RATING |

"FURIOUS SEVEN" welcomes Jason Statham and Djimon Hounsou to the franchise, joining Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Tyrese.

Thus does a bid for the baddest action movie in theaters become the baldest action movie ever, a hair-razing epic that will stand as the all-time movie of choice for the No Hair Club For Men, and surely confirms the link between high testosterone levels and male pattern baldness.

The movie's first adrenaline jolt is a Statham/Johnson bare-knuckle, bare-headed brawl - Statham is a rogue Bourne-ish badass out to avenge his brother, nearly killed by a Fed (Johnson) who took him down by joint-venturing with Diesel and his famous gang of L.A. street-rodders.

They all end up going after out-for-vengeance Statham by aligning with a CIA man (Kurt Russell) looking for a creepy surveillance and tracking program (no, not Facebook) in the possession of an international gangster (Hounsou).

There's more plot, but so what? The story is an appropriately flimsy excuse for a series of undercards - Statham vs. Rock, Tony Jaa vs. Paul Walker (twice), Michelle Rodriguez vs. Ronda Rousey.

Rousey is undefeated in Mixed Martial Arts, but Rodriguez previously tangled with MMA star Gina Carano in "Fast and Furious 6" and an entire race of heavily armed aliens in "Battle Los Angeles."

My money's on Michelle.

And on Detroit. The movie's best action sequence features classic American muscle cars from the '60s and '70s parachuting into Kazakhstan for a road duel against a fleet of douche-y Euro luxury brands. It's a complete wipe-out.

Diesel, who has said that "Furious Seven" will be nominated for an Academy Award, does his finest work in this scene, taking a souped-up Chevy way off road, a sequence that requires a suspension of disbelief and a disbelief of suspension.

All of this leads to the main event: two simultaneous bouts - Diesel vs. Statham, with Vin wielding two gigantic wrenches; and Johnson vs. Hounsou, each armed with .50 caliber machine guns. Despite the frenetic action, there's not a hair out of place.

The movie concludes with a tribute to Walker, who died during production. The epilogue is surprisingly tactful, given the pulverizing personality of this franchise.

Walker also contributes the movie's biggest laugh - life has confined his hot-rodding character to a minivan.

This, more than anything, reminds us why the self-effacing actor will be missed.