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Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Kurt Russell, and Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey

Furious 7 (AKA Furious Seven, Fast Seven, Fast & Furious 7): when Owen Shaw is left comatosed after Fast & Furious 6, his bigger badder brother Deckard Shaw comes at the gang for revenge. The China Film Corporation‘ influence strong and obvious: super-tech (drones), large-scale non-car CGI devastation, more gunplay, random Asian Megastar and even less believable action than before. The overall feel drifted into (new) Michael Bay territory, with explosion porn, leery bikini shots, and being a little bit overly stereotypical/racist with the CRAZYSHOUTYBLACKGUYS(!!). The road-based action there is remains intense, but rapid editing makes it difficult for the action to flow, and to follow what’s going on. That being said, it’s great to see a large action franchise still centered around Family, and showing strong women. The family is a great tool because, after 5 films (Toky Drift doesn’t count) with the team, you feel connected attached to them – and phrases like “Ride or Die”, or the ‘quarter mile at a time’ spiel get me pumped up every time. You didn’t see much of The Rock, but it’s OK because he finally Rock Bottom’d someone; Statham is on good form, albeit cruising; needed more of Tony Jaa as he only got a few minor stunts to shine with; and the Paul Walker send off was handled well. Fast 5 is still the height of the franchise, boasting better physical stunts and a more focused plot; although Furious 7 is entirely watchable and fun, this feels like it’s juggling too many spare parts, and could have shaved off 30 mins.

Score: 6.5/10

 

Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Kurt Russell, and Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Kurt Russell, and Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Ronda RouseyVin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Kurt Russell, and Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Ronda RouseyPREVOUS F&F REVIEWS

The Fast and the Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious
Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift
Fast & Furious
Fast 5 (Update) / Fast 5 (Original Review)
Fast & Furious 6

Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Kurt Russell, and Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey

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Fast and Furious 6 Poster, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Sung Kang, Luke Evans, Gina Carano, John Ortiz, Gal Gadot, Joe Taslim, Rita Ora,Fast & Furious 6 (Fast Six, Furious Six, Fast 6 etc) [Mild Spoilers]: the gang reunite with federal agent Hobbs to track down a dangerous group of car-based (duh!) paramilitaries; but when a ghost from the past re-appears, it gets personal. The film feels a little action-lite to begin with, as the first-half re-introduces all of the characters, sets up their backgrounds, and shows us the evil crew’s work – for one of the rare times in the franchise, it cops-out of showing a perfectly good action sequence, instead giving us the charred aftermath. The second half however has some of the most outrageously and unsympathetically over-the-top action set-pieces in the history of cinema: the tank chase that culminates in Vin Diesel actually flying; the subway fights that push the human body to the absolute limits; and the finale that that seems to take place on the longest runway in the world… all crazy-good, but ensure that your disbelief is left fully suspended. What’s disappointing is that despite pushing stuntwork and physical/real effects as far as the movies have, the script is still so hackneyed, and the over-emphasis on drama / family / plot is poorly judged – it’s obvious by now that nobody in the cast is cut out for ‘proper’ acting. Also, considering the whole 4th film was about the death of Letty, it’s absolutely ridiculous to have her just get written back in as an amnesic. Being part-set in London, I was loving the bawdy accents, Cockney stereotypes, scenic shots, red busses and general English shenanigans. Fast Six is a great action film – it was however the first time that the action went from flat-out cool, in to silly territory, with people in the crowd LOLing at a couple of moments. Overall, the movies have slowly transformed from niche, nut-and-bolt level car-porn films through to top-tier summer action blockbusters – quite the achievement given the origins and cast!

Score: 7.5/10

Fast Furious 6 Jump Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Sung Kang, Luke Evans, Gina Carano, John Ortiz, Gal Gadot, Joe Taslim, Rita Ora

The Fast and the Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious
Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Fast & Furious
Fast Five (New Review) / Fast Five (Old Review)

FAST FURIOUS GEARBOX

How many times can you downshift in a race?!?!?!?!

