Movie Reviews

Published on April 3rd, 2015 | by Genevieve Mc Bride

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Furious 7

As most would expect from the Fast & Furious franchise, the 7th installment was full of the absurd, ridiculous and spectacular. How a former FBI agent and reticent street racer came to be the leaders of a highly sought after band of not-so-merry brothers (and sisters), hired to accomplish what special ops couldn’t is just part of the absurd. The ridiculous can be found in the escapades they find themselves mired in as well as the stunts they have to pull off to get out of said predicaments. But tied into the absurd and ridiculous are the spectacular adrenaline rushes charged with a lot of shiny metal and ferocious revs and rumbles of finely tuned engines.

Furious 7 tries to tie together the storylines of its predecessors. At least that was the original intent. But with only a couple weeks of filming left, the movie lost one of its leading men, Paul Walker in a horrifically ironic car accident. When the cast and crew, as well as Universal and Walker’s family agreed to finish filming, the movie became more about giving his character, Brian O’Connor, his last hurrah, a final dance with bullets he told his wife he missed before he finally accepted a more domesticated existence.

As much as I enjoyed Furious 7, it was hard to watch on so many levels. The fans will love the intense fight scenes, some wincingly brutal, some intricately choreographed. There are plenty of jaw-dropping stunts and heart-racing car chases, and plenty of one-liners to laugh or groan at, mainly from Dwayne Johnson’s character, Hobbs. This movie also had two villains, Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw and Djimon Honsou’s Jakande; one intent on avenging his brother, the other bent on getting his hands on “God’s Eye”, a device that would essentially give Jakande control of the world, of course. The movie also introduced a new character named Mr. Nobody, played by an amusing Kirk Russell.

With the aid of CGI and Walker’s brothers, Cody and Caleb, as stand-ins, director James Wan was able to keep Brian in most of the film. That’s where I found some difficulty in watching the movie. Wan and his staff combed through footage that normally would’ve ended on the cutting room floor to find usable shots that Wan came to refer to as “Walker Gold” because each shot became more and more precious. I understood that sentiment as each of Walker’s scenes, especially with Vin Diesel and Jordana Brewster, became even more poignant knowing they were some of his last. Wan didn’t try to make the audience forget that Walker was gone, instead he made Furious 7 the satisfying closing chapter for the character Walker brought to life, effectively paying tribute to Walker himself.

 

4 out 5

 

 

Second review

By Joseph K. Saulnier

 

The end of an era, or the beginning of a new one? That’s the question on my mind after watching Furious 7. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year and a half, you should be familiar with the tragic background of this film. So there was much anticipationg leading up to it, but the wait was well worth it.

Furious 7 picks up about six years after the events of Fast & Furious 6. The team had their records expunged and are now living back in the USA, with Han in Tokyo. Dom (Vin Diesel) is still trying to help Letty (Michele Rodriguez) find herself, while Mis (Jordana Brewster) is trying fervently to help Brian (Walker) adjust to a domestic lifestyle. Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is becoming bored with his job because it’s getting too easy. Then in comes Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), big brother to the antognist from the last film out to get revenge on the people who nearly killed his baby brother. He starts by killing off Han, thus catching the series up to the events of Tokyo Drift. Now Dom, Brian and the rest of the team must set out to stop Deckard Shaw, but in order to do so, they must help a secret division of the US Government rescue a hacker only known as Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) who has invented the “God’s Eye”, an advanced “Big Brother” program that can be used to track anyone on earth.

Action packed doesn’t even begin to describe this movie. I hate using phrases like this, but it truly is an action packed thrill ride from start to finish. Are they pushing the laws of physics (and in some cases down right breaking them)? Yes. But really, the series has become just that: an over the top ensemble action film. And it works. The cast has really found it’s groove, which includes bringing Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) along for the ride, and some new faces with Kurt Russell and Emmanuel as well. In addition to a great cast, the music and cinematography are top notch. Are we talking award winning material, probably not unless you are talking MTV awards, but the film is entertaining, fun, and will have you hooked from the opening scene to the end credits.

And now for the question on everyone’s mind: what about Paul Walker? I am not going to spoil that surprise here. Go see it. But I will say this, they handled it very well. You can tell there was a lot of respect for Paul and his family from the studio, the crew, the director, and the cast. Especially Vin Diesel. During a speech at the end of the film, in which Diesel’s character, Dom, is supposed to be talking about Walker’s character, Brian, you can tell that it is really aimed at Walker himself, too. There are only two movies that have made me tear up in my life, and this is one of them. A great way to send off an admired actor.

But where is the franchise going now? Many believed this would be the last, and the franchise almost didn’t get this film. But plans for 8, 9 and 10 have been announced, with mention that Kurt Russell will be back for 8, which will be set in New York. The series definitely won’t be the same, but it seems like they may be able to fill that whole left in our hearts with a few new characters from this film, or possibly a returning character from Tokyo Drift. Who knows?

But get out and see this movie the way it was meant to be seen, in theaters. IMAX may be a bit of sensory overload, but the large screen we saw it on was perfect. The movie wasn’t perfect, but it did what it set out to do, and that is entertain in a fashion that would have made Paul Walker proud.

 

4 stars out of 5


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