Details: Over two hours long. Stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne Johnson.
Another year, another Fast and Furious movie. However, unlike prior years, Paul Walker (a main character) tragically passed away before the film finished filming. This leads to the primary reason any of us wanted to watch the movie: what are they going to do about Paul Walker?
Welp, let’s go into the rest of the movie before we get to those spoilers.
Firstly, the action was fantastic. Over the years, the Fast and Furious movies have evolved into a franchise that ups the ante on stunts and set pieces involving cars. Each movie topping the last in what has become an expected and beloved spectacle. This movie is no different.
The hand to hand action is exciting and fun, benefiting greatly from the presence of the Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, and Ronda Rousey. I loved watching each character doing their signature moves. The Rock does the Rock Bottom. Ronda Rousey went for an arm bar. Tony Jaa elbowed and kneed things. Jason Statham… said things menacingly in an accent.
In regards to car action, there are 3 big set pieces. The first is a heist in the mountains (my favorite). The second takes place in Abu Dhabi (close second). And the big Act Three chase (distant third). You can tell by the quality of the first two set pieces and the lack of quality and plot coherence of the third that the third was likely tacked on because of Paul Walker’s death and that it needed to be changed. That or the script had a poorly written act three all along.
Of note is Tyrese Gibson. The man brought the funny again.
Lastly… what happened to Paul Walker’s character….
I read in an article somewhere that when Paul Walker passed, James Wan (the director) had to figure out what to do with this unfinished movie. What he — and the studio executives — decided was that this film ultimately had to be a tribute to Paul Walker. In my opinion, this was exactly the right choice.
That final scene with Paul driving off into the sunset… it was hard not to get choked up. In that final scene, they tear down the fourth wall and just take a moment to realize that this actor, who we as the audience had spent the last decade watching, has passed. It was a moment of remembrance and of respect. Good call James Wan.
Score: 6/10 Fun movie. Touching tribute to Paul Walker. I look forward to the bombastic action that the future entries of this franchise will bring.