REVIEW: Furious 7

The Fast And Furious franchise continues to defy all odds.  With the seventh film, it still remains an exciting, fun series that doesn’t feel played out at all.  It helps that it basically reset itself with Fast Five by coming more of a heist series.  It’s like Ocean’s Eleven on steroids.

#5 saw Dwayne Johnson join the cast, and #6 had Michelle Rodriguez returning after previously been thought dead.  Now #7 adds Jason Statham as the villain, but the most talked-about element of Furious 7 is the fact this will be Paul Walker’s last one since he died during the shooting of the film.  They managed to finish the film by using Paul’s brothers as stand-ins, and CGI-ing Paul’s face over his brothers.  It’s interesting watching the film trying to notice where it’s “not Paul”. Initially, I thought I couldn’t tell at all, but you’ll notice just before the third act of the film starts (check out the scene where the gang is on a road looking down at L.A.) that there’s very little of the real Paul being used.  He starts to be seen in shadows a lot, he says lines off-camera, and when they do show his face, there is something odd about it.  That being said, they do a great job at making it work.

fast-and-furious-7-posterThere are some eerie scenes, especially one where the gang is at the funeral of Han (who died at the end of the last one).  Roman (Tyrese Gibson) stands next to Brian (Paul Walker) and says to him that he doesn’t want to go to any more funerals. Brian answers with “just one more”.  Of course, he’s talking about Deckard Shaw (Statham) that they want to kill, but it has a whole other meaning for the audience.

But don’t worry, the film isn’t a downer.  Furious 7 wants to honour Paul with giving the audience the most entertaining, ridiculous action flick possible and it does.  Everything you want in a Furious movie is here: the ridiculous macho dialogue (“woman, I am the calvary”…”It’s time to unleash the beast”), unbelievable action that defies all logic and the rules of gravity, fast cars (and the destruction of them), and the characters we’ve surprisingly come to love.

The scene of the cars being dropped out of an airplane that was showcased in the trailer is spectacular, but that’s not even the best part. The high-speed highway chase that follows is amazing.  And if you thought Tom Cruise climbing outside the Berj Khalifa in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was crazy, wait til you see what the gang does here. Michelle Rodriguez gets another great fight scene with Ronda Rousey, while Jason Statham gets into hand-to-hand combat with both Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.

You’re going to have an awesome time watching this movie.  Of course, I won’t spoil how the film wraps up Paul Walker‘s character, but they do a great job with it. It’s touching, and definitely a little corny but they earn it because it is so heartfelt.  You know how close this cast and crew is so it’s quite effective watching them say farewell to one of their leaders, and doing it so respectfully.

That’s the most surprising thing about the series is that while they are all playing paper-thin characters, the long history we have with these characters means you actually do feel a connection to them.  I like watching Vin and Michelle’s relationships, Dwayne’s over-the-top machoness, and Tyrese’s comic relief.  The series does suffer a loss with Paul Walker being gone, but this franchise has a great crew that can keep things racing on for many movies to come.

Grade:  A-

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