I finally saw my first film in the Fast and Furious franchise when I saw Furious 6, and I believe I was finally persuaded to see that one by the discussion on Outlaw Vern’s blog about whether it was the best sixth film in a series ever. For someone who is an instinctual snob about such things, it was an eye-openingly intelligent discussion, and I enjoyed the movie enough that I got the DVD for Fast 5 from Netflix and watched that too. It didn’t seem so good to me, and I didn’t bother going back and watching the other F&F films directed by Justin Lin.
Now I’ve seen Furious Seven, which was directed not by Lin but by James Wan, and I have to say that it too wasn’t as good as the sixth film. In fact, I almost walked out about a half hour in. The fight choreography seemed actively bad, the character moments (worries about whether Brian could accept being a safe family man, Letty fretting that she couldn’t remember her life with Dom) seemed clunky and obvious, and then Kurt Russell swoops in with this episode’s ridiculous rationale for a high stakes global caper. It all seemed horribly contrived and too damned earnest. But right about when I was weighing whether to leave, they finally got to the point where the cars parachute out of the military transport, and finally it got fun.
It still wasn’t as good as 6, but once the outrageous action really kicked it, I found enough to enjoy. It’s a great cast, with Russell, Jason Statham, and Djimon Hounsou added to the mix. The tribute to Paul Walker, who died during filming, was sweet. That’s about it.