ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Action Film Review 2015: "Furious 7" (Written by Chris Morgan, Directed by James Wan)

Updated on April 10, 2015
Source
Source
4 stars for "Furious 7" Film

Alas, here we come to the seventh installment in the seemingly ageless muscle cars and physics-defying action series 'Fast and the Furious". This series, more than any other car-centric movie has seen quite a transformation since the first film polarized audiences way back in 2001. Over the years, multiple directors have taken over the helm and with each new recruit came an altered take on this universe. Justin Lin, the most recent director prior to "Saw" and "The Conjuring" director James Wan picking up this installment gave the series a much needed refocus and adrenaline shot with Fast 4, 5 and 6 that brought a renewed energy and swaggering purpose to all of this. It wasn't just about racing expensive cars or snarky in-jokes anymore. Oh no... this was something much better - an actual, multi-dimensional story with meaningful arcs and plenty of heartbreak. Characters that felt lived and breathed in, as if you'd been journaling them yourself all along or you might have known some of them growing up in your neighborhood. In fact, it forced me to watch these films entirely out of order and after finishing Fast 5 I went back and viewed the original entries knowing the impeccable evolution that would later unravel. I was not disappointed but I had much to compare to.

Furious 7 finds our quintessential heroes and heroines in a decidedly intriguing state of affairs. After a surprise attack/ambush and near-fatal blow to Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs which leaves him benched for the majority of the movie (unfortunately), we immediately realize the mastermind behind this sneaky, well-organized and very tactical assault is none other than Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw (brother of the new Gaston in "Beauty & the Beast's" Luke Evans who remains in critical condition from his last showdown with Toretto in Fast 6). Statham, imbuing his character with more than a hint of his Transporter role and his films with Guy Ritchie, is one of the most lethal assassins in the world and is at the top of the World's Most Wanted list. His mission --- retrieve Intel from Hobbs's headquarters about the hit on his brother and cultivate a counter-strike against Vin Diesel's Dominic Torretto to guarantee a body bag for each. His motivation is singular --- you take out one of mine and I'll take out all of yours -- in the most uncompromising and tormenting way possible. Shaw and Torretto have opposing views when it comes to family but they do share plenty in common which makes them perfect foils for each other.

Elsewhere, Michelle Rodriguez's Letty is experiencing a life crisis like no other - considered "dead" after her memory was wiped and her lasting and genuinely happy relationship with Torretto was all but eviscerated, she finds herself in a rut as to continue with him or to seek out her inner-self and find a way to regain the life she loved. She is lost, destitute even, and feels insincere when attempting to acknowledge all the memories they've built up when she's basically an empty vessel/blank slate. This arc update, in and of itself, creates a great dynamic and running through line in this latest film and lends itself to plenty of touching moments and insightful character developments. Rodriguez is well-known by now for portraying the brash, ass-kicking chick like no other with roles in Robert Rodriguez's "Machete" and James Cameron's wonderfully rendered sci-fi epic "Avatar" where she pilots a mech and exudes charisma in every scene she's in. She isn't just a sexbot but a woman with many a mission and the smarts and insights to get what she wants despite her male detractors. Torretto and Paul Walker's Brian O'Connor are seemingly the only two men who seem to believe in her with the latter acting as her stepbrother of sorts. The three-way scenes between them are potent and effective and also help to underscore the mass-scale action with many more layers of depth.

Amid all this seriousness and captivating drama, this film still keeps much of what the earliest entries did so well - humor. Two actors in particular standout - Ludacris's Tej and Tyrese Gibson's Roman. Ludacris, the resident techy of the crew, takes more than a few pointers from Simon Pegg's Bengi character in the new Mission Impossible films with his snarky one-liners, rambling technobabble, and uppity, if neurotic, personality. Ludacris is the latest in a line of rappers turned actors and he doesn't disappoint at all. The script never fails him and he neither takes away nor gives in too much for the proceedings to handle. Roman goes for more broad-comedy and the two play off one another like Penn & Teller or Laurel & Hardy only they substitute slapstick for run and gun machismo undercut by some winking misogyny. One standout scene involves Roman trying to back out of one of the more elaborate set pieces in the film - skydiving out of a plane with a car as a means of a stealth attack on Deckard's base of operations only to be roped into it when Tej ignites Roman's cars parachutes. It is frenetically paced and really captures the two and their frequently uneasy relationship.

Character wise - the one letdown here overall is Djimon Hounsou's Jakande who literally yells all his dialogue like an overcooked comic book villain. This is not the first time Hounsou has been underutilized/misused as his screen time in Michael Bay's fairly decent "The Island" is a difficult watch and instantly forgettable. Even last year's smash-hit "Guardians Of the Galaxy" couldn't make proper use of him. His intonations are largely the same throughout most of his films and he constantly hams it up even when the scene doesn't call for it. His best yet though remains the brutal "Blood Diamond" as he shares the scene with Mr. DiCaprio and that film alone on his filmography offers the best of his crop of performances. Conversely, Kurt Russell shows up in this film as a newly invented franchise character in the form of (literally) Mr. Nobody, a secret agent who aids Torretto and his crew in exchange for a high-value piece of tech that would be a real game changer for worldwide manhunts. As usual, he is charming and witty, but also deceptive. If Furious 8 is made, Diesel (now an exec producer) promises he will reprise his role and further add his gravitas to this already pumped up ensemble. Could you believe Russell started out as a very successful child actor? He sure as hell made a seamless transition and does some choice work here.

Before I end this review, it must be noted how tactfully the production crew handled Paul Walker's unfortunate demise. Instead of whacking off his character (like a lesser filmmaker might've done because it’s a lot easier in the post-production process), Wan exhausted a lot of FX resources to reproduce Walker's unfilmed scenes using his brothers' as body doubles. He used none other than Peter Jackson's WETA Workshop who supplied the digital ability for them to be able to render a lifelike, digitized version of Walker's head on his brothers body. Walker himself, before his death, shot more than 50% of the film and the end sequence in particular of Torretto and O'Connor riding off into the sunset is particularly noticeable for Walker. Interestingly, the same groundbreaking performance capture technology used by Andy Serkis to bring Lord of the Rings’ Gollum to life was used on Walker and the results are extraordinary. This technique could usher in yet another new age for film where an actor's likeness could be downloaded and preserved to be used over and over long after they've passed on. Sure, there are many ethical reasons why this would be terrible, but the possibilities are definitely there. Hell, a movie was even made about this exact subject: The Congress with Robin Wright and Harvey Keitel. Check that out!

All in all, F7 delivers on all fronts and whether you are a deep fan of the series or just want to immerse yourself in the showmanship and deft spectacle of it all, this is the film for you and it'll certainly get you jazzed for the upcoming slate of Summer offerings.


Source
The crew suits up for a Middle East-set tech heist. Easily a series best.
The crew suits up for a Middle East-set tech heist. Easily a series best. | Source

"See You Again" - Wiz Khalifa - Music Video Tribute For Paul Walker

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)