(This film is beyond the realm of star ratings)
Review by Paul Preston
First and foremost you should know that “Furious 7” is a bunch of bullshit. Once you get beyond knowing that it’s just not a story of this Earth, you can have a fun time!
What are you talking about, Paul? Lemmee ‘splain.
The apparent mantra for “Fast & Furious” movies is to one up the previous film, to where now the movies are so outlandish, so heightened and so pulverizing they no longer resemble reality. Case in point an early scene in which Dwayne Johnson’s character Hobbs is involved in a fistfight that plummets him out a window, falling several stories onto a car top – this fall has killed many people in real life AND in the movies, most notably a young lady in the opening scene of “Lethal Weapon”. It does put Hobbs in the hospital, but he should be in a morgue.
There are hits to the jaw that would make me dead, pipe irons to the face and car crashes that would mangle your body in two different directions that characters shake off and keep fighting. Just know you’re watching a cartoon and you’ll be better off.
There are critics out there actually taking the time to belittle the film as unrealistic and hard to believe. Guys. You gotta let that go.
After the events of “Fast & Furious 6” put nemesis Owen Shaw in a coma, Owen’s brother Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew (Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris and Michelle Rodriguez). Along the way, in order to find Deckard and stop him, Toretto and crew (crews are huge in this movie) get embroiled in an attempt to stop a computer program known as God’s Eye from falling into terrorist hands.
What are you talking about, Paul? Aren’t these just stories of street racers?
Not any more. Remember the part about one-upping? Now there are government suits and international bad guys in the mix. But the film has taken its time in building up this scope over four movies so it doesn’t seem forced. There’s an “it’s come to this” feel about the story size that’s warranted.
You said it was fun, Paul?
OK, enough out of you. A little history. I actually never saw “The Fast and The Furious” that started all this out. But I saw “2Fast 2Furious” and didn’t like it. Then I saw “Tokyo Drift”, also didn’t like it, pretty hacky. Then came “Fast & Furious”, which reunited the original cast. Horrible. The worst in the bunch and a huge hit.
Right when it seemed like I’d never go to one of these again, along came “Fast Five”, with its much-needed energy from The Rock. After stumbling to find a foothold in action movies with misfires like “The Rundown” and “Walking Tall”, Dwayne Johnson was quite at home with Hobbs, kicking ass, taking names and dropping tough guy lines like a hammer. If you need your franchise improved (“G.I. Joe”, “Witch Mountain”, etc.), he’s become the go-to guy.
Plus, “Fast Five” brought in players from “2Fast 2Furious” and even a guy from “Tokyo Drift”, which should’ve played out as “the one they apologize for making” in the series, and the franchise is embracing it, TO THE POINT WHERE a main character not in any of the other films except “Tokyo Drift” shows up in “Furious 7” because it turns out that the actions in that film ARE SUPER-IMPORTANT!!! It’s a pretty amazing tie-in and impressive move to make “Tokyo Drift” relevant,
“Fast & Furious 6” kept up the large scale story, stunts and action table that “Fast Five” had set and somehow this string of movies I thought was disappointing was becoming…fun. Ridiculous? Oh, absolutely. But more enjoyable than ever before.
Here’s what’s fun about “Furious 7”. First of all, Jason Statham. I could say the same thing about him that I said about The Rock. He’s been flailing lately. In films like “The Transporter” and “The Italian Job”, he really came on the scene as quite a figure to be reckoned with, with his scowl and growl setting a menacing tone that no one else has. But I’ve been dying for him to be in a no-joke, massive HIT. He deserves it! And it seems “Furious 7” and it’s one billion worldwide gross and growing is his hit. And Statham isn’t doing a dopey kid’s comedy or anything, he’s doing what he does and it’s paying off. And not for nothing, but he has the best character entrance I may have ever seen.
Also fun – if you’re going to blow up the scope and go outrageous, then go all out with the action. And this film is ALL OUT. There are scenes in the middle of this film involving cars, CARS, parachuting into a mountain road and the drivers’ attempting to extract a kidnapped girl from a truck convoy that are the finale to any other movie, and this is just the middle. Then there are scenes in Dubai that are just beyond everything – preposterous, silly and downright jaw-dropping.
And “Furious 7” handles the death of Paul Walker with style. The finale is a full-on tear-jerker with the character and actor himself getting a heartfelt send-off, complete with clips to remind you that there’s a legacy with these films that Paul Walker could be proud of. Most actors don’t have their “Mission: Impossible” or “Pirates of the Caribbean”, but Paul Walker did. The only problem with these old clips is that they show Vin Diesel, reminding me that in early films he laughed, smiled and had fun. In “Furious 7” it really looks and sounds like he’s struggling to move and make noises.
And although his character is rather glib, it’s always good to have a Kurt Russell sighting, as he plays a high-up guv’ment guy who sends Dom after the God’s Eye. And Tyrese is your comic relief, always feeling like the slighted one in the crew, but his antics never amount to full-on slapstick, so they blend better with the group’s mission. Thanks mostly to Statham, there’s always a real sense of danger here, which often gets lost when there’s too much fun being had.
Lastly, this movie is just dripping confidence. No, that can be phrased better – this movie is strutting confidence, pounding you over the head with confidence. It’s a huge, sprawling, thick-necked adventure that somehow succeeds at the idea of doing something ‘cause you can and not judging whether you should.
ONE BILLION…and growing. We’ll get another one of these, right?
Directed by: James Wan
Release Date: April 3, 2015
Run Time: 137 Minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures