The seventh installment of Universal Picture’s Fast and Furious 7, officially titled Furious 7, stands apart from the other films in the series for its emotional resonance. The film was originally slated for release in the summer of 2014 but the project was delayed when actor Paul Walker died in a car crash on November 30, 2013. It is this untimely ending that ultimately gives the film heart.
Written by Chris Morgan and directed by James Wan, Furious 7 is more than just an action-film franchise centred on illegal car racing. The focus here is largely on the emotional components of the narrative. For example, you’re left reeling when Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) almost dies in one scene.
The plot is simple. Toretto’s team flits between Tokyo, London, Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles as it hunts down a computer chip, which stores a high-tech surveillance system called ‘The God’s Eye’. The peaceful life which Toretto and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) sought at the end of the last Furious film ends promptly when British assassin Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) comes looking for them in order to seek revenge for the death of his brother.
For those who adore loud cars and street races, this film has a lot to offer. Two hundred and thirty cars were destroyed in the making of Furious 7 but the most fascinating crash takes place halfway through the movie when the Lykan HyperSport flies through the windows of the three Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi. The Middle Eastern supercar, made by Beirut-based company W Motors, is the most expensive car to be featured in the movie. There are only seven models of this car in the world, with each one priced at around £2.3 million (a little over Rs350 million).
We have some new faces in this instalment of the Furious franchise other than Statham. Kurt Russell stars as a secret agent named Frank Petty, and we also meet talented hacker Megan Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and martial artists Kara (Ronda Rousey) and Louie Tran (Tony Jaa). The appearance of Indian actor Ali Fazal — who made his Bollywood debut in 3 Idiots — adds humour through his peculiar Arabic accent. While his role as Zafar is short-lived, it should not be missed by Bollywood fans.
The cinematography pushes the action genre to the next level in this film with their brilliant displays of car crashes and fights. The stunts shown in Furious 7 are pretty unbelievable, but they guarantee the film blockbuster status. A scene in which a Honda Civic zips underneath a semi-truck and another one which shows the mid-air stunt in which real cars drop out of the plane are almost breath-taking. The film is perfectly paced for 140 minutes and retains its charm with a straight-forward script and unforgettable dialogue.
The film’s success lies in the thrill of high-octane car chases, over the top stunts and beautifully-choreographed action sequences. Many fans were eager to find out how Walker’s death would play out onscreen — the answer to that question will leave you surprised.
Of the entire cast, it is Walker who leaves the audience awe-struck and he is ultimately the film’s greatest draw. Thus, it is no surprise that Furious 7’s marketing campaign centred on Walker. His scenes were completed after his death using CGI trickery and his two younger brothers, Caleb and Cody.
The closing scene’s emotional song ‘See You Again’ by Wiz Khalifa and Chris Jamison is sure to leave you teary-eyed, as will the ending, which features scenes from the most touching moments in previous Furious films.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, April 19th, 2015.
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