*NEW* FAST AND FURIOUS 7 REVIEW *NEW*

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The action may have been fast and the plot may have made me furious BUT somehow I was still entertained with the SEVENTH offering of the Fast franchise.

Maybe they should just . . . STOP! BUT the first billion dollar grossing film for Universal Studios means one thing! More indecipherable grumblings from Vin Diesel, more stunning cars and more ludicrous set piece that defy the laws of physics.

So what’s this one about? Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family for his comatose brother (Luke Evans).

It’s strange watching this monstrous franchise continue to evolve. To think the original was about an undercover cop infiltrating a bootlegging ring. Even funnier when you realise the items they were stealing were TV/VCR combos.

BUT now? Well . . .

James Wan didn’t mess about. We open to a trail of carnage at a hospital ward as the Stath visits his little bro. He chewed up every scene and pumped up each naff line with a bit of machismo. Dark, brutal and utterly bonkers. A teaser of things to come.

I think it’s safe to say that the Fast films are guilty pleasures. One of those “leave your brain at the door” popcorn movies. The first half hour was zippy and quite watchable.

Until the Tank, I mean, the Rock flew out of a building and used his body as a human shield to protect his partner. Okay, the ol’ WWF fan in me had a moment of nostalgia when the Brahma Bull “rock bottomed” The Stath into a coffee table. BUT it was ridiculous! And that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Jordana Brewster had the easiest job going. She was very much pushed to the background. After an explosive opener, The Rock didn’t really pop back up until the finale. BUT that didn’t stop Wan adding more characters to the ever-expanding cast.

Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones) made a memorable impression as the alluring but geeky computer hacker Ramsey. Kurt Russell was superb as the appropriately titled Mr Nobody. He was having fun and made the implausible waffle almost believable. Plus he delivered the best spot of advertising for Corona I’ve ever seen.

The gang are recruited to retrieve a super computer program that can hack into any social network, CCTV and phone. A technology so powerful that Bin Laden could have been found in two hours not a decade. If they obtain it, they can find the Stath. Before he finds them :O

Two hours, too long. The pace dipped in and out. Reprieved by frantic action sequences. Letty’s amnesia subplot was far too corny and soapy for my liking. I cringed every time Michelle Rodriguez and Diesel were on screen together.

I could actually understand Iggy Azealia in the 15 second blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. And it wasn’t as corny as Rita Ora’s. Tyrese Gibson delivered the laughs where he could BUT he did test my patience. His banter with Ludacris wasn’t that good either. Even he looked fed up with the exchanges.

Ronda Rousey’s acting left little to be desired. I know she was supposed to be a bodyguard BUT if she’s going to appear in more movies, she needs to up her game. The feisty punch up with Rodriguez was pretty decent though. Tony Jaa was relentless. Dispatching his trade mark free running fighting style. Shame that he was reduced to dispatching such terrible one liners.

BUT nothing compared to Diesel and Stath’s street fight. Both going at it (Steady now) with wrenches and car bumpers (You read that right).

The last 30 minutes really took the biscuit. It was laughable. The Rock shooting up half of LA with a machine gun. Driving super cars through both of the Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi. Driving out of planes with parachutes! Paul Walker running up the back of a bus as it falls off a cliff. Come on!

I can’t believe I’m saying this but it might help to have a little knowledge of the other movies. I have to commend Wan and writer Chris Morgan for wrapping up something that had been niggling at me ever since Tokyo Drift. No spoilers here.

However, for it’s all silliness, it did deliver a fitting farewell to Walker that left a little lump in the throat. A talented actor that left us far too soon. The CGI on Paul Walker was impressive. You really couldn’t tell which scenes were altered. There were quite a few references through out the film that hit home. A racer yells to Toretto, “Ride or die, right?”. Toretto puts his head down and simply says, “Let’s just ride this time”.

They really should quit while they’re ahead. A surprisingly watchable, if incredibly overlong, OTT blockbuster of stupendous proportions.

3(Just)/5

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THE BOY NEXT DOOR REVIEW

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The horror, the horror!

Oh boy. NEXT!

1 star for J-Lo. 1 for the laughs.

I think this film proved only one thing. J-Lo is still looking mighty fine at 45.

Anyway, critical cap back on.

I went in expecting nothing and was rewarded with . . . nothing.

