There are a few things you should know before seeing this seventh installment in the “Fast and Furious” series. It’s a sequel, of sorts, to 2006’s “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.” If you haven’t seen the previous films, you’d get more enjoyment out of this one by at least first looking up the plots and getting an idea of the relationships between the characters in those. The whole business of Paul Walker, who died in a non-movie-related car accident in the middle of filming “Furious 7,” but whose character is front and center – using his footage, having his two brothers stand in for certain shots, with a CGI assist – throughout the film, is done with style and class.

The set-up is made clear immediately. This is going to be a revenge film. The targets are our heroes, those by-now familiar faces who have populated most of this series, headed up by Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel). At the beginning of this one, he and his old flame Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are still getting to know each other again, as she’s still in the throes of amnesia. Maybe a little engine revving and desert racing will help ... or hinder. Meanwhile, Brian (Paul Walker), married to Mia (Jordana Brewster) and now a father, has settled into domestic, white-picket-fence life. Or has he? At the same time, Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is working late when he sees a stranger hacking into his computer. That would be Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), a former British Special Forces assassin who has gone rogue, and who, armed with explosives, is the person targeting our heroes for crippling his brother in “Fast & Furious 6.” He’s also a skilled fighter, and the fists-flying, knock-down brawl he has with Hobbs, in an office building conveniently filled with lots of glass doors and walls, is a great one.

Shaw steals some data from that computer, and the story cuts to some deadly action near the end of “Tokyo Drift” and to the same scene shown from a different perspective in the post-credits sequence in “Fast & Furious 6.” There’s even a Tokyo-set cameo from Lucas Black, who was the protagonist of “Tokyo Drift.”

But just as the revenge theme gets going (Shaw wants Toretto and friends, Toretto and friends want Shaw), Kurt Russell makes a big, timely, and very mysterious entrance to the series, playing a guy who might be good, might be bad, doesn’t make it clear who he works for, and calls himself Mr. Nobody. He’s got a lot of money and a lot of resources, but he needs the help of Dom and friends, and if they give it to him, he’ll assist them in getting Shaw.

There are more characters to meet – the most important of which is a computer hacker named Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel); there are story details to understand – Mr. Nobody wants a special device that is in the wave beyond the next wave of surveillance systems; and there’s a flurry of breathtaking spectacle, delivered breathtakingly by newcomer to the series, horror director James Wan (“Saw,” “Insidious”).

Plenty has already been revealed in trailers about the spectacular airplane drop sequence, in which five cars are parachuted down into a mountain wilderness. But that’s only a taste of the craziness the film has to offer. It’s actually the beginning of a 15-minute segment of relentless action, and as in previous installments, that whole bit is just one of many others. As locales switch from Los Angeles to London to those mountains to Abu Dhabi and back to Los Angeles, there might be more fighting, stuntwork, explosions, fast editing and broken glass than in the previous six films combined.

Those looking for fast cars driving fast will not be disappointed. But it’s the fight scenes that really dominate this film, and they’re all brilliantly choreographed and performed. That first Dwayne Johnson-Jason Statham one is a corker, but the follow-ups – Walker vs. Tony Jaa, Rodriguez vs. former UFC champ Ronda Rousey, Diesel vs. Statham – keep upping the ante, keep getting more outrageous.

Is this the best film in the series? No, that honor still goes to “Fast Five.” But this one is the most fun and the most furious.

Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.

FURIOUS 7
Written by Chris Morgan; directed by James Wan
With Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Kurt Russell, Dwayne Johnson
Rated PG-13