Furious 7 Review

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The Fast & Furious franchise is one of the rarest anomalies in Hollywood: A franchise that gets better with each installment. It’s crazy to think that this all started 14 years ago as a movie about an undercover cop infiltrating the world of illegal Los Angeles street racing. Yet with a new director and the untimely death of Paul Walker, Furious 7 seemingly has the entire deck stacked against it. Does Furious 7 falter with its insurmountable odds or does it rise to the challenge and deliver a worthy chapter in this long-standing franchise?

Just when you think Furious 7 wouldn’t get crazier than Fast & Furious 6, think again. Furious 7 is a non-stop, over-the-top action spectacular that also has a lot of heart beneath all the explosions and car chases. It’s the perfect swan song for the late Paul Walker.

Furious 7 continues with the fallout of their actions in Fast & Furious 6. Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is out for revenge against the crew that took out his brother, Owen Shaw. After Shaw murders one of Dominic Toretto’s crew members, Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and the rest of the crew seek revenge on Deckard and must take him out before he kills anyone else close to them.

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While there were many ways that Furious 7 could’ve gone wrong, the film ultimately (and thankfully) comes out in one piece. A lot of this has to do with the direction of James Wan, who took over from longtime director Justin Lin. Some thought that James Wan would be a bad replacement for Justin Lin since he’s primarily known for his low-budget horror franchises. However, Wan ably steps up big time considering the dire circumstances surrounding the film and he doesn’t miss a beat at all. The action set pieces are bigger, more audacious and more physics defying than any of the previous installments. It seems like his extremely limited experience directing big budget action films didn’t scare (no pun intended) him at all.

Unfortunately, Chris Morgan’s script isn’t as strong as his previous ones since Furious 7 is filled with cheesy one-liners and a non-coherent plot. While it’s uncertain whether or not this is due to the last-minute rewrites because of Paul Walker’s death, it’s still not Morgan’s strongest entry in the Fast & Furious franchise. There are several instances in the film where nothing makes sense and that’s saying a lot coming from a franchise that thrives on the unbelievable. It will definitely test your limits as to how much you have to suspend your disbelief.

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Jason Statham’s talents are sadly wasted here, as his character doesn’t really develop over the course of the film. Morgan, for some reason, tries to make the story complex by adding another villain (Djimon Honsou) into the fold. It doesn’t quite go Spider-Man 3 but it does make Statham’s character seemingly irrelevant. It’s sad considering the dynamic between both Toretto and Shaw are so compelling since both men share the same ideals: Never mess with family. Fortunately, Statham has such a commanding on-screen presence that the few scenes that he is in, you know things are about to go down.

As you might expect, the cast has fully embodied the roles that they’ve played for several years now. Vin Diesel is the undisputed leader of the cast, Tyrese Gibson emits his fun-loving personality, Michelle Rodriguez throws down as usual, Ludacris is his witty self and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is his usual charismatic badass self.

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Yet it’s Paul Walker that, rightfully, shines the brightest in this film. Yes, it’ll feel a bit weird watching a movie that’s this entertaining yet sad at the same time. In many ways, it feels like a series’ farewell. It would’ve been easy to just ease up on the outrageous car chases and crashes, but it wouldn’t have felt right. The filmmakers’ decision to keep the risky car stunts and over-the-top car chases gave the film a more fitting and moving send-off. They also did a masterful job using the situation to bring some weight to the film and use it to bring the audience on this emotional farewell ride. Furious 7 ultimately is a celebration and a farewell film for the late actor.

Despite the cheesy script, the series’ core fans will love the film and even new fans will appreciate the love that went into the film to pay tribute to one of their own. Furious 7 is a perfect popcorn film and definitely a film that was worth the wait. Paul Walker would be proud.

Rating: 4/5 atoms
NR 4 Atoms - B

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