Furious 7 (2015)
A Review by: Jeff Turner
Dir: James Wan
Written by: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Produced by: Universal Pictures, China Film Co., Dentsu.
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, Dijmon Hounsou, Ronda Rousey, Tony Jaa, Kurt Russell, Jordana Brewster, Lucas Black.
I didn’t really think twice about THE FAST & THE FURIOUS franchise growing up, it wasn’t until I saw FAST FIVE that I even really acknowledged the series. From what I understand FAST FIVE began a trend in the series in which they began being more bombastic and more gleefully idiotic. The series got more self-aware, and with FURIOUS 7 they take the absurdity even higher.
Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham, a lot of fun, I miss him) is out for blood after his brother was crippled in the last movie. The hospitalization of Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) causes Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) to declare war on Shaw. This results in a lot of glorious carnage and absurd, almost cartoon-ish stunts.
The next question with FURIOUS 7 is; ok, its cool that the stunts are over the top, but do they go too far? No, they don’t. The reason the stunts and action scenes in FURIOUS 7 work is because the cast accomplishes two things: one, they look like they’re all having a lot of fun, as such we have fun with them; two, the scenes are played straight. FURIOUS 7 walks a narrow tightrope, the film could be butchered in the wrong hands, it is technically a cartoon, but it is directed like a serious action thriller. As such it is equally enthralling and joyous.
The next big bullet point is the Paul Walker homage; which most of you have probably seen by now, and I really enjoyed it too. It was genuine without seeming amateurish, it was moving without being saccharine; and it made me tear up at a few moments. I was never a big fan of this series, or a real big fan of Paul Walker (lets be honest, you would never hear something said about Walker that you would hear about say, Leonardo Dicaprio) but the organic way he’s weaved into the movie and the feeling of love that the scene conveys it really does work.
What else can there be said about the movie? By the 7th installment of a series, one should know what they’re in for. FURIOUS 7 is the best example of the kind of movie its trying to be, and it's a dying breed of American action movie. I miss action films from 10 to 20 years ago that would play the drama up to a tee and the actors would play through the material with a straight face. That’s the movie FURIOUS 7 is, and I love it for that.
The Rock steals the show; although his role is reduced compared to the fifth one. It really doesn’t seem as though there’s much more the writers can do with that character. However he does get an awesome moment where he fixes his broken arm just by flexing, which the glorious stupidity of that is worth the ticket price alone. Jason Statham is a welcome presence, bringing a serious sense of menace into a villain of a series where the villains of the previous six installments had all been interchange-able, forgettable drug lords. Kurt Russell’s in it too, as a CIA agent; with the filmmakers portraying the CIA as inaccurately as possible. This is, of course, part of the fun of the film, and the fact that FURIOUS 7 wears its dumb on its shoulder is admirable.
Suggestion: See it