It’s hard to believe that The Fast and the Furious came out in 2001. It’s even harder to believe that these films are still being made 14 years later. Yet here we are with the newest in the franchise. Furious 7 had a lot of hype surrounding it, as all films in the series do. But this one had a much greater level of hype for an outside reason that by now everyone is aware of. Disregarding for a moment what this film represents for the series, we have to wonder if this film is worth seeing.
Furious 7 follows the events of Fast & Furious 6. About a day before the end of that film, a new threat appears from nowhere: Deckard Shaw, the older brother of the previous movie’s antagonist. Shaw is determined to get revenge on the crew that helped kill his brother by hunting them down one by one. In the wake of Hobbs’ hospitalization and Han’s death, the gang are reassembled by a fellow agent to Hobbs, Frank Petty (aka Mr. Nobody). Petty asks the crew to find a device called “God’s Eye” and a hacker named Ramsey. In exchange he will let them use “God’s Eye” to locate Shaw and set things right.
Any Fast and Furious fan will immediately get behind this kind of plot, and know for the most part what to expect.
The key to what makes a Fast and Furious movie compelling from a writing standpoint is it’s ability to take what is in essence over-the-top action and racing sequences seem grounded and serious. In the beginning of the franchise, the films were more on the comedic side, but now they lean more toward action and drama. It may not seem like something to be taken seriously, but when you disassociate realism from the equation and take some of the action with a grain of salt, you begin to buy into it. This is true of each of the films, and that hasn’t changed here.
Furious 7 houses the same tone and feel as described above. 40% action, 40% story and 20% comedy (relatively). Luckily this film continues the recent trend of the movies getting better and better each time. It is almost like the previous movie was setting the stage for what this film is, and that’s a wonderful thing to say about any sequel. The story is a bit better and the dialogue is a bit wittier. The writing from screenplay, to dialogue, to story are modern action film gold.
Of course, to view this film’s story and say it’s stupid and nonsensical means you’ve entirely missed the point. If you’re heading into this movie, take certain parts with a grain of salt and just enjoy what’s on screen. You, too, will see that this is pretty awesome if you’re in the right state of mind.
Then of course there are the famous action sequences. This film will not disappoint you if you’re watching this solely to see cars going at top speeds and wrecking whatever the hell is in the way until it explodes or gets turned to shreds. Something that I’ve always admired about these movies is that they actually do most of the stunts. Little to none of the stunts required CGI, which makes the scenes that much more impactful and that much more engaging. But when they need to use effects for explosions or what have you, they look great as well. Additionally, the combat sequences are incredibly well-done.
The best action scene definitely goes to the airdrop scene. Even though we’ve seen this in trailers, they saved some of the great bits for the actual movie, and that’s awesome.
The acting is also top-notch action goodness all around. Everyone makes a good showing in this movie, especially considering most everyone in the main cast are mainstays from the past films. So it goes without saying that Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, and so on are excellent.
The new faces do great, too. There’s Jason Statham as Shaw, who succeeds in being very menacing and showing off his martial arts skills. He’s definetely an intimidating villain. Kurt Russell plays Petty and is an excellent new addition to the gang. Toward the third act you see he’s actually pretty badass. Natalie Emmanuel plays Ramsey and plays a very important role in the film. She sells those scenes when she has to prove her hacking prowess and has a good sense of charm that allows her to bounce off the others.
Now for the elephant in the room. As you must by now be aware, this is the last film appearance of series staple Paul Walker, who tragically died on November 2013 in (of all things) a car accident. As with the other mainstays, Walker does a great job as Brian for all the scenes that he’s there. Thankfully there was enough footage of him to grant him ample screen time. On a similar note, they did have to fill in some spaces with body doubles and CG representations of him. While that is initially concerning, it’s barely noticeable when it happens with the exception of one scene. At least to me it wasn’t.
While we’re on that topic, Walker’s character farewell was done beautifully. I won’t dare spoil how this was handled, but it was most certainly a moving send off to one of the series’ most beloved characters. The filmmakers certainly gave Walker his most earned respect. I remember the scene gave me goosebumps while it made my sister cry and my mother tear up.
Overall, the acting succeeds in being entertaining and convincing.
As for production values, they are also very good. I already touched upon the CG and special effects that are great.
The music consists mainly of hip hop tracks along with some songs of Spanish and Middle Eastern influence. The main score for the film is incredibly emotional and heart-pounding. Usually the two contrast from each other, but here they are mixed, giving the film a sense of consistency.
Of course camerawork is high-quality, though shaky cam is used in conjunction with fast editing to lessen the effect of mainly hand-to-hand combat scenes.
Basically everything that makes a high budget film what it is is presented here.
Furious 7 is a fun and emotional ride through and through. It surpasses the previous films in terms of… well everything really. If I had even one complaint with the film, it’s that the comedy felt slightly absent here, but not to the extent that Fast & Furious 6 seemed to lack it. Make no mistake that this movie will make you laugh, however.
I would recommend the movie mostly to fans of Fast & Furious films. If you are a fan, I see no reason why you won’t watch this movie and enjoy it. To fans of only one of the films, I think you’ll be in decently safe hands here, but you may to a certain degree not have that emotional response to the final scene of the movie. It helps to have seen Fast & Furious 6, but I don’t think it’s entirely necessary to enjoy this film. To complete outsiders, again, you could be safe to watch this, but I highly advise not starting with this film. Perhaps start with Fast Five and continue from there.
That’s my take on the film, but what do you guys make of it? Let me know in the comments section below, and we can discuss this film together.
I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!