The Fast and the Furious franchise really is something of a marvel in hindsight. What began with an above average ripoff of Point Break that swapped out surfing for street racing became the foundation of a multibillion dollar media franchise, a fact that’s all the more mind-blowing when you consider the first couple sequels nearly left it dead in the water. After being retooled from a series of street-racing centered films into the international heist thrillers they’ve become, the Fast and the Furious films have become a box office mainstay and Universal Studios’ most successful franchise of all time. That’s right, the franchise about the guys who drive really fast is worth more than Jaws, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, ET or Conan the Barbarian – see why I say it’s a marvel?
Which brings us to Furious 7, the latest installment in the franchise. Director Justin Lin, who is largely responsible for making the series the success that it is today, left due to scheduling conflicts and studio pressure, and has been replaced with director James Wan, who is largely known for his work in horror movies. Furious 7 also will have the notable issue of dealing with the death of actor Paul Walker, who died during pre-production.
It’s not all bad news though – Furious 7 looks to have dumped most of the more disposable members of the cast (see: Wonder Waif, the wet blanket who wrecked Bullet to the Head), and brought on a huge infusion of talent to the cast, including Kurt Russell, Ronda Rousey, Tony Jaa and Jason Statham. Of course, as long as Furious 7 has the same action and stunt work as the last few films, I doubt much else will matter.
So does the latest Fast and the Furious movie give us another high-octane infusion of action and thrills, or had this cinematic joyride finally run out of gas? Start your engines my dear readers, and join me as I get behind the wheel of Furious 7.