An air of impending alarm hangs over ‘Furious 7′. Every time the late Paul Walker is on screen, you wonder if this was the last scene he shot, and even the cruelty of watching it now given the circumstances of his death.
Paul Walker, the non-bald, non-bicep-flexing hero of this franchise, died in a car crash midway through shooting. The film later used previous footage, body doubles (including Walker’s brothers) and some tech wizardry to complete his scenes. It’s a smooth exercise, ensuring that the actor with the unquestionable charm is a constant presence.
However, while this may be enough to get Paul Walker and F&F fans to ‘Furious 7′, even the diehard ones will be hard pressed to find anything new in its chases, crashes and collisions. Except that cars don’t just frequently drive off cliffs and other such heights, they also airdrop down to Caucasus mountains, and race off one tower at Abu Dhabi to land inside another, and then another. The last is a quizzical choice, given that some may see traces of 9/11 in the episode.
But chances are — and new director James Wan (The Conjuring) and old scriptwriter Chris Morgan realise this — the audiences of ‘Furious 7′ are not the discerning type. Otherwise, Azerbaijan’s mountain mayhem and the United Arab Emirates’s penthouse pandemonium may not pass muster with nary a diplomatic row. Abu Dhabi is a case in point, whose prince has his party gatecrashed into, his house wrecked, his women bodyguards (from reading too many Muammar Gaddafi stories) beaten up, and his car totalled, before Dom (Diesel) and his crew simply walk away and fly out.
Wan does keep the wheels turning though, relentlessly. So what starts with Deckard Shaw — Statham, returning after a cameo long back in the franchise — seeking revenge against Dom and his men, becomes a world-war domination story involving black ops, special operation groups, and a bad guy with an all-leather attire (Hounsou).
At stake is a software, ‘God’s Eye’, developed by a hacker (Emmanuel), which can trace anyone, anywhere in a jiffy. “If we had it, we would have traced Osama in a couple of hours,” says one of those government types with no names played by Russell.
When everyone wants it, there is only one person they can think of, which is how Dom and his men, and the still amnesia-stricken Letty (Rodriguez), come in. Brian (Paul Walker), who continues to struggle with domesticity against his “love of the bullets”, is easily persuaded to join them.
Yes, family again hangs around all the time in the background in Furious 7. But be under no illusion. When it comes to choosing between certain death and certain life, they always choose the first.
There is another thing that is certain. There will be a Furious 8. And when there is, nobody will still be carpooling.
Star cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Djimon Hounsou
Director: James Wan