REVIEW — “Furious 7”
“Furious 7” is a terrible movie with enough fluff and action to make you forgive its weak characters, story, writing, shaky camera, and dialogue. From start until finish we are visually assaulted with wild, crazy and over-the-top stunts and car play, and it’s this relentless eye assault that keeps you distracted from the glaring plot problems, but is that a bad thing? Sometimes you just want a ridiculous movie to watch and enjoy without having to worry about things like physics and death. Head on collision with no air bags at 80 MPH? Brush your shoulders off and keep fighting!!!
The larger than life characters, and their dynamic with one another, is probably the strongest thing about this franchise. Throughout the last few films they’ve done a great job establishing our cast as a family, and you really feel that way with how they harass each other on screen (and when you watch behind-the-scenes footage). Granted, some of the characters (Tyrese Gibson’s Roman) are really annoying, and only offer comedic relief (not a bad thing I suppose), but then you have some truly bad-ass characters like Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel. They really amped up the action and machismo this time around as the character spew hard ass mofo one-liners during just about every fight, and those really set the tone for the absurd fight scenes we are witnessing. You really could believe that these monstrous characters could take the beating, but at some points it really REALLY crosses that line of possibility. They did a great job letting Michelle Rodriguez have a time or two to shine. Her fight scene with Rhonda Rousey was both brutal and sexy, but not so much as to glorify the women as just two pieces of meat.
I could sit here and just trash almost everything in this movie outside of the action sequences, as nothing really works. The story is weak, the character development is poor, some of the editing was choppy, some of the camera work during the action scenes made the hand-to-hand scenes difficult to follow, but none of that truly matters when you get down to the core of this. This is meant to be a mindless action flick about family protecting their own, and they succeed at that. The villainous characters, while underutilized/under-developed in most instances (Rousey, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou), also get a moment or two to shine. Although, Djimon really, and unfortunately, wasn’t given much to do as a baddie, which is surprising considering he is such a physical actor, and could kick a lot of ass. We are clearly given Jason Statham’s motivations, but there are dozens of times that he could have accomplished his mission (killed the good guys), but just didn’t for sake of the plot. Same goes the other way (Diesel had a chance to end him several times before the finale).
Despite the fact that just about every action sequence in a city setting would really cause the deaths of countless innocent bystanders, everything was really stylized and impressive to watch. One of our first sequences is the one from the trailer, with everyone parachuting their cars out of a plane, and it was shot in such a way that I actually got that sinking feeling you get when falling (vertigo?). I have to give director James Wan credit for how he shot a lot of scenes. There’s another scene towards the end of the movie with Tony Jaa doing some bad-ass kicking move, and the camera turns as he is scaling a wall, and delivers an amazing effect.
Basically, if you enjoyed “Fast Five” and “Furious 6” then you’re going to love this. Not only does it continue the story, and give us more of what you love from these characters we’ve grown to know, but there’s a really classy and touching send off for Paul Walker, and his character. The imagery they used for him in the end, and the song and dialogue, was very heartfelt, and it left a lasting impression on the audience. It’s really great that they gave his brothers the honor of standing in for him, and, with exception to the last scene, it’s hard to even tell it isn’t actually him. I’m so glad this was his final film instead of “Brick Mansions.” Despite the weak writing/plot points/dialogue, and misuse of amazing characters/cast members, “Furious 7” is all you’d expect, and more. It takes ridiculous and over-the-top to the next level, but left many mentally drained by the end due to the visual assault on our eyes (a la “Transformers: Age of Extinction”). If I were grading this as a normal movie it would be 2/5 at best, but as a just-for-fun action flick it’s definitely 4/5.