Fast & Furious 7 ***Dir: James Wan. With: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham. 137 mins. Cert: 12A
As the marketing suggests, dark clouds hover over the stars-in-fast-cars franchise’s latest instalment: after Paul Walker’s death behind the wheel, how could anyone involved make light of a speed that self-evidently kills? One quick fix: the adoption of a newly reflective tone that sends these hotrods careening through graveyards and sets Vin Diesel, morphing inexorably into Telly Savalas, to pondering where all roads lead. This holds until a vengeful Jason Statham initiates a globalised game of cat-and-mouse; thereafter, it’s business as usual, right down to the camera’s not unproblematic habit of goosing every pit girl it approaches. Superior set-pieces continue to sustain this most dumbly enjoyable of franchises: a terrifying aerial plunge into Azerbaijan precedes a colossal show of event-movie willy-waggling in Abu Dhabi, trouncing Mission: Impossible 4’s rearrangement of the Dubai skyline. Walker’s loss is noted, but barely felt; given the prevailing blokishness, a former BBC motoring correspondent could potentially fill in for Fast Eight.
Fast & Furious opens in cinemas nationwide today.