Action/Adventure / Reviews

Furious 7 (2015) review

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Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham

Written by:  Chris Morgan

Directed by:  James Wan

Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and crew must help Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) stop Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), a rogue SAS assassin hell bent on destroying Toretto and his family.

Despite the Fast and Furious films throwing up staggering box office numbers, especially the last couple films, this film is know mainly for being the one Paul Walker was filming when he was killed in a car crash.  It would be a shame for this to be only known for that.  This is a rip roaring, globe trotting adventure that defies the laws of physics while tearing at your heartstrings.  Fun from beginning to end, this is the best of a series that should have been buried after Tokyo Drift; somehow they revitalized the franchise and I’m thankful for it.

At the end of Fast 6, Dom receives a call from an unknown man played by Jason Statham, after this unknown man has killed Han, one of Dom’s crew.  It turns out that this unknown man is Deckard Shaw, the brother of Owen Shaw, who was the antagonist in Fast 6.  He is bent on revenge for the hospitalization Owen sustained after the run in with Dom’s crew.  An ex-SAS assassin, Deckard is not a man to be messed with.  This is shown early on when Deckard puts Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in the hospital.  It is up to Dom and his crew to recover an item known as God’s Eye for the US government so they can track down Shaw and put a stop to his plans for revenge.

Directed by James Wan (The ConjuringInsidious), taking a break from his horror roots to direct this action epic, Furious 7 is a rousing good time that is almost better in the quiet moments of family than it is in it’s death-defying feats of physical impossibilities.  When you go to the movies, you have to be able to suspend your disbelief.  Otherwise, how would you be able to watch cars land on a road after driving out of an airplane?  Or driving through a crumbling parking garage while being chased by a helicopter firing missiles?  Yes, it is silly when you think about it.  But is it exciting?  God damned right it is.

The sign of a great film series is in it’s characters. When you think about a film like Lethal Weapon, you think about Riggs and Murtaugh.  When you think about Lethal Weapon 4, you think of Riggs, Murtaugh, Murtaugh’s family, Joe Pesci, and Chris Rock.  By the time you get to that fourth film, a family has been established.  You don’t think of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson.  You think of their characters and their family.  And it is a rarity in cinema. Furious 7 has managed to bring that established family to the screen again.

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Yes, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham have a great fight scene!

I haven’t seen the first four films in this series.  Despite liking the last three installments, I still have no interest in seeing them.  But I am a fan of the franchise the way it sits now.  There may be a day, somewhere down the line, where I watch the first four.  That day is not soon coming.  The sense of family that I spoke of previously is very, very prevalent in these last three installments and works especially well in this film.  Perhaps it’s knowing that Paul Walker is no longer alive, but every interaction with his son in the film damn near brought me to tears.  Knowing that makes this film difficult to watch at times.

In the fifth installment, the franchise brought in Dwayne Johnson, who, many could contend, saved this franchise.  Despite his glorified cameo in this film, they bring in another big gun in the form of Kurt Russell.  Yes, THE Kurt Russell.  With the power of Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell, and the villain in Jason Statham, this film almost has a bigger roster of legitimate action stars than The Expendables franchise.  Every one of them is actually given something to do as well.  I would argue that Kurt Russell also has the best bad ass scene in the film, where he single handedly takes out like 5 or 6 guys.  It was awesome!

The Fast and Furious series continues to get better the farther along it goes.  As I watched this, I was enamored by it from start to finish.  It is a high octane film rush that has it’s heart hanging on it’s sleeve.  While the action scenes are bigger and more over the top than ever, the heart is firmly there, daring you to walk out with a dry eye.  I could not.  And I’ll bet you won’t either.  This is a masterful piece of action film making that, if you are one of the three people who hasn’t seen it yet, needs to be seen.  No, it needs to be experienced.

***1/2 out of ****

BIZZAM!! Fun Facts!

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