus on American muscle. There's something here for every car fan. Unfortunately Furious 7 still packs in skimpy clothing shots every five minutes between the action scenes. It would be nice if the representation of women was as broad and respectful as the representation of cars in the movie.

Other than that, it's shot well with a few fun camera moves to highlight the more bonkers action stunts, but it can suffer from the Transformers effect at times. Between the explosions, gunfire, cars drifting and jumping and people shouting at each other, it can be tough to keep track of 100 per cent of the time. When the dust settles slightly you figure out what's going on and catch back up, but given how much action is in the film you might find yourself needing to shut your eyes every so often just to give your brain a break.

Speaking of noise, there's a lot happening in the Fast universe these days. It's not widely known but the series isn't actually meant to be viewed in release order for it all to make sense.

For some reason, director Justin Lin who worked on films three to six decided to make them all out of order.

Here's the order it was released in:

The Fast And The Furious (2001) • 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) • The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) • Fast & Furious (2009) • Fast Five (2011) • Furious 6 (2013) • Furious 7 (2015)

And here's the order it's meant to be viewed in:

The Fast And The Furious (2001) • 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) • Fast & Furious (2009) • Fast Five (2011) • Furious 6 (2013) • The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) • Furious 7 (2015)

The through-line for the whole series is the character of Han, who died in Tokyo Drift but was magically alive again in the films released after that. That means we've been building to 2015's Furious 7 for three whole films: it's the first film set after the death of Han in Tokyo at the hands of the now-revealed Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), and technically the first new piece of Fast canon to screen since 2006 when Tokyo Drift came out.

For this reason, you kind of have to watch a few movies to really understand what's going on. There's very little "previously on..." or even any explanation as to who certain characters are. At one point in the movie the protagonist from Tokyo Drift -- Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) -- makes an appearance to discuss the death of Han. If you haven't seen that particular film, that whole scene is going to be baffling.

Even if you only watch Fast Five, Furious 6 and Tokyo Drift (in that order), you'll get more out of the new film than you would if you hadn't taken the extra time. They're fun movies in their own right and they don't require you to pay a huge amount of attention to them to understand it. It's interesting actually to see how there's more action and less dialogue in these films as the franchise progresses. None of them are Rhodes scholars so that's probably for the best.

Of course the whole movie was almost cancelled following the death of lead actor Paul Walker. His character, Brian O'Conner has been the audience's vehicle into the world of underground street racing and international bad guy-hunting since 2001's The Fast And The Furious.

Walker was tragically killed in a car accident while attending an event his charity was running, and it was unclear whether Furious 7 -- which was still in production at the time -- would make it to our screens.

The filmmakers decided to go the Tron Legacy route and use computer trickery to finish the film with "Paul Walker". They actually used his brothers as body doubles in the final scenes of the movie and digitally masked them with Paul Walker's face.

As a result of Walker's death, the studio decided to "retire" the character of Brian O'Connor and give the actor and his fictional incarnation a touching tribute at the end of the film that just about brought a tear to my eye. I know I'm not the only one, too. Our own Campbell Simpson messaged me a few days ago and said he was moved, as was steely-hearted Triple J reviewer and friend of Gizmodo, Marc Fennell. It's brief, beautiful, and not at all over the top like it probably could have been. It's a really nice send-off for an old friend.

What's amazing is how the Fast series has evolved with time. Go way back and look at clips from 2001's The Fast And The Furious (like the incredibad one above) and it's almost embarrassing in retrospect. It's the same as looking at photos of yourself from high school and wondering why anyone let you wear your hair that way or dress the way you did. Like you in school, the early films took themselves too seriously, but with age comes knowledge and now we all know that it's good to laugh every now and then.

The franchise has more jokes these days, fewer slurs, better cars, more diversity, better female characters and a platform that sees our protagonists thrust from scrappy street racers into a life of fighting international bad guys. It gives the whole thing more weight and makes it all a joy to watch.

The characters still aren't as smart as they should be and the dialogue is far from Shakespearean (there's hardly any, in fact), but it doesn't matter. It's not going to win any Oscars (sorry, Vin Diesel) Fast And Furious 7, but that doesn't make it a bad movie. It's a masterpiece. The perfect thrill ride.

Furious 7 is in theatres now.

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    I still think that they missed the perfect opportunity to market this as, for shits and giggles:

    "From the director of Saw, Insidious and The Conjuring"

      On a serious note though, looking at the directors past movies, then given F7 with its cast and budget, thats a massive jump for him.
      He would have been a a little freaked and overwhelmed initially. But I guess the production team had a lot of confidence in him.
      Although he was born in Malaysia, I call him Australian.

