Overall Grade: (A)
With a classy closing tribute to Paul Walker, this film is filled with all the high-octane insanity and stunt-work you could imagine while still holding the family tone prevalent amid the loud chaos, musical intro’s, and slow-motions gazes that make its absurdity that much more entertaining.
After seeing his brother in a coma, mercenary Deckard Shaw (Statham) will seek revenge against Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and his family. Dom and his crew will have to track down a hacker who has a powerful piece of technology that can find anyone, anywhere in the world. Once they find this hacker they use the device to track down Shaw and kill him before anyone else from Dom’s family is lost.
The summer blockbuster season is just beginning and (for me) there could be no better film to kick it off with. From a franchise that seems perfectly suited for the ‘popcorn movie’ months “Furious 7” delivers all the fun, massively scoped action and excessive chaos that you could expect from two movies. The cast returns in what will be the last film for the late Paul Walker and as posthumous film appearances go, this was by far the most over-the-top and outrageously memorable send offs an actor could close with.
The story-line is absurd and for the most part makes no logical sense throughout, but if you haven’t learned by now to expect the monumental amounts of ridiculousness from this film franchise then you must have been in a coma for the last ten-years. Entering its seventh entry in the series, the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise have done just about all you could think of as far as what a car can do in a stunt-sequence, yet as another film hits cinemas you can only sit back and enjoy the catastrophe and high-adrenaline action that only surpasses its predecessor.
Yes the dialogue is what you could expect but regardless of its cheese-factor there are is enough bulk of a story-line to serve as a buffet for repeated eye-popping sequences with cars taking out helicopters, dropping from planes, launching out of massive skyscrapers and oh yeah, they still manage to add some great chase-sequences as well. This was something that was nice to see re-implemented in a franchise that seemed to forget where it started in the more recent films.
Usually by this time in a franchise, entering its seventh installment, you could expect to feel the monotonous repetition of a possible stalling out. The “Fast and Furious” series only seems to be growing from each film and not only continuing to try and find creative ways to enthrall crowds with edge of your seat adventure, but manages to outdo itself with each new title. I am sure this film was much more hyped by the passing of Paul Walker last year and rightfully so, but even if he were still around this would have been a hugely popular movie among a massive target demographic and still held its solid blockbuster factor.
The family moniker this film carries is enhanced with all the cast returning, as well as cameos from some of the fallen characters from the last film. The Dom/Lety triangle continues to evolve and even delivers a nice little Easter-egg during the perfect weekend for it as we learn more about what actually happened in the events of the past couple films between them. Paul Walkers role of family man is expanded and helps create a very respectful and fitting way to send his character off into the sunset with class and a homage to what he has done for this franchise.
Jason Statham was a solid villain for this film but other than his fight scenes and routinely popping up conveniently all over the world, he still felt forgotten in the extremely busy script that pulls you from Los Angeles, to Tokyo to the Dominican Republic and Abu Dhabi. With Luke Evans from the last film getting more layers to his characters, despite the lack of physical prowess, was still the more entertaining villain simple from the conception of his character in the script.
Djimon Hounsou was literally useless to the story-line and his addition only cluttered the already busy casting line-up. Kurt Russell was great and with his few moments in the film he was able to fit in with the younger characters with ease and effortlessly delivered his suave and intimidating ‘Russell-ness’ to the point I would have liked to have seen more of him.
Statham’s scenes with Diesel & Johnson were as visceral and rage filled as you could hope and Statham continues to show why he is the best in Hollywood regardless of being smaller then the men he is sized up against. Walker also had some very good scenes with Tony Jaa and the two showed great chemistry and worked to make some very impactful fight scenes that were good enough to say they slightly bettered those of Statham/Johnson/Diesel.
While there were some good moments of hand-to-hand combat with some nice shots, the overall cinematography had its issues. The camerawork tried to pull the most out of the choreography putting you the viewer in the right spots at the right time without over-editing. But the tumble technique was highly over used. The camera spinning with the actors and even rolling to pull you into the action was over done. It was clearly noticeable in the Tony Jaa scenes where at times it was as if the camera couldn’t keep up with the speed of Jaa while still trying to stick to the predetermined techniques.
This film definitely didn’t let just the guys have fun either. Michelle Rodriguez and Rhonda Rousey delivered a great fight scene as well. Both dressed in fine attire tearing room up they showed everyone that females can make up an excellent fight scene as well much like the Rodriguez/Carano subway fight from the prior film.
Overall this one had a little bit of everything. From start-to-finish this film never stops or even (pardon the pun) tries to pull its foot off the gas. People will always laugh at movies like these but just as a Holiday biopic tailored for an Oscar nod, films like this have their place in cinema as well and the massive amounts of money they generate help fund many of those future projects.
There is no doubt the film is dumb in concept, from the multiple Statham/Diesel car collisions, Diesel picking up the front end of a car so Walker’s character could look under it, there are more absurd moments then I would care to mention. Yes this movie was ridiculous, it was even more ridiculous then I hoped it would be. But for what it is “Furious 7” delivers everything you could anticipate and among the bonanza of insane stunts this film held true to itself while still providing a memorable adventure to honor their late friend with.