What do I know about winning an Oscar? I backed Boyhood last year and the Academy disagreed. But Vin Diesel knows something about movies and he says Fast and Furious 7 will win the big one.
Perhaps he was swayed by the sheer power of pathos after his friend and co-star Paul Walker died in a car accident before shooting had finished.
Or maybe he has a point – seeing as the popular choice rarely wins an Oscar, why not Furious 7?
Of course, I could list the plot holes you could drive a nitrous fuelled armoured Mustang through, but that’s just unsportsmanlike. And frankly I would just fall into the big trap the series has always laid for critics.
Instead, I will admit to being a fan of this series because it has always laid bare the basest dreams and desires of any hothead, and they’re really fun to watch.
But the film has a serious side, and rather than just being about family, honour and driving cars, it has an element of mystery that will keep you glued to the screen.
We start with the return of Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) who in movies past was struck down in a drag racing accident, disappearing and leaving Dom Toretto (Diesel) heartbroken and constantly crashing into things.
The resurrected Letty is plagued by amnesia, so she and Dom spend a bit of time revisiting their shared past, before she pops a rivet and jumps ship to work through her personal problems.
Letty fans won’t be disappointed because she is returned soon after by government spook Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell) in a scene featuring possibly the funniest product placement ever – award-winning in its own right.
Toretto and the gang carry on chasing Bond-worthy high tech baddies like avenging bad-ass Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) who is “finishing the fight” from FF6 which hospitalised his little brother, Letty’s old boss Owen Shaw (Luke Evans).
Anyway, there follows a chain of events which includes a bus chase in Azerbaijan, an automobile leap between three skyscrapers, a house exploding into matchsticks and a showdown with a vicious drone.
At the end of the day, the real Oscar winners here are the CGI guys, who were placed in a bit of a pickle after Walker’s shock death.
They actually had to to enlist Walker’s brothers to finish shooting his scenes, using movie magic to stitch Paul’s face onto Caleb and Cody Walker to get. This. Movie. Done.
The result is a lot like Silence of the Lambs, or Annabelle the lonely doll from The Conjuring. It’s Walker’s face, but he’s just not there.
That, along with delightfully cheesy one liners and more bare flesh than a butcher’s shop, make Fast and Furious 7 a study in unabashed entertainment.
A gemstone of the action genre, Diesel’s beloved flick is the second best movie of 2015 and will (well, should) win the Oscar for Best Picture – if the Academy wants to salvage its credibility.
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