James Wan Will Approach ‘Fast & Furious 7’ as a ‘Gritty, 1970s Revenge Thriller’?

james-wanOh the necessary grittiness of today’s movies with their picture perfect look, and post production sheen. So much like the films of the ’70s. What? You disagree? Okay, I guess I agree with you. There was something to the filmmaking technique, the style, the tone, the pacing and the actual use of film that gave ’70s film their down-in-the-dirt feel that today’s films can’t really emulate.

So, when James Wan tells The Playlist he’s going to approach Fast & Furious 7 as “a gritty, 1970s revenge thriller” I’m trying to figure out just what exactly that means.

In my opinion, the Fast franchise doesn’t lend itself to the storytelling technique of ’70s actioners and in the ways that it could, today’s filmmaking techniques and audience expectations don’t allow for that kind of measured pacing and lack of explosions. I mean… French Connection, The Getaway, Dirty Harry, The Mechanic, Death Wish or, I guess, Bullitt if you want to be generous by two years. Do any of these resemble the Fast and Furious franchise? Or is he talking Death Race 2000 and Mad Max, or what?

Of course, I’m just spit-balling here. Wan doesn’t give any examples or expand further on the sentiment when talking to The Playlist. In fact, here’s the entire quote:

“I really like the theme of this next one that we’re going with. I can’t really talk about it, but I like the theme; it’s one that I really relate to. Then there’s the drive of Number Seven, which was set up at the end of Number Six, which is a classic revenge story.

“I’m a big [genre] fan, so that’s how I’m approaching [it]. I’m looking at it like a gritty, 1970s revenge thriller, but one that still fits into the Fast and Furious series.”

All I can think of when I read this is James Mangold The Wolverine was inspired and influenced by films such as Chungking Express, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Samurai Trilogy and Floating Weeds.

After seeing The Conjuring last night, Wan is certainly a director I respect for his ability to tell a ghost story, but when I hear statements like this I can’t help but raise and eyebrow. I don’t see how you can treat this franchise as anything more than “grossly over-the-top cine-junk” and still appease the target audience. Doing something a la Death Sentence certainly won’t pay off in my opinion.

Fast & Furious 7 hits theaters July 11, 2014.

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