Fast & Furious Vin Diesel, Dominic Toretto, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodríguez, Jordana Brewster, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Sung Kang, Tego Calderón, Don Omar, Mirtha Michelle

New Model, Original Parts

Fast & Furious (AKA Fast Four): The loveable gang of petrol-heads join forces with the CIA to take down a heroin importation Barron; who prefers car-based work – obviously! In what can only be described as ‘in Bond Style’ this one opens up with an extended mini mission that’s bigger, better, and cooler than anything else in the franchise to date, with the best big rig / freight truck stuntwork since Licence to Kill – the quality of action in general has been cranked up a few notches. The biggest change in the fourth FF outing is that this is far more accessible than previous movies because it shifts gears away from ‘street racing’ being the only focus of the movies – which was novel, but appeals to such a tiny percentage of the viewers. Instead this opts for a more standard crime / revenge thriller, albeit 4-wheel based. If you’re disappointed in the lack of complex plot and big acting in this, hand over your keys as you don’t deserve to be watching this. What I love most is how every occasion in the FF universe is a Corona occasion: the club, supper time, home surgery o’clock… always time for Mexico’s best-selling cool, fragrant, golden pilsner. Jesting aside, it’s like the stars have finally re-aligned, making Fast & Furious feel like a proper franchise film again, and a film that’s streets ahead of the previous two movies – aiming for the mainstream, Friday-night, popcorn-munching, populist target, and smashing it head-on.

Score: 6.5/10

Fast Four Vin Diesel, Dominic Toretto, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodríguez, Jordana Brewster, John Ortiz, Laz Alonso, Sung Kang, Tego Calderón, Don Omar, Mirtha MichelleThe Fast and the Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious
The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift

The Fast and the Furious Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Matt Schulze, Ted Levine, Ja Rule, Vyto Ruginis, Thom Barry, Stanton Rutledge, Noel Gugliemi

“I live my life a quarter-mile at a time…Nothings else matters, not the store, not the mortage, not the garage, not my friends or any of their bullshit. For those 10 seconds or less, I’m free.”

The Fast and the Furious: an undercover cop infiltrates an LA street racing scene in the hopes of busting a ring of hijackers with crazy-good driving skills. So it’s not the most ambitious, smartest, or brilliant piece of film-making, but ‘TFATF’ does what it does really well. It’s brimming with bicep-bulging machismo, dangerously-torqued grotesque muscle cars, nearly-nude dance / club girls, thick green wedges of dead presidents and general glorification of the thug life… There’s a pretty cool soundtrack (for the time), but it’s a little dated now – although dance/trance/rave pounding through entire scenes makes it feel like an arcade game. The characters are all fairly stereotypical, the script’s as cheesy as they come, but these are cancelled out by some decent action set-pieces, some serious stunt-driving, and what’s essentially a ton of car-porn. My biggest gripe is that it feels far too derivative of previous undercover action films like Point Break and No Man’s Land. It’s easy to sneer at a film this dumb, but you’ve got to admire how a bunch of car fanatics could get together and turn out a film with a decent story, awesome cars, great stunts and above all – keep it broad and entertaining.

Score: 6.5/10

The fast and the Furious II Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Johnny Strong, Matt Schulze, Ted Levine, Ja Rule, Vyto Ruginis, Thom Barry, Stanton Rutledge, Noel Gugliemi

S.W.A.T. – a drug kingpin offers $100M to anyone that will bust him out of prison; a special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team is assigned to make sure he checks in to the big house. Most evidently, this bad boy has every single cop film cliché you could find in the ‘big book of cop film clichés. The unit’s best hot-shot is a maverick that gets results, but he’s bounced off the team (because of his ill-tempered partner) by pencil pushers; another wildcard officer sees potential and puts both their careers on the line reinstating him – would you like some more platitude sauce with your hackneyed sammich sir? Not content with having a copy/paste story, every sloppy racial / cultural / actor stereotype is also present; Samuel L. is very angry-with-attitude, Renner has a short fuse, macho man Michelle Rodriguez pops up in her white vest, everything’s too familiar, right down to the ‘uncool vegan loser’ and ‘big fat black mama’ that shouts “mmmmmmmm  hhhmmmmmmm”. The action is big, loud and decent, if a little ridiculous – like a Die Hard / Michael Bay movie. It’s all so ridiculous that it couldn’t possibly be anything other than a cheesy, tongue in cheek satire of the genre?  Surprisingly enough, despite not having an ounce of originality, S.W.A.T. is super-strength, all too watchable, well-executed, cheese-tastic, guilty pleasure action material.

Score: 6/10