To be honest,  all the slating on IMDb really did make me dread this.

It was watchable. BUT oh so laughable.

My doubts crept in from the badly edited and poorly dubbed flashback opening sequence that quickly summed up that John Corbett (Sex and the City) had been cheating on Jenny from the Block.

Director Rob Cohen certainly tried his best to skim through all the predictable back story guff to get to the juicy stuff BUT by doing so made it even cornier and naffer!

Seriously it rushed along too much that you couldn’t really take it seriously.

I certainly wasn’t bored. BUT it felt like someone was fast forwarding one of those late night TV movie thrillers.

Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) was looking rough. Bearing in mind she is only two years older than Jen.

However, she manages to make as memorable a turn as she can as J-Lo’s BFF.

Ryan Guzman’s entrance (Step Up: All In) was corny as hell.

A frustrated J-Lo struggling with a broken garage door. The door looks set to crush our dozy and ill fated heroine.

Cue handsome muscle bound stranger. Insufferable drooling and cringeworthy dialogue.

It made me laugh that J-Lo’s character lets her son go off with said stranger without asking any real questions until he is gone. Nice one, Mom.

Lopez and Guzman don’t have bad chemistry BUT the poor set up and execution  felt like something you would expect to see in a certain adult movie.

The film does its best to zip along through the predictable soapy elements.

Guzman plays the mysterious and charismatic boy next door quite well.

However, we have to chug through the endless staring and checking each other out.

J-Lo biting her top lip. Guzman walking around any house and lawn in stereotypical greased up mechanic gear, white t-shirt or no shirt. Bleurgh.

The inevitable bonding between Claire (Lopez) and Noah (Guzman) over little things was so bad. Seriously their conversation over literature was unbelievably cheesy.

And then the son goes away with dear old dad for the weekend and while the cats away, you get the picture.

The leads deliver a raunchy encounter. BUT then the film takes a predictable turn. And one that didn’t quite come off that well.

The premise is a MTV take on Fatal Attraction.

BUT that’s the rub. Fatal Attraction was slow burning, tense, suspenseful. The ending . . . wow!

This was just utterly bonkers.

Claire instantly regrets the one night stand while Noah has other plans.

His sudden change in behaviour was too quick. Too volatile.

The film had a chance to be a slow burning thriller BUT the writer and director couldn’t be that bothered with the build up.

The little mind games were watchable enough.

Corbett’s love cheat trying to get back with the family. Noah dropping suggestive one liners. Seriously, the “I love your mother’s cookies” and “we got pretty wet last night” (Implying the storm) felt like expired American Pie gags.

The games soon crank up to 11 within a matter of a few scenes. Too sporadic. Fast, frantic and violent.

BUT it always felt and looked like nothing more than a bad B-movie that you wouldn’t expect to see on the big screen.

I have seen a lot worse. This at least breezed through and didn’t infuriate me. It was just funny for all the wrong reasons.

I mean, the allergy scene with Claire’s son (Ian Nelson)? Hardly spoilers. Noah goads him into having a fit. BUT Guzman’s reactions were so OTT.

You actually couldn’t work out if that was an accident or planned?

The music was silly. It really didn’t help add any tension. In fact it killed what little Cohen mustered.

You could write a checklist of things that Noah will do to spite Claire and tick them off while watching.

The sneaking around Noah’s house was a little tense. That was until Claire’s neighbour walked in. A scream off. A nervous knife wielding J-Lo hiding in her kitchen.

The son’s reaction when he walks in on a screaming J-Lo. (No, not like that). Priceless. “Hey Mom, what’s with the knife?”

The explosive finale was relentless and incredibly violent. It’s a shame that it just ends so abruptly. No, seriously. It just ends. Job done.

Rob Cohen does his best with a B movie. Which doesn’t say a lot. Yes, he directed XXX and The Fast and The Furious but he was also the guy that brought us Stealth, The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and Alex Cross. Yeah . . .

It’s OTT, corny and ridiculous. If you want a laugh or something to “hate watch”, then I give you The Boy Next Door.

J-Lo does her best and her acting isn’t that bad. In comparison to Gigli, well . . .

It would be nice to see her with a good script. If she still acts like this, then I will throw in the towel.

It’s watchable for all the bad rap it got.

BUT it’s still pretty bad.

2/5