“One last ride” – Paul Walker 1973 – 2013
When we mentioned Furious 7 as one of our most anticipated movies of 2015, we knew it was going to be amazing, but truly, we had no idea what we had coming. Furious 7 is thick with gratuitous badassedness, pardon the language. The stunts are so unbelievable, it is hard pressed to believe anyone will watch this movie sitting still and pretty….nah, that’s not possible. One thing you have to know before stepping in to watch Furious 7 is this, dump your brain outside the doors and step in to watch the most mindless action packed 2 hours of the year so far. The cars are badder, the bones are stronger, and sometimes the action is outrightly exhausting and tiresome. They do not hold back on anything. You will do yourself no favours asking questions like “how” or “why”. It is best to just chew on your popcorn, drink your soda, watch and just marvel. The actions scenes are an achievement in well-choreographed stuntmanship and effects. When I discovered that Paul Walker didn’t act any of the action scenes before his painful demise, I couldn’t help but be intrigued every time I saw a stunning resemblance of Paul in the CGI version, helped brought to life by his brothers.
James Wan takes over from Fast & Furious veteran Justin Lin who directed 4 of the previous 6 movies in the series and evolved the franchise into what we have and love today. While this is James Wan’s first big budget gig and a huge step away from his comfort zone being the horror genre, I must say he really did a great job delivering a box office titan which has already raked in over 800 million dollars from the global box office in 2 weeks. Furious 7 picks up after the events of Tokyo Drift, the unfortunate black sheep of the Fast and Furious franchise. Han, the cool Asian dude always eating nuts is dead thanks to Deckard Shaw, played by the big bad wolf, Jason Statham who now has the official best introduction of a Villian in a movie. Deckard steps in to defend his little brother, Owen Shaw, the villain of Fast & Furious 6, swearing revenge on Dominic Turetto and his family, who mostly seem to be settling nicely into domestic life, except Brian who has a cute case of nostalgia for gunshots and bullets.
There are multiple plot turns, used mostly to give credence to the peak action sequences and justify some physically impossible accomplishments, but it all adds to the intensity and adrenaline pushing movements the franchise has built its successful reputation on. Frankly, the movie could have turned out finer without the complications. But then, we aren’t complaining. We accept what it has evolved into and if you don’t, well, 50 Shades of Grey is probably still showing in some cinema next door.
Deckard Shaw wants to kill Dominic and makes no qualms about it, but Dominic and his crew have been roped into assisting an obscure government agency to secure a hacking tool which raises fashionable but nonetheless extremely serious questions about privacy. In return, they get to use the machine aptly termed, God’s eye to find Deckard and finish him off. So Dominic and his happily retired family pull out their talents for “one last ride” and prevent any more deaths within their poster family.
In a franchise where we are assured of the protagonists victory against the big bad guys and can see them easily adapting to regular crime free, rule abiding existences where lives and properties are mostly safe, it becomes easy to fixate on their textbook emotional challenges. The scenes where the characters reaffirm their loyalty to strangers is overdone and only believable because the characters show a comfort with themselves spawned from filming the franchise over the years. Its cheesy because they show no signs of having evolved past their established labels from the previous movies. Dominic is the Alpha with the soft core, Roman is the joker, Tej is the tech guy, and Mia is the cat member who makes them relatable to everyone else. The real wonder here is how the cast manages to outrun bullets and sustain all the brutal punches to their bodies, yet somehow find themselves just as vulnerable as everyone else, perhaps more so.
There are two exceptions; Brian who has gone from pretty boy to doting father and husband and hot tomboy Letty who more than anyone does the best job of convincing the audience of her characters motivations. Whether she’s getting cobbled by Ronda Rousey, or leaving and then coming back to Dominic, Michelle Rodrigues never lets go of the fighting spirit that embodies Letty. She is the one most visibly fighting for the love and family they all treasure so much.
All in all the movie is an epic scale soap opera for adrenaline junkies. Everything about it is bloated without scratching the surface past cheap viewing pleasure. It will sell well because it fits very nicely into the big budget, explosion filled, quotable cheese fest that we have become so accustomed to, but we must not forget at the end to observe a moment for the life lost. Furious 7 pays homage to Paul Walker in the best way possible and you cannot but leave the theatres forgiving the movie for all the unbelievables.
From us at Sodas & Popcorn HQ, Furious 7 earns a Popcorn and Soda, but like we said, its for the adrenaline junkies.