In a serious last-minute quest for a theatre that would play the seventh and the final installment of the Fast and Furious series, I ultimately ended up arriving a few minutes late into the multiplex-screen. Thanks to some much-needed IMDB’ing and wiki’ing with also a faint memory of tolerating the fifth part of the series with much ado, I didn’t feel alienated in exposing myself to the atmosphere of this true-blue action film. They were familiar faces around to help me get used to the air, especially Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson (Rock).
Relieving myself of the earlier baggage, i.e. the backstory leading to the film, I realised it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to also look it as an individual product. Probably, this is why, I began searching for the plot. But, it didn’t work as the film started seeming pale with vulnerable families, the stud-like protagonists, unworldly baddies and unimaginable chases. I recollected a similar instance of missing the plot entirely, while I was watching Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible 4, a few years ago. Then I paused all my in-mind setup, because this wasn’t happening and fun at all.
Some, re-fondling with brain and I had answers. It was Fast and Furious for goodness sake. What was I talking about ? Luckily, the film wasn’t progressing as much then and the ‘real’ action was yet to begin. I held my nerves for the king-sized car-chases. They were grand enough, but the adrenaline rush didn’t quite happen.
With our wide exposure to global cinema and some unmemorable regional films, probably, chases I thought can never be the same again. But wait, it didn’t take long for the film to fall in place with what I was expecting. A series of automobiles were dropped down from an aircraft with parachutes, just like the ease with which foodgrains are dropped to disaster-affected areas.
The cars next started dropping down the hills. Paul Walker in quick time made a miraculous escape with nearly a 100 metre mid-air jump from a bus that was struggling to balance itself on the edge of the cliff. The moment was beautiful. The character felt a human for an instant, vulnerable yet with hope and the next minute, with his giant leap towards safety, I adored the heroic jump he made to showcase his larger-than-life nature. This heroic bliss with an ability to get our mouths stretched wide-open is what makes this genre still enjoyable today, even if not completely riveting.
From an elegant Tokyo, the scene shifts to Abu Dhabi. There I spotted Ali Fazal, speaking the regionalised version of English, sadly unfunny, if the intention ever was to make us laugh. But, the kickass moment was nearly there. The car, in one of the topmost floors of a skyscraper loses control, for the lack of brakes. Next, the vehicle crashes into three buildings consequently. The protagonists escape unhurt as I expected them to, but the film had this wild imagination to come together, despite the beaten-to-death plot.
The film was nearly done for me there. There’s a brilliantly staged action sequence to end it all. However, the little I had expected out of an action film satisfied me more than enough. One of the characters (whom I later realised was Vin Diesel) tells intermittently that he doesn’t have friends, but a family. He calls Paul, his brother and connects everything in life to satisfy the needs of his family that he really longs for. He really means that when he says so. So, the emotional side of it is also not compromised upon.
Looking beyond, just as the men can be of various types, the opportunist, the stud, the geek, the broker in action films, how come the women in them are just either emotional or intelligent ? They’re really of the bad-ass types or the ones who wave a nice good-bye to their men. Why can’t their sketches be more normal ? I noticed the same in Akshay Kumar’s Baby recently. May be, it’s too tough to find an answer for the age-old template that action films mould themselves into and we’re thereby used to.
Still, Fast and Furious 7 delivers everything that I saw in my ideas of a bankable series-ender. There’s this indulgence of showing the glimpses of the past. The scale is befitting enough and it hits you more that a lead actor in the action series is no more to mark an end to nearly, a generation altogether.