Sunday, April 05, 2015
With all the stunts and action sequences - my favorite was a extraction that the team performs on a mountain road with the engines running - there isn’t much time for character. The Dominic Toretto (Diesel) of Fast and the Furious actually enjoyed being the leader of his loose gang of highway bandits, but the battles of sequels past must have weighed on him because here Toretto seems tired of the game, Whatever wit there was in Diesel’s performance is long gone and has been replaced more shots of the backsides of numerous female extras. But nobody goes to these movies for the characters, right? Diesel’s voice has become so low and rumbling that broadcasting it over a theatre’s sound system seems like a threat to building’s structural integrity. At least Diesel doesn’t have to say the lines written for Dwayne Johnson, whom I’m pretty sure may actually be a CGI effect. I was struck however by the fact that for all the elaborate action sequences no could think of anything for Toretto and his nemesis (Jason Statham) to do other than drive their cars directly at each other twice. Couldn’t they have at least raced? What emotion is called for is supplied by Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez. The fancy dress fight between Rodriguez and Ronda Rousey is the one sequence that doesn’t choose directorial tricks over physicality; indeed the fight between Diesel and Statham feels like something out of a video game.
Furious Seven closes with an acknowledgement of the death of Paul Walker and an affirmation of the franchise’s emphasis on “family”, a word that applies even when the family in question is a gang of high end thieves. There will no doubt be more Furious movies, but the loss of one of the signature stars will put the series that much further away from where it started.