    Loved the ending.. That ending though, man. Really. The tribute to Paul was truly heartwarming. Almost shed a man tear. Maybe I did. You'll never know.

      Hey we all did :(

      He was commonly known as being a really good bloke. Never made the news for bad reasons, stayed out of the paparazzis eyes to protect his familys privacy, loved life and those around him by all accounts and never courted controversy. I think that's why it was so upsetting to a lot of people, because although very few people deserve to die, it really genuinely sucks when it's a good person.


      Particularly that scene where their two cars split and drive down separate roads, it was such beautifully understated imagery. Also, now every time I hear that song I get teary.

        Yeah my son asked me just after (He's 11 and these are easily some of the best family action movies, no gore, lots of action, lots of effects, minimal swearing etc) we left, why they made Brian leave. I had to explain to him Paul died. He knew someone did but wasn't sure who. Didn't upset him or anything, but he said 'that was a nice ending for him then.' and left it at that.

        Last edited 10/04/15 10:56 am

          What a mature young man.

            That mature young mans currently outside throwing eggs at his cousin O_o

            He has his moments. lol

    I'll admit I shead a few man tears. Paticularly when you actually go on YouTube later on and look up the interviews the awards and realise how hard it was for everyone to make it

      Right at the end, my friend said heaps loudly 'Who's Paul?'

      ...he knew what he did

    Few high points for me (saw it yesterday morning) were Jason Statham's character intro, probably the greatest badass intro that I can remember. The Abu Dabi act in its entirety and the ending, the movie is genuinely great and if you were sitting on the fence deciding whether you wanted to watch it merely because it was Paul Walker's last film, rest easy and know that the whole thing is worth watching. I was also pleasantly surprised that they didn't pull out the double cross card when they could have, watching the scene where it would likely have happened, you can see they are playing out the moment for that will they wont they effect deliberately slowly and I had a good chuckle when they didn't.

    And here’s the order it’s meant to be viewed in:
    • The Fast And The Furious (2001)
    • 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
    • Fast & Furious (2009)
    • Fast Five (2011)
    • Furious 6 (2013)
    • The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
    • Furious 7 (2015)

    NO. Not at all. That's like saying that you should watch Return of the Jedi before Empire Strikes Back and know all along Vaders Lukes Dad. It cheapens the blow. Maybe it's poor wording and you're just trying to say that's the order of the chronology, but they're *not* meant to be watched in that order. Why? Spoilers will follow and I know TD has been out a decade nearly, but hell, for good taste, I'm spoilertagging.

    The stinger at the end of part 6 was NOT only to show where Hans death fit in, it was also to majorly retcon the series in a much better way.

    If you watch part 6, you'll see Han die, then you'll go into Tokyo Drift KNOWING this happens. That's a terrible idea. You then, get the pleasure *if you watch them in order* of saying to yourself 'How the hell does Tokyo Drift fit in? Why is Han alive?'

    Then he says it.

    "Someday we'll get to Japan."

    Hans death in TD was cheap. He was a much better driver than DK and Lucas Black, but he wanted to lay low. So it was so out of the blue and unusual that happened to him given how skilled he was. The ending of part 6 changed that entirely from a random crash to an actual assassination which made *far* more sense.

    DO NOT watch the movies in that order, if you want to be spoiled why, I've put it all in spoiler tags, but I really have to say watch it in this order, the order they were made. Otherwise you're cheating yourself out of a great surprise if you're new to the series:

    • The Fast And The Furious (2001)
    • 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
    • The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
    - Then watch Better Luck Tomorrow, the character of Han actually started here, not in TFAF.
    • Fast & Furious (2009)
    • Fast Five (2011)
    -Then watch Los Bandoleros, a short movie with the whole crew in it.
    • Furious 6 (2013)
    • Furious 7 (2015)

    Anyhow just saying my piece.

    Last edited 10/04/15 10:37 am

      I agree with you. I think it makes Han's character (one of the best in the series) more interesting and much more melancholy.

        Considering you're essentially 'waiting for Han to die', yeah, absolutely. :(

      Have to say i agree and disagree at the same time, i think they should release a version of #6 without Hans death at the end so people can watch it in a chronological order in which it would make more sense in.

      It's a little different to the situation with Star Wars where as vadar being lukes father is a huge twist and changes your outlook on the entire thing and explains everything where as Han is used more as a setup for the latest movie.

