Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for the death of his brother.
“Furious 7″ is the biggest and baddest entry in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise to date. I never really got into the first four movies although the fourth entry, simply titled “Fast & Furious,” gave the weakening series a much-needed boost in the arm but for me, “Fast Five” was the film that completely changed my opinion on the series as a whole. The action set-pieces were so over the top that they were enjoyable and along with some absolutely amazing stuntwork and the fact that there was a great synergy between the cast, the movies undeniably began to get better and better, something very unusual for a film franchise. Usually when you’ve reached “Friday the 13th: Part 4″ or “A Nightmare on Elm Street: Part 5,” the films have evolved into parody and are just plain laughable but then the producers had the audacity to make “Furious 6″ which blew part 5 out of the water and as the series progresses, it is quite apparent that the filmmakers literally outdo their previous entry and take it up another notch. This is no easy feat because at the end of each entry, you’re left wondering how they could possibly top the film you’ve just watched but they always manage to outdo themselves.
“Furious 7″ takes place shortly after the events of “Furious 6″ in which our heroes took down Owen Shaw and his team of mercenaries. Having been given pardons from the U.S. government for their past sins and because they helped bring down Shaw, Dominic (Vin Diesel) along with his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and her husband Brian (Paul Walker), are now living back in Los Angeles. Trying to live a normal family life, each of the characters are having trouble adjusting but when they find out that their old friend Han (Sung Kang) was killed in Tokyo, their past begins to catch up with them when they realize than Owen Shaw’s older brother Deckard (Jason Statham), is on the warpath and has set out to kill each and every one of them. Along the way, Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), a secretive government agent, recruits Dom and his crew to help rescue a hacker who goes by the name of Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), from a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde (Djimon Hounsou). Apparently, Ramsey has created a computer terrorism program called ‘God’s Eye,’ a hacking device that can turn any technological device into a weapon, from traffic cameras to cell phones and everything else in between.
Mr. Nobody informs Dom that if they successfully capture Ramsey and her hacking device, taking it out of the hands of terrorists, they can use the apparatus to track down and kill Deckard Shaw. And so it begins. One of the wildest and most insane stunts in “Furious 7″ involves a transporter plane and five cars, rigged with parachutes and what’s more, the stunt was real, no CGI here. The audience I saw the movie with literally cheered during this scene and the rest of the movie, especially one scene which takes place in Abu Dhabi, is so over-the-top unbelievable, you literally have to switch off the tenable part of your brain and just sit back and enjoy. This is what a summer movie is all about: loud and filled to the brim with unrealistic action and outrageous fight choreography. Of course, this is also the last film of the late Paul Walker, one of the central characters in the series who died tragically in a car accident on November 30, 2013. Watching the movie was very surreal for me and I’m sure for everyone else. The filmmakers ended up using Mr. Walker’s two brothers, Caleb and Cody, who looked very similar to him in height and overall looks, to finish scenes that were incomplete due to Mr. Walker’s passing. In one scene in particular, it was very noticeable as there were no close-ups of Mr. Walker whatsoever.
Naturally, this aspect has overshadowed the film ever since and I know a lot of people will go to see it because of this faucet but let’s not forget that ultimately, this is a movie and we go to the movies to enjoy ourselves and to escape from the mundane and to be transported into another world altogether. Jason Statham is known for playing the hero and sometimes, the anti-hero but here, he goes full-on bad guy mode and does so with relish. He gives Dwayne Johnson a run for his money and the final fight between him and Mr. Diesel is a nail-biter. Like the rest of the film, totally unrealistic but fun nonetheless. Justin Lin directed four of the “Fast and Furious” movies, starting with “Tokyo Drift” and culminating with “Furious 6″ but dropped out of “Furious 7″ as the studio wanted to start production on this film right after part 6. Mr. Lin declined, stating that he would still be in post-production duties on part 6 while beginning part 7 so James Wan, the director of “Saw,” “Insidious” and “The Conjuring” signed up and as a director who comes from a background in smaller-budget horror films with a reliance on character progression and story development, for his first major action movie, he knocks it out of the ballpark.
Both Ronda Rousey, the current UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion and Thai martial artist Tony Jaa, appear in the film but are sadly underused. With so many characters interspersed throughout the movie, it’s almost impossible to give these supporting characters enough screen time to develop their characters thoroughly but getting to watch both of these professional fighters in their element, is pure joy. Because of Mr. Walker’s untimely passing, certain elements of the story were changed so that by the end of the movie, he is safely with his family, letting the audience know that although Mr. Walker is sadly no longer with us, at least on film, his character, Brian O’Conner, is happily retired. With talk of the next chapter taking place in New York City, like so many others, I’ll be curious to see just how they will top the events and stunts in this chapter. Clearly, “Furious 7″ will be another big hit for Universal, prompting both the studio and the filmmakers to move swiftly forward with part 8 but until that time comes, enjoy what’s on display here and when the film ends, allow yourself to take a deep breath because it won’t be too long before “Furious 8″ arrives, undoubtedly, wanting to take our breaths away, yet again.
In theaters April 3rd
For more info about James visit his site at www.IrishFilmCritic.com