‘Fast 7’ slowly drags on

Dominic Toretto and company are back with the latest release in the “Fast and Furious” series. Released April 3, “Fast 7” has made over $800 million and counting worldwide, bypassing the last movie’s total income during its release.

When looked at from a chronological view, the movies are out of order. In the last movie, Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) has a crew that tracks down a terrorist, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), in London. The events of the last one, however, take place right before the events that occur in the third movie, “Tokyo Drift,” where there’s the death of one of the major characters, Han (Sung Kang).

“Fast 7” seems to tie up loose ends from both of those movies. The events in the film happen right after “Tokyo Drift,” when the audience finds out that Han was murdered by Shaw’s older brother, Deckard (Jason Statham). This sets the whole plot in motion, as Dom and what he calls his “familia” avenge Han’s death.

A lot of what the movie is riding on is the much-anticipated appearance of Paul Walker, who died suddenly in a 2013 car accident. Walker was a main cast member in the franchise, playing ex-cop turned street racer Brian O’ Conner. Walker passed away as the movie was filming, so producers asked his younger brother, Cody, to finish his scenes as a stunt double. For closeups, producers decided to digitally superimpose Walker’s face.

With a chance to see Walker’s last performance as well as how the franchise would pay tribute to him, fans are sure to pack the theaters. But take away that factor, the movie comes up short when it comes to plot and character development.

Along with tracking down Deckard Shaw, the crew must also rescue an intelligent computer hacker, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), who developed a software called “God’s Eye” that is able to track down anyone in the world using any kind of camera. Ramsey is captured by a mercenary named Jakande (Djimon Hounsou) who wants to get his hands on “God’s Eye.” The whole reason why the group needs to track down Ramsey is to get help from the people who want her to find Deckard Shaw.

This essentially leads the team on a wild goose chase, with the group traveling all over the globe while also fighting off two enemies, Jakande and Shaw. This can leave the audience confused at times, as the plot is convoluted and drags on. The action scenes are drawn-out, and cheesy jokes and soppy one-liners are overdone.

One character in particular, Letty, has the potential of being developed further but is unfortunately merely brushed upon. In the last movie, Letty lost her memory and had a hard time remembering her close friends, especially her husband, Dom. By the time this movie comes around, Letty is still lost and confused and decides to simply leave in order to find herself, only to come back later with a new sense of identity. This may be seen as a gaping plot hole, as there is no portrayal of what the process of finding herself looks like.

“Fast 7” does an excellent job paying tribute to one of its fallen characters and beloved actors, but it seems as though that’s the only thing the film focuses on. The film lacks substance and genuineness. Because of that, this movie gets 2 1/2 out of four Jon Wallace heads.