..attempt to try to be cool is to fail.
Now I will be the first to admit that I am inclined to write with excessive gravity about subjects that would bore the pants off a member of the Ayn Rand Institute, the Enid Blyton Book Club, or the Young Farmer’s Association. I realise that it is hard work, at times, for both my solitary reader ….. and me. He only has to read it whilst I have to make it up and pretend that I know what I am doing. But apart from red wine, more red wine and yet more red wine I do have one minor vice. I absolutely love action movies and nothing makes me happier that an earthquake, typhoon, car chase and multiple explosions. In fact I have been known to say that a movie without a car chase is not worth watching.
You may think that Tom Cruise is a Scientological fruit cake but any man who will hang his diminutive frame and perfect teeth off the side of a climbing aircraft for the sake of entertainment, not to mention climb cliffs and ride motorbikes off buildings, has much to recommend him. Vin Diesel may make the late Marlon Brando’s enunciation seem as Shakespearean as Laurence Olivier’s but he does a mean fight scene. Jason Statham is awe-inspiring in anything he does and as for Dwayne Johnson aka ‘The Rock” let no man speak ill of this colossus, a man whose very muscles have muscles. The world will always be safe whist he patrols the frontiers of the known galaxy.
Is the Bourne franchise better that ‘The Magnificent Seven”? There would be no debate if we were referring to the American western version with Yul Brynner but regrettably with Kurosawa’s Japanese masterpiece it doesn’t quite get there even though Kurosawa doesn’t have a car chase. What differentiates the Kurosawa movie is that is determinedly realistic and verges on the possible whilst no action movie worth its salt these days is. Kurosawa built a village using timber and tiles that were hundreds of years old and would even complete buildings that were not even seen in shots just for the sake authenticity.
These days several hundred digital artists would labour in any country in the world with sufficient graphic’s servers and do it all on colour corrected monitors whilst the actors wandered around green screen sets with dots painted on their foreheads.
Which of course means that ‘Fast and Furious 7’ – which the director James Wan actually sees as a homage to ‘The Seven Samurai’, may not be up there with ‘Citizen Kane’ but it is damned good fun for all of its two hours and seventeen minutes. And apart from gratuitous, though entirely wholesome political incorrectness, it has a theme song called ‘Go Hard Or Go Home’ that took nine people to compose and is performed in part by an Australian called Amethyst Amelia Kelly who is better known as Iggy Azelea. I think it is a totally post-modern song as it seems to be largely devoid of what a traditionalist might call a melody for most of its length. As Arnie said in ‘Commando’, “Chennius Chenny!’
For those of us who care the movie is made even more touching as one of the stars, Paul Walker, died half way through the making of the film and the movie is dedicated to him. You would scarcely know given the digital legerdemain and the fact that he has brothers that look almost the same who stood in for him.
What you have to realise is that despite the high body count and destruction of property (over 230 cars were destroyed) the film is about family values. And also about American values, such as fast cars, procreation, women in little clothing, violence and fisticuffs in which no good guy gets really hurt. And to show the American demographic is changing the cast is thoroughly multi-racial though the bad guys do seem to be out of central European casting of a somewhat Slavic bent.
When I was young there were children’s movies that were held every Saturday morning at the Crystal Palace. Prior to the main movie they featured a western serial made more mysterious by being screened out of order. In these, the astounding clean-cut hero survived huts blown up by dynamite, falls down high cliffs and the assaults of nefarious thousands of treacherous red injuns - all with the able assistance of various gimpy sidekicks and his trust horse.
‘Fast and Furious 7’ is much the same except the stunts are spectacularly, hilariously wonderfully, incomprehensibly terrific and never-ending. Is it implausible? Absolutely. Is it good value for money? Without a shadow of a doubt. And there are three more to come. The only people who would not like are people who regularly use the word ‘trope’ in conversation.
Now when is the next James Bond movie coming out?
* I actually haven’t heard this but a reviewer said “….constructs soundscapes comprising a looped motif based on a major-second interval that at first is underpinned by long, bowed notes on her cello, then by sung notes that first echo, then clash with the harmonies established by the cello”. You have been warned.