Giving very good performances all around, able direction and an edge of your seat storyline, Furious 7 takes the “summer” lead with an awesome action theatrical entry. The high energy franchise proves again that there’s always another story for the team of actors that has carried the car crime thriller for seven big hits. The edges are getting a little frayed, but that doesn’t mean I’m not ready for another fast ride. Rev it up Diesel, I want more!
This installment starts off with former British black ops assassin Decard Shaw (Jason Statham) paying a visit to his brother Owen (Luke Evans) in the hospital. Owen as you remember was taken down by Dom Torreto (Vin Diesel) during a covert operation months before. Manic over seeing his brother’s disfigured body he starts his search for the men who were responsible. His first stop is Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), the FBI Officer who was in charge of mission that took out Owen. After obtaining information from Hobbs’ computer and getting the better end of a fight, the one man wrecking machine heads out to find Dom.
The movie progresses from there with Dom informing his crew, Brian (Paul Walker)a former LAPD cop and his right hand man, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) a speed racer, Roman (Tyrese Gibson) his “strategic” expert, and Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) the computer whiz and mastermind behind their strategies, of a defensive assignment. Like all the prequels to this sequel, just when you think the fight’s over, it’s not over. And just when you say to yourself, “whew! That was a thrilling ride” the excitement starts all over again.
Director James Wan takes his turn at the helm of a Fast and Furious franchise film and comes up a winner. He keeps his cast on course as the pace quickens early on until the very last shoe drops. It’s a mean lean roller coaster ride and hardly a minute to catch your breath from one creative action scene to another. The script is quite difficult with the locations and sets being the real thing, but Wan handles the action well. Using CGI to the max, special effects and amazing stunts, Wan puts you right into the middle of the best Fast and Furious of them all.
Vin Diesel makes the film work with his determination, narrow impossible escapes and strong mater-of-fact leadership. He controls most every scene and even those you don’t see coming. He’s an action hero that can only be duplicated by the best, but never less than the best. During the film he shows his character as a believer that his team is family, then taking a step further at the end of the movie with a sincere goodbye Brian (Paul Walker).
As ever Jason Statham plays a mean antagonist in most every film and here he gives his best performance as a killer yet. Blistering and brutal are soft hearted words when it comes to his action on the screen. He’s the perfect storm no matter the situation or amazing appearance from out of nowhere, so just go with it for maximum enjoyment. The amazine choreography in his fight against Hobbs makes it a tooth puller.
In his final appearance for the screen Paul Walker gives a lasting performance in Furious 7 as the tough ex LAPD officer turned rogue. From the beginning of the franchise as Dom Toretto’s main man to the heartwarming finish looking out the side window of his car and delivering his last line “I knew you wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye” Walker has entertained fans worldwide.
In Furious 7 he shows the grit that had brought him the fame he deserved on his way to accomplishing the dream he sought. Walker has over 41 film credits to his name starting in 1986 with a small horror movie called Monster in the Closet. Along the way Walker picked up parts that included playing Lance Harbor in Varsity Blues (1999), Caleb Mandrake in The Skulls (2000) costarring Joshua Jackson, then the very next year landed the role of Brian O’Connor in Fast and Furious (2001). The Fast and Furious franchise had been his mainstay, although appearing in such films as Joy Ride (2001) with Steve Zahn, Into the Blue (2005) opposite costar Jessica Alba, getting a solo starring role as Joey Gazelle in Running Scared (2006) and an inspirational role starring in the indie Hours (2014).
Michelle Rodriguez always has a lot of screen presence in the Fast and Furious films and this one’s no exception. Jumping into the fight Michelle Rodriguez takes Letty to a new level dropping in her car 4000 feet above the Earth from an airplane (with the help of special effects). In face to face combat against Kara (Rhonda Rousey- a mixed martial arts star), a very vicious bodyguard for Jakande (Djimon Hounsou), the lengthy exciting fight has perfect choreography and filming. In IMAX it looks so real you can feel the punches and kicks as the two women attack each other. The romance that once was between her and Dom gets stronger in Furious 7 and Michelle shows she can handle herself in the dramatic scenes as well.
Giving a terrific performance as a computer geek and creator of God’s Eye, a super visual tool that tracks anyone or thing from camera’s around the world, Nathalie Emmanuel fits in with the crew as computer hacker Ramsey. She’s the key to finding Shaw for Dom, but not until her hard drive gets used by Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell). The team and US military wants to get their hands on the tool that’s been purchased by Jakande a ruthless lord with a deadly drone.
Furious 7 has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language. During the final scene there is a very nice tribute to Paul Walker. Ladies bring your tissues, men be prepared to borrow one. Contrary to rumors, Paul Walker appears throughout the whole film from beginning to end.
FINAL ANALYSIS: The best of Fast and Furious with hopes for more to come. (A)
Additional Film Information:
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Kurt Russell, Jordanna Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Djimon Hounsou, Rhonda Rousey
Directed by: James Wan
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language
Running Time: 2 hrs. 17 min
Release Date: April 3, 2015
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Formats: 2D, IMAX