When I started contributing to MP, I thought about what type of content provider I wanted to be. At the time, I decided I didn't want to post Breaking News or Movie Reviews. The reason for that, is that this site already has so many great providers who do that very well.
After seeing Furious 7, I decided to make an exception. Going into the movie, I had heard mixed reviews, including one from Most Craved You Tube channel. The indication from this review was that both the addition of James Wan (replacing Justin Lin) and the "fill in" scenes using Paul Walker's brothers detracted from the movie. Going into the movie, these were questions I wanted answered.
I wanted to provide my perspective after seeing this movie. I had previously seen all the other movies in the FF series, and definitely feel vested in this franchise. I found myself on the edge of my seat from the opening scene, not due to suspense, but in scrutiny to see if I noticed the scenes where Paul Walker's brothers were filling in for him, as well as the filming techniques (long panning shots) that James Wan used in this movie detracted from it. Also, I wanted to see how they infused all the new actors they brought into the franchise (Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey and Kurt Russell) was handled..... would it be overkill?
Here are the highlights of the film:
1. The fill in scene's with Paul Walker's brothers are unnoticeable.
There might have been one scene in a group shot in Dubai and the shots at the end of the film which were one of Paul's brothers, but other than that, nothing stood out as definitely a fill in. I think considering the circumstances, the way the film handled this was done appropriately. There is a nice "good bye" discussion to his character, between the characters while Brian is playing on the shore with Mia and his son Jack, followed by a really artistic goodbye solo scene between Brian and Dom, which kept with the consistency of the franchise, and was capped off by a montage showing the journey of Paul's character in all the films. This was handled with class and sincerity. It was truly heart warming and felt like it gave the audiences a great sense of closure.
2. James Wan did a decent job.
There was a few shots during fight scenes where they had a close up shot which I wasn't too keen on, but I thought the long sweeping pull back shots during racing scenes and at the end of the movie were very artistic. As a viewer, I could tell something was a bit different in the feel of the movie, but it was only noticeable if you are looking for it. There are some pros and cons to his style, but overall he did a really good job.
3. The fight scenes were amazing.
We got a few really good fight scenes this movie.
Rock vs. Jason Statham
Paul Walker vs. Tony Jaa
Michelle Rodriguez vs. Ronda Rousey
Vin Disel vs Jason Statham
All the fight scenes were amazing. More than the car chases, this was by far the best part of the movie.
4. You really have to suspend your disbelief with the action/car scenes this time around.
Pretty much anytime you are watching a FF movie, there are a few things were your like "OK, that just wouldn't happen", but in order to fully enjoy your experience you need to just overlook those things and enjoy the movie for what it is. In this scene, I have to admit they took it a little far.... a car flying between buildings, in the words of Timmy from South Park.... "it's like, come on"
5. The on screen goodbye to Paul Walker was done completely tastefully.
I gave a brief synopsis above about this, but the last shot of the movie (before the montage) was done really artistically. Dom and Brian are racing, there is a long panning shot from far away, and they reach a fork in the road. Dom goes right and Brian goes left. The camera follows his car as it rides off into the sunset. This gave it a feel of an old western where the cowboy is riding off into the sunset. Honestly, the artistry of this is probably lost on most of the viewers, but this may have been the favorite part of the movie for me. It did the franchise and Paul Walker's role in it justice.
With Avengers: Age of Ultron coming out later this month, FF7 certainly can not grab the title of best action movie of the year, but it will probably be a close second. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.