After 14 years and six films, we arrive at this moment. “The Fast and the Furious” franchise has made it to number seven. I believe that it has lasted this long not only because of the stunts, but also because of the characters. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker have stuck with the series since the beginning.
As the films went on, it only strengthened their relationship both on and off screen. Their comradre made the news of Walker’s unfortunate demise all the harder to hear, knowing how close they were to each other. “Furious 7” may not be the best entry in the series, but it’s a heartfelt and touching send-off to Paul Walker.
In the last film, Dominic Toretto [Vin Diesel], Brian [Paul Walker] and crew [Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang and Dwayne Johnson] took down the criminal known as Owen Shaw [Luke Evans]. This invokes his highly lethal brother Deckard Shaw [Jason Statham] to declare revenge and take down the team one by one. Deckard’s acts of destruction set the team in motion to finish the job once and for all.
With this and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” I’m almost certain that the summer movie season has officially begun in April.
Nevertheless, the beginning of this year was a bit of a rough start and I’m ready to see fast cars do impossible things. “Fast and Furious 6” left us with a cliffhanger that promised big things on the horizon with Jason Statham.
The revenge plot that we all thought we were going to see is there, but there’s also a side-plot going on at the same time involving the team taking down a mercenary [Djimon Hounsou]. Essentially, both plots converge and, because of this, the sequence of events can become a little convoluted.
Despite that, “Furious 7” has some of the most ridiculous and over-the-top stunts in the entire series.
In the first act alone, you have cars parachuting out of a plane. What more can you say about that? Only that this film is a giant middle finger to physics of any kind. It gets crazier from there and I enjoyed every second of it.
It’s not enough that the action sequences are completely out of control. What separates a film like this from something by Michael Bay is the characters.
Tyrese Gibson at times feels like he stepped out of a Michael Bay film, but the other characters have shown development throughout each chapter in the franchise. Dom in “Furious 7” is not the same Dom from the first film, although the one thing about him that never changes is that he considers his team a family and it’s easy to see why.
Once again, Diesel and Walker work together as the best of friends. After Walker’s death during the middle of production, they brought in his brothers to use as doubles, then used CGI to finish the job. For what he had to work with, Director James Wan did a great job filling in his scenes without making it too distracting to the audience.
As for the rest of rest of the team, they do what they do best — crack jokes and drive fast. I know that I’m not the only one who was disappointed that Dwayne Johnson had a smaller role this time around. But don’t fret, you get seasoned action star Kurt Russell to fill in his spot. It was so nice to see Kurt return to the action genre with full force. If this film is any indication, then I can’t wait to see him show up again in “Fast and Furious 8.”
Since the last film, Jason Statham was being hyped up as the big bad for this installment. He’s not a very complex villain, but he gets the job done just fine. The big showdown between him and Diesel is well worth the wait.
All in all, “Furious 7” may not be the best sequel of the series, but it’s still loads of dumb fun and a good introduction to the 2015 summer movie season. As a tribute to the life of Paul Walker, the ending gives a respectable closure and a goodbye to his character that might leave you a little misty-eyed.
Matt Bilodeau can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org