By Kate “One Take Kate” Taylor.
|Image via Mr Leon Taylor.|
Can we be real for a minute? Before F7; I’d never seen a film from the Fast and Furious franchise. I’m not a car chick, I mean I understand the attraction to the culture; but it’s not something I’d actively seek out. So in a sense, seeing F7 was a further exercise in exploring film science, for me. It’s incredibly sad about the loss of Paul Walker; there’s been a bit of coverage about the effects on the rest of the cast and I didn’t know what to expect going in.
|Not really what’s meant by the term Skyway but there you go… Image via|
I really enjoyed it! I’m so pleased to be able to say I enjoyed it because it really is a monumental finale to a beloved franchise and indeed, contribution to film narratives, which are now part of the conversation thanks to the formula created by the Furious stable. If not, the film industry as a whole…see the Need for Speed franchise looking to gain traction with their own Tokyo Drift by packing Aaron Paul off to China for the next instalment. To leave F7 feeling dissatisfied and a bit meh, would really do disservice to all the stars, crew and fans of this high octane cinema phenomenon. It’s incredibly far-fetched and the stunts have any rational, adult person realise the consequences of the cinematic car carnage, are not wholly factual in terms of the bodily destruction to mangled metal ratio.
I watched on mostly because of, The Staith! Yes, Jason Statham one of the world’s best ugly handsome men, is one of my favourite butt kicking action dudes. So including him as the baddie in this one was bound to have my attention. But also…The Rock! I’m a somewhat reformed WWE fan, in that I’m not keeping up with who is heel or who is face at the moment; but damn if I don’t love me some Dwayne Johnson. He’s the cool Dad that everyone would be all good with having… “Who’s my Dad? Aw, The Rock.” Yup, sounds good to me. So having ‘The People’s Champion’ represent rad movie Dads by playing Hobbs again was delightful. Now let’s talk about Dom or more precisely
Vin Diesel. I didn’t ‘get’ the Furious franchise; I also didn’t get the appeal of Vin Diesel. I was wrong (*). Vin Diesel has a great capability in the role of Dom for brute Stallone GSD (Get Shit Done) value and also a sensitivity that he shows in his scenes with Rodriguez that are pretty swoony and romantic! Dom is a role I’m sure Diesel will potentially be most fondly remembered for; being both stoic and giving nothing, while also being clearly hella pissed.
|Clash of the buff, attractive baldies: Statham and The Rock all in the F7 mix. Image via|
Maybe I’ve been wrong about this franchise from the outset? I was genuinely pleased to find, that for all the extreme close ups of women’s bikini clad cheeks or jiggling chests – there were actually also female characters who were positioned as people to be respected, not just protected; and that they can certainly hold their own. Keep an eye out for a particularly badass bodyguard as the team head to Abu Dhabi; which UFC fans should find quite Rousey-ing. Geddit. Michelle Rodriguez stomps some serious butt and definitely had me wanting Rodriguez in more blockbuster films that have a serious content and theme. Rodriguez starring in some sort of Taken or Transporter type film would be amazing, wouldn’t it?! Upping the fun factor was also Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson’s back and forward ‘frenemies’ shtick. Kurt Russell joins the cast and has some delightful screen time as a crusty ol’ secret operative…but you can see Snake from the Escape from…series underneath it all! Finally rounding up the cosmos of big talent in F7, Djimon Hounsou (having a very good year with GOTG, Seventh Son…) plays a crazed, very 80s styled bad guy name Mose Jakande. You’ll love to hate him.
There’s also a cool reveal which I’ll not spoil, even though the internet is littered with F7 content; I’d prefer future first-time viewers of F7 get the same thrill I had when they learn a major player in the narrative is not what the characters and audience expect. It’s not so much a big name star; it’s the role itself and the reveal on whom the identity of this mysterious plot factor actually is. Now’s where I fan girl…I’m also excited that an addition to the F7 crew is one of my favourite current directors – James Wan. If you’ve seen The Conjuring, the first and best Saw or Insidious films…well! You’ll know what I’m talking about…qua-lit-tee! You’ve got to see Wan step out and direct his first blockbuster; the shots, ahhh the shots, where’s my drool towel. Wan brings his neo-Hitchcock horror style to splash a whole load of class over this rollicking action flick. A big plus to enjoyment for me.
|BEHIND THE SCENES: Possibly the coolest picture in existence…James Wan and Vin Diesel take a moment between shots. Image via|
ACADEMIC AREA: Where’s the blood, though?
Fast and the Furious 7 has some amazingly death-defying stunts that would seriously damage a real, average human; even if they don’t bother the larger than life F7 characters, who take crushing vehicular incidents all in their stride. That aside, this is also a large franchise that intended or not, has a lot of younger viewers that enjoy the characters and their stories. So, how do you make a film exciting enough for older audiences; but not perhaps as realistic as it should be; in order for it to be seen by a greater amount of people or age groups; and therefore ensuring enough money is make to break even on production? This is where ratings and censorship come in handy. F7 is rated M which actually means that ‘anyone can view it, but it is more suitable for mature audiences’. So essentially anything can go in this movie, to a point…any graphic, past a bikini shot or any serious injuries or buckets of stage blood scenes would push this film past its pretty broad M into an R16 or RP16. An R16 means it’s illegal to show or distribute the content to a person under that age; while an RP16 means that it’s still illegal to show or distribute the content to someone under the under of 16 unless they are with a parent or guardian. F7 being over an M rating means cue loads more parental consent and denial of kids seeing it in theatres, more squeamish adults getting turned off and potentially a bit of a harder road to box office success for some films. What’s left when watching films like F7, is a sort of pick-a-path way of viewing for audiences who are a bit more desensitized to violent, gruesome or sexual themes. We can fill in the blanks thank you very much; even if Dom did just get up and walk away from that wreck, or an evil henchman falling from a speeding truck tumbles to safety past seven furiously pursing vehicles; we can understand the repercussions of the incident and create a back or side story around it to make it believable (and more gory), as a more bloodthirsty, err seasoned viewer.
|No fancy witty caption really required…just look how bad ass?! Some of the F7 team stepping out in Abu Dhabi. Image via|
Visually I was pigging out on the sheer tenacity of stunts on offer in varied unbelievable situations (cliff top forests, skydiving cars, dozens of floors above a CBD in a skyscraper…) and locations (London, Downtown L.A., Abu Dhabi…) where anything at all is possible. Even a door and a flight of stairs combine to create a truly thrill ridden scene, showing Brian stomping skulls – as he should be. Themes of family, friendship and fighting against insurmountable odds clearly run deeply through the franchise; but here on the last hurrah they felt vital, more important. Globetrotting and insane stunts aside, a big impactful action movie such as this never expects to go through a real tragedy.
The loss of Paul Walker occasionally registers and then it’s back to the action, until about 20 minutes before the end of the film; where I left all the ‘It’s going to end. It’s all over’ feels, started to manifest above the heads of the movie goer’s I shared the screening with. I can’t help feeling a little like the kid who didn’t go to the weekend birthday party. I still was given the goodie bag with all the cool stuff inside, but I wasn’t there for the whole experience of the party. So with that in mind I’m pretty excited for big, big fans to see out this chapter of F7, in style.
Are you excited to see Furious 7? Have you already seen it – loved it, hated it? Let me know below.