Just a quick review from the local premier tonight (without spoilers): it’s terrific.
Yes, it’s over the top (as you’d expect), and the action is relentless, but it’s also the best written entry of the series.
And it includes a bittersweet tribute to Paul Walker and his character. And not to worry, they don’t kill off his character in the film, although by obvious necessity he does take a different road in the end.
Jason Statham has one of his best roles in years, and he needed this after a couple of bombs in a row. He’s at his best in this film. And Kurt Russel, looking old at times, still shows his best and most humorous side, like so many of his roles we’ve enjoyed in the past.
If there is a painful element, it’s the contrast to the first film. With only a couple of Z’s in the theater parking lot, an Evo and not much else, it’s clear that times have changed. We remember going to the first showing of the original film. The parking lot of this same theater was full of Japanese cars all week, with street races and the police chasing the racers each night. And after the first couple of nights, police were stationed at the theater. That’s the impact the first film had. But not today…. although the theater was packed and the audience was clapping at the end. It looks like the audience has grown up along with the Fast and Furious series.