It’s a beautiful day for fans of good-bad movies when the trailer for the newest installment in the shockingly long-lived The Fast and the Furious series drops. Starting with the fourth film, 2009’s Fast & Furious, the franchise began an unlikely uptick in quality—albeit a very particular, and decidedly schlocky, muscles-and-motors version of quality. Both 2011’s Fast Five and 2013’s Fast & Furious 6 are not only cultishly adored, they actually got pretty decent reviews. And now Furious 7 is almost here.
Of course, much of the talk around Furious 7 has centered on how the movie will handle the death of beloved star Paul Walker, who died in a car accident at age 40 while the movie was still in production. Director James Wan has reportedly gone to elaborate lengths—including using Walker’s brothers as body doubles and employing Peter Jackson’s effects studio to replicate Walker in post-production—to finish the film. (All this reportedly swelled Furious 7’s budget past $250 million.) Given the oddly earnest and weirdly charming way the films have emphasized the Fast crew as a makeshift family, it seems safe to expect Walker’s character will receive a solemn sendoff.
Otherwise, though, Furious 7 looks like more of the same crazy, muscle-car goodness. The highlight of the trailer is a minute-long, music-free sequence featuring the main cast parachuting their vehicles from a cargo plane onto a mountain road, then intercepting a moving, armored bus to rescue a prisoner inside. The whole sequence looks frankly insane, recalling both Fast & Furious 6’s best setpiece and a similar sequence from another excellently over-the-top automotive action adventure—the unfairly under-praised Speed Racer.
As they have become more reliably popular, I have begun to worry that Fast & Furious would become just another Hollywood franchise. But I am fully ready for Furious 7 to prove me wrong.