It’s become a family affair, this Furious franchise, and so it was appropriate to take in the latest installment of Vin Diesel & Co.’s adventures with my own family members. Since entering their golden years, these particular family members seize upon every opportunity to cash in on their senior status. Especially at the movies. Especially when treating. And who am I to protest? It’s all part of the fun. And so the three of us “seniors” strapped ourselves into the IMAX for a movie targeted at a 15-year-old demographic.
Although the Furious films are no longer just about street racing, cars are still front and centre, throbbing and rumbling across the screen. In fact, everything and everyone snarls, roars and thrashes about, with various ear-splitting and eye-popping brawls and stunts. But the cars, oh, the cars. There’s a gorgeous grey Jensen Interceptor, a 1969 flame-red Dodge Daytona and a 1970 Ford Escort Rallye – not popular Stateside, but beloved by the British. Since much of the film takes place in England, that’s fitting.
Perhaps that’s why the film almost felt like it wanted to be a Bond flick. There was a snazzy harpoon gun, a low-slung open-wheel racecar with flip-up hood, and other Bondesque high-tech. And wasn’t the Jensen the car of choice for Simon Templar in The Saint – played by Roger Moore, who did go on to play Bond? A stretch, but then, so were most of the stunts. The best by far was Vin Diesel catching Michel Rodrigues falling off a tank on a bridge in mid-air, and landing – unscathed – on a car.
There were some flashy stunt driving, which is de riguer for the Furious. According to Dr. Google, there were 400 cars and 80 stunt drivers. The tank demolishes 250 cars. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, Vin Diesel commandeers a car through the nose of a burning airplane.
Although the dialogue is mostly standard action issue, there’s some priceless repartee between Tyrese and Ludacris. But the real appeal – beyond the smokin hot cars, preposterous stunts and sinewy bodies – is the diversity of the cast. There’s black, hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, and hybrid actors – just like in real life. Plus, there are three women in meaty featured roles – not just as arm candy, but scowling, scrapping sirens who drive and fight alongside their mancakes.
If that’s the case, bring on Furious 7. And judging by the last three minutes of the film, that’s a date for 2015.