Director: James Wan
Writers: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Paul Walker, Kurt Russell, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jason Statham, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris, Lucas Black, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Gal Gadot, John Brotherton, Luke Evans, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou, Noel Gugliemi, Ronda Rousey
Synopsis: Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for his comatose brother.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language
7 / 10
- Great cinematography
- Well choreographed action scenes.
- Sound editing and mixing was fairly decent
- Acting performances were decent. Nothing great, but they weren't downright terrible.
- Great pacing. The story never felt rushed, nor did it drag it's feet. Although the movie is almost two and a half hours long, it never feels that way, as it goes by fairly quickly.
- Humor was funny
- Weak script that featured mostly bland and generic characters
- Disjointed message about the importance of family gets lost rather quickly amidst the action scenes.
- Vin Diesel still seems to play himself in every damn movie that he appears in, but he's in a franchise where great acting isn't a necessity as long as you have charisma.
One last ride....
Why is it whenever Michael Bay directs a film that features nothing but non stop implausible action scenes, little to no story, closeup shots of tits and a**es, and fast car chase sequences that we suddenly feel the need to bash him? Yet when "Fast and the Furious" does the exact same thing in one of their movies that we suddenly go gaga over it like it's the best thing since slice bread?
The hypocrisy among film critics and moviegoers astound me sometimes. Before I start my review, I would like to point out a few things by addressing the elephant in the room. That giant fat elephant being Paul Walker's untimely demise. As some of you may know, Paul Walker died during the production of this film, which caused Universal Studios to push back production of "Furious 7" for six months to mourn his loss.
And according to various reports, the script for the movie was rewritten during that period, so the movie could honor his memory, while conveniently retiring his character from the franchise. Look, I know it's unpopular to say ANYTHING bad about this movie because Paul Walker died, and how Universal did this elaborate homage to his character in "Furious 7" that's getting everyone raving about it. I get that. It sucks when anyone dies, and my heart goes out his family and loved ones. I'm sure he'll be deeply missed by them.
However, it doesn't matter if he died making this movie or not, as my opinions on this film are not a reflection of how I feel about Paul himself. Hell, everyone bashed Jean-Claude Van Damme's infamous "Street Fighter" film, which featured the late Raul Julia as M. Bison, who died shortly after making that stinker. Yet when you bash that piece of crap, nobody seems to think that your bashing Raul Julia as well. So why should it be any different if someone chooses to criticize "Furious 7?"
Bottom line. I'm sure Paul Walker was a good man, and I can only hope his loved ones will be okay. However, I'm not going to join the majority of other film critics out there praising this movie as the best action movie ever made just to gain BROWNIE POINTS with their readers. Mostly because I shouldn't have to. Now that I've addressed the giant elephant in the room, I feel like we can properly look at "Furious 7" for what it is....a cheap "Expendables" style action movie for a new generation.
The story starts off with an infamously known criminal by the name of Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), who wants revenge against Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his friends for what happened to his comatose brother. Deckard seems to be a highly trained assassin that'll stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means killing innocent bystanders in the process.
Along the way, Dominic and his friends get recruited into some elaborate government operation ran by Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell). Cue in the high speed car chases. The fast paced action scenes. The cliché one liners. The closeup shots of tits and a**es, and you have yourself "Furious 7" in a nutshell.
Of course, there's also some bulls** about family, as it heavily relates to Paul Walker's character coping with being a father now; while dealing with the prospect that his days of action might be coming to an end. After all, many guys yearn for the wild side of life of fast living, but seldom few ever adjust to the slow pace action of family life.
Needless to say, James Wan plays on this theme throughout various parts of the movie; particularly around the end when you hear Vin's character give some long winded speech about family and crap. Don't get me wrong. It was rather touching on how the director, James Wan, handled those moments, and it probably would've worked a lot better had Paul Walker been the lead character going into this movie.
However, all we end up with is a hot mess. Since he's hardly the focus throughout most of this film, it feels a bit disjointed to the point that the moral about family gets lost amidst all the gun fire and fast car sequences.
It's been said that "Furious 7" was originally supposed to be about setting up a possible "expanded movie universe" for the franchise, and I believe it considering that it would explain Mr. Nobody's role in this feature. Although the concept of a mysterious unnamed government operative hiring a rogue group of outcast does seem like a bit of a rip of "Expendables" if you think about it. Just saying.
To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect coming into this film considering James Wan was directing it. However, I have to admit he did a great job putting it together. Although the script for "Furious 7" was a tad weak and disjointed with it's concepts about family, I will say that James does a great job orchestrating a fast paced action movie that keeps in tone with the spirit and heart of the previous ones.
As far as the acting goes, I wouldn't count on seeing any Oscar caliber performances here. However, each actor plays their role quite well, while adding their own charismatic charm to the film. Sure, Vin Diesel plays himself into every part he plays, but f*** it. Nobody watches these movies for their stories anyway. It's all about escapism when it comes to this franchise, and "Furious 7" punches that ticket well.
While I would love to be like most critics by putting on a pair of poms poms and praise the hell out of it for paying homage to Paul Walker, I can't do that because that would be lying. The reality is "Furious 7" is not a great action movie, but it's definitely a lot of fun.
However, if you want an action movie that has substance to it, then I would recommend something along the lines of "Total Recall" or the original "Robocop." Both those are great action movies that feature surprisingly deep underlying stories. "Furious 7" is great guilty pleasure action movie in ilk of others like it such as "Expendables" and "Machete", but I wouldn't expect much of a story out of it. Just go into the theater. Turn off your brain, and enjoy the ride. This movie isn't meant to make you think, but rather to entertain you. And if that's all you expect from an action movie, then "Furious 7" might be the perfect movie for you to watch.
© 2015 Steven Escareno
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