        Part 4 keeping Han alive changed everything, it introduced mystery. Part 6's retcon changed the entire course of the series, showing that there was a much larger, wider world out there and that prior incidents may not have been as they seemed. Yeah it was a retcon, but it was a well done retcon. It's very much the same as Lukes Father, for the simple fact it's prior knowledge spoiled by jumping ahead in time if you watch in that order. If you didn't have Hans death at the end of 6, then the impact of Statham in 7 is lessened, his characters intensity is cheapened and essentially a fantastic introduction is lost.

          I understand this but what i'm saying it put Stathams introduction at the end of 6 onto the end of tokyo drift, I'm not sure what the mystery is of Han being alive BEFORE he went to tokyo that you're referring to.

            Because you then have the 'Why the hell is Han alive?' situation with 4, then you find out near the end 4 is prior to 3. The series goes on, the mystery becomes 'When will Han die? Where does TD fit in?' There is mystery to it, it's minor but it's there and it's been a big deal to TFATF fans.

              Oh, i consider myself a big TFATF Fan and I kind of just deduced the fact that 4,5&6 were before TD as Han was alive haha so not really a mystery more of just waiting for him to die while becoming attached to him because i found out more about his character

                You realise to top part 7 theyre gonna have to go into outer space now right lol

                  I was thinking mars rover style ? or maybe some flashout style :P ?

                  I really really want them to go back to the core and have it more about racing :(

                  Part 8 is apparently going to New York. Kurt is returning and Lucas Black apparently joining. Hope that all happens!

      I disagree, but for a completely different reason. Due to knowing that Han is alone in Tokyo Drift, we know that Gisele is not with him. And due to the action nature of the films, they wouldn't just let her go. And the way they talk of settling down, and her nearly being killed several times before, it becomes obvious of her fate in the film.

        Yeah but Giselle isn't as important as Han was. *shrug*. She only became useful in part 6 and that was as a distraction to the badguys lol

    I love how much everyone loves this franchise.

    Unfortunately i liked some of the earlier F&F movies BECAUSE they focused on the cars and the technology and what they were putting into them, the most technical piece of information i heard in number 7 was "give them all limited slip diffs" and Roman's speel about the Lykan Hypersport

    Go back to the old days where it was all about high speed chases and street racing! and less about brawling and gun fights.

      While I do enjoy the entire series, I completely agree with you on this. I enjoyed the earlier movies as they were more about the cars and the racing etc. The later movies are enjoyable as a popcorn action flick.

      People still often laugh at me when I say I like 2Fast 2Furious better then some of the later movies.

        #1 will always be my favorite, racing at the core little bits of action on the side

        people laugh at me when i tell them i really enjoyed Tokyo Drift as well don't worry haha

        I've only seen 1, 2 and 7 so far... but yeah there's a transition from racing to more James Bond(2) and splosions and OTT stuff. The racing and car love is what made it unique and special. I had a lift with a friend and a girl to the movie and he has a really nice sports car... was the best feeling to be in a car like that after seeing a FF movie.

    The Paul Walker tribute was wonderful and moving. It really brought everyone to, or to the verge of, tears and the audience clapped in the cinema after it was over. The movie itself was okay, maybe a bit better than average. It was entertaining, but had far too many "over the top" moments(which isn't EXACTLY a bad thing, but maybe it could have been balanced with some more racing or something to make it realistic? I really don't know... there's only so much that you can do with the genre, and I guess they've done it.)... and some things annoyed me like the unrealistic car lifting(a whole car for how long???)/carrying a gatling gun from "Predator", and driving through uncharted forests and always having a clear path. I haven't followed the F&F movies at all... I had seen the first one though and had forgotten most of it, and went back and watched 1&2 (so far) because Paul Walker was awesome.

    Vin Diesel posted the tribute video on his facebook page, and it's amazing how the viewed numbers skyrocketed. I left it open on my computer because I liked the song, and the total views went from 4mill, to 18mill, then the next day it was over 34mill. It's over 49million now(spoilers if you don't want to watch):

    "Unfortunately Furious 7 still packs in skimpy clothing shots every five minutes between the action scenes. It would be nice if the representation of women was as broad and respectful as the representation of cars in the movie."

