You will never be happier to see a film end. Thats only half of an insult. Although the film is meatheaded, cliche and past its due, its really a long entertaining-enough ride to a truly moving final scene. The "Goodbye, Paul" ending is as cheesy as it is tearful and that sums up the unique appeal of this worldwide phenomenon action film series. Its all downhill from Furious 7 (actually it was downhill from Fast 5, I digress), but the series will be remembered for the very real friendships Paul Walker seemed to have with every major cast member he had in this long series, being the glue of the franchise and the reason it transcends into some kind of cult-fan-family. Its there on the screen and it connects with all viewers. He was a real movie star.
Paul Walker died tragically, too soon like a few other handsome blond babyfaced car enthusiast Hollywood actors. He's no James Dean or Steve McQueen in terms of talent or impact, but he connected in a similar way. Maybe what makes Paul Walker special is that he used his "Everyman" looks and appeal to make others look good instead. He was the true star of the series but he made sure his co-stars looked just as great. It has to be noted that the Fast & Furious franchise is the first film series to have multiple races, cultures and genders all sharing the spotlight as mostly equal partners - a true action team. He was the leader but it was unspoken. Thats what makes a great leader. Vin Diesel gets top billing, The Rock is in all of the commercials, Tyrese gets the funniest lines and Ludacris is made to look the least silly. But Paul is there in the back just silently being "The Man".
Cynically, you have to wonder if he was sort of using everyone to do the heavy lifting, as he mostly phoned in performances and played the most loyal, legit and family-oriented role in the team. He got to look strongest while doing the least. But they all received a great deal of mainstream credibility just acting in the same scene as Walker, who was once a hot commodity in Hollywood. I'm just saying there's an obvious symbiosis in the casting. But to Walker's credit, he made sure his supporting cast was THE supporting cast to beat, with this film adding Kurt Russell, Djimon Honsou, Tony Jaa and Ronda Roussey. And achoring all of this chaos was Walker's 100% real love of cars, car stunts and great car action, even though all of that phases out in this film.
This is not officially a final chapter, but its obvious that the films won't be the same without Walker in them. Three more FF film have been greenlit, but their future success is certainly suspect. Erasing Paul Walker from the equation, you are left with some seriously stupid and shallow movies. He was the most talented member of the team and the original "in" for the audiences of the very first film. Lets just hope Fast/Furious 8 makes him proud.