OVER the top, ridiculous and brilliant; words which perfectly describe the seventh instalment of the Fast and the Furious saga, Fast & Furious 7.
An element of emotion is added as the film is used as a swansong to the late Paul Walker who died in a car accident in November 2013 while the movie was being made.
This meant a major rethink about what to do with Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner, which director James Wan took on the chin brilliantly.
The film starts off where Fast & Furious 6 left off when, after the end credits, Deckard Shaw (portrayed by Cockney cult hardman Jason Statham) avenges his younger brother Owen’s death by crashing into Tokyo-based Han, a member of Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) crew, killing Han in the process.
“You don’t know me – you’re about to,” says Shaw at the very end of Six, which ties in with Seven as a parcel from Tokyo turns out to be a bomb.
This explodes seconds after Shaw hangs up a call to the Toretto family home that has been the epicentre of the Fast & Furious franchise.
The explosion, along with the death of a crew member, sets Dominic on a mission to find Shaw.
Along with the usual crew of Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris) and partner Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), he also gets military help from “Mr Nobody” (Kurt Russell).
Their first mission is to seek out a hacker working under the alias “Ramsey”, who turns out to be a woman (Nathalie Emmanuel), whose sophisticated hacking device is what the crew need to track down Shaw.
Machine gun fire, a cat fight between Rodriguez and UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, and a multi-million dollar hypercar flying through three buildings later, the device is obtained and used to track down Statham.
They return to LA and are confronted by Shaw and his allies. Having been out of action courtesy of Shaw, Hobbs (played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) links up with Toretto’s crew to hunt down Shaw and his militant buddies.
The bald testosterone-fest concludes with a car park brawl between Shaw and Toretto, but in typical Fast & Furious style, even after the six-storey car park is destroyed, they both miraculously survive.
The film then wraps up with O’Conner retiring from the day job to a family life with his son and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), who is expecting a baby girl, ending rumours that Walker’s character would simply be killed off.
What follows is a touching tribute to Walker over the course of all seven movies. O’Conner, in a Toyota Supra, cruises alongside Toretto’s Dodge Charger in a scene reminiscent of the climactic race in the first movie.
Using younger brothers Caleb and Cody Walker as stand-ins, and using CGI to project Walker’s face, they pulled off what would be his final film in a proper manner.
To the keen movie critic, Fast & Furious 7 could be considered awful, thanks to unnecessary explosions, cheesy scripting, and poor attempts at humour courtesy of the supporting cast.
But from someone who has watched the series since the very start, it was fantastic.
It’s the unnecessary explosions and cheesy scripting that make the movie unique; these have been a staple of all seven Fast and Furious films, and without them, these would make no sense.
Thanks to the Rousey-Rodriguez scrap, a $3.4m Lykan HyperSport car being hurled through three Abu Dhabi skyscrapers, and the seemingly impossibility of Toretto being killed despite what the film throws at him, it’s a memorable movie and will keep the cult fan base of the series very happy, along with the great tribute to the late Paul Walker.