    There was nothing wrong with the representation of women in F&F7. What were you EXPECTING to see? I actually expected to see MORE scantily clad ladies than what was shown in the movie. I'm sorry, but the representation is exactly what you would expect see if you went to the locations that they did. Mia was a respectable mother. The Rock's character's daughter was who she should be. How about the Rock should put on a t-shirt instead? It's fine. If someone's at the beach, or in the desert at Race Wars, should they wear an overcoat? I guess if they're dancing for someone as an exotic dancer, then they should cover up too? I am a dancer, and my female friends wear a variety of clothes and costumes when they dance(including next to nothing for the Carnival for example), as well as a variety of clothes socially. They are also very respectable, and that includes those that are doing a twerk choreography! I'm not here to get into an argument with you, but things are basically okay so long as respect is paid with respect to the individuals and the situation. In the F&F movies, a woman has the power to offer and similarly revoke a menage trois(comedic), and similarly smoke a male competitor out of $2k. Even if something is done for the titillation of the audience, it can be okay. It's like watching the Thor movie and he goes topless... was there any doubt that that was done for the ladies? Sex sells. Similarly, you can still go into a real life mechanic's office, and see a calendar with a scantily clad woman on a car, or even topless without the car(happened to me within the last 5 years). It's the way the world works. I'm going to leave it at that... it's really the biggest non-issue with the movie. There is a strong message of family/loyalty/unity in the F&F movies, and a lot of racial and gender diversity.

    Anyway my take on F&F7 is that it was decent overall and worth watching, especially for the Paul Walker tribute. The series has turned very James Bond/action oriented and I would have liked more racing.

    Edit(Spoiler query): Dom's black car twists in midair near the end... was that due to it having so much torque? I've been wondering that for ages, or whether he just came off the edge on purpose or by accident.

    Last edited 10/04/15 1:44 pm

      It wasn't a Gatling gun, it's a mini gun they're quite different.

      Mini guns however do only weigh about 40kg it's carrying the belt fed rounds and batteries that's the issue and then of course there's the recoil from the gun.

      While there are "micro guns" available that you can hipfire in such a fashion i believe a gun like this which would be shooting 7.62 rounds would have far too much recoil to handle even by the rock standards but it's a movie and people like big guns with explosions a-la Predator, rambo, tm2 etc.

      As for lifting the car it only weighs 1380 kg and with the engine and gearbox in the back of the car the front would not actually be that heavy, i'd guess it at 350-450 kg which is deadliftable...if you're a steroid munching strongman like Hapthor Bjornson :P, Vin is a strong dude but not that strong haha.

        Oh thanks... I know they're based on the same circular design, but not sure what makes them different other than Gatling guns being more historic. It wasn't really the weight issue that I was annoyed at; it was that carrying the same type of gun AND car lifting seemed like a Predator knockoff to me.

        The car lifting seemed unrealistic, but doing it for so long just made it completely unbelievable. I was thinking it would probably weigh even more with the armour plating too!

          haha yeah these are good points, but with these types of movies we have to put ourselves into a state of disbelief just to enjoy :)

      I think the issue is not so much what the women were wearing as how it was presented.

      Several times there's close camera shots of just tits and ass. At that point it becomes objectification, because the focus is not on the women but just on those body parts. It's different if it's a lead character who has other attributes shown during the movie. But there's just a bunch of random women in it who exist only as a pair of tits or an ass.

        There were close camera shots as you mentioned. The problem is the way that people think. The actresses who featured in those shots had nice bodies. They are women, and they are people. They live in their bodies, just like you or I live in ours. They have probably exercised and eaten properly and are also probably proud of their bodies, and they have been paid well to feature as an extra in a F&F movie. They probably brag or point it out to their friends, and they are not objects. I think it doesn't really matter whether it's a lead character or an extra that features in the shot, because the purpose is the same; envy/titillation. The hacker walking on the beach was one of the three revealing scenes that I remember, and I think she's just as much of a person as the others. Nobody should get upset because one person is an extra, and another person is an actress. What is important, is the way that people treat one another. I think people should be appreciative of the beauty of the human body, yet be similarly aware and respectful of an individual and the group(s) to which they belong(I see objectification as a way of thinking, rather than a specific scene). I think that F&F7 strikes up a healthy balance with regards to this; I didn't walk out thinking that it was a peepshow, or denigrating to women in any respect.

    Christ, I must be the only one that thought it was the worst in the series...

    Are you aware by any chance, that there are more movies in the series that tie everything together? In chronological order:

    - Better Luck Tomorrow
    - The Fast and the Furious
    - Turbo Charged Prelude to 2 Fast 2 Furious
    - 2 Fast 2 Furious
    - Los Bandoleros
    - Fast & Furious
    - Fast & Furious 5
    - Furious 6 (up til they go to Tokyo)
    - The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
    - Furious 6 (the bits following Han's crash)
    - Fast & Furious 7

    You are welcome.

    Last edited 13/04/15 4:24 pm

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