After defeating Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his gang, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), and the rest of the crew are able to return to the United States of America and live normal lives again as they had wanted. However, Owen's older brother, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), is after Dom and his crew, seeking revenge for his brother's death and putting the entire crew in danger once more. After learning of the death of Han Seoul-oh (Sung Kang) in Tokyo, the crew sets out to find the man who killed one of their own, before he finds them first.
The first Fast and the Furious film was nothing special, but it was a perfectly serviceable action film with a decent story and strong characterization. 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift weren't terrible, but they're not very good either. The fourth film reunited the original cast, and while I know many people hated that one, I personally enjoyed it. The fifth and sixth films were a lot of fun and even managed to get critical praise.
On November 30, 2013, tragedy struck. Paul Walker, who played Brian O'Conner, passed away, with over half of his scenes for this film completed. Universal decided to delay the film's production for script re-writes. When production officially continued last April, they used Paul's younger brothers Caleb and Cody as stand-ins to help complete Paul's scenes, along with the magic of CGI. I saw Furious 7 in theaters last week and I had a blast.
Now, I'll get to the stuff that bugged me before I get to the stuff that I enjoyed. The plot is rather convoluted. I know that it might seem silly for me to complain about plot when it comes to these movies, seeing as no one watches these films for plot and character development, but it really is quite jumbled. However, I can't blame the filmmakers for this, seeing as they were dealing with the tragic death of Walker and most likely had a hard time filming because of this. In a way, it's unavoidable. I can't, in good conscience, bash them for this, as that would be in appallingly bad taste.
Second of all, Dwayne Johnson's role as Luke Hobbs is significantly smaller than in the previous two. He has a fight scene with Deckard Shaw, he gets injured and sent to the hospital, he tells Dom about Shaw when he visits, he helps the crew during the final action sequence, and that's about it, really. This film really could've benefited from more of Hobbs, as Johnson was one of the reasons why a lot of people really enjoyed Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6, myself included.
Okay, now we can get to the good stuff. Like the other movies, the action sequences in this film are spectacularly entertaining and very fun to sit through. While I do prefer Justin Lin's direction, James Wan does a really good job with the direction of Furious 7. Wan has already proven himself to be an expert at crafting energetic, adrenaline-soaked action with Death Sentence, and he does it again with this film. Wan's lively, spirited direction is complemented by Stephen F. Windon and Marc Spicer's slick cinematography and Christian Wagner, Kirk Morri, Leigh Folsom Boyd, and Dylan Highsmith's razor-sharp editing.
Brian Tyler, after being replaced by Lucas Vidal for Fast & Furious 6, returns to compose the musical score, having scored Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, and Fast Five. Tyler is quickly becoming one of my favorite composers and this film has by far the best music in the entire series. Tyler combines electronic music tricks with stringed orchestra and brass to excellent effect. My favorite piece of music from the film is the twenty-eighth track, entitled Farewell. It's fantastic, along with the rest of the score.
The film is also well-acted. Vin Diesel does a good job as always as Dom, Paul Walker is great as Brian, Tyrese Gibson and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges are both solid as Roman and Tej, and Dwayne Johnson is awesome despite his limited screentime. The other cast members do fine, and it's great to see Kurt Russell still getting work. As Deckard Shaw, Jason Statham does a fantastic job, and is just as good if not better than Luke Evans as Owen Shaw from the previous film.
Speaking of Paul Walker, I found Furious 7 to be a very fitting and emotional send-off, not just for Walker but for his character as well. If you're a huge fan of this actor, chances are the ending will have you in tears. I thought it was the perfect ending. I've been a fan of Walker ever since I saw him in the first Fast and the Furious film. Also, regarding the CGI, there are a few instances where it's a bit obvious, but it was never awkward (for me, anyways).
Furious 7 is big, dumb, loud, and completely over-the-top, but it's quite possibly the most fun I've had at the movies so far this year, behind Kingsman: The Secret Service. The performances are solid, the action is fun to sit through and is well-shot, edited, and directed, and as a send-off to Paul Walker and his character, it couldn't have been more fitting. Furious 7 is pure awesome. If you see this in theaters, I guarantee that you will definitely have a truly great time.