Furious 7 (2015, light spoilers): Sometimes, it’s not about how fast you go, but who you have behind the wheel
Context: Fast Cars, Big Hollywood Action Ensemble
Overall Excellence: 6
Meh or Lame Parts: 3
If you enjoyed the previous movies, you will find lots to have fun with this time around. If you disliked or hated the previous movies, you will most likely feel the same with this latest installment.
Everything about this film is obviously made for the fans, with all of the regulars getting moments to shine (I never felt like any particular character got shafted). Most of the characters even get their own fight moments, from Dom on down to the tech guy (Letty kicks some serious ass when her chance comes, same with Dom, Brian, Hobs) . And of course, they all get moments to drive around and do cool car shit.
Letty’s character also gets full service as she deals with her memory loss and return, which I thought added to the whole of the franchise.
The New Heroes
Added to the team of ruffians are a striking 20s female computer hacker named Ramsey and a government official, Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russel, who does a bang up job in the role). They both add their own flavor to the overall team, both in terms of the overall story and their own character.
There is one main villain all over the advertisements, of course, Shaw, played by Jason Statham, who does the usual Jason Statham badass role, which is sufficent here. In addition, two smaller villains are added to the mix, Jakande and Kiet, played very respectfully by Djimon Hounsou and Tony Jaa. Each get their own moments and offer their presence, more than anything, and that gives more credence to the whole production.
Overall, you have some really cool set pieces. Lots of one on one fights between the various characters. Lots of car action. The pacing is really nice. The fights are a bit over edited, though, cutting too often to close ups that make it harder to tell what’s going on… but mixed with enough wider shots and some well executed closer shots, that this is a minor flaw in the whole. It could have been a tad bit better, but the action still delivered for the most part.
Some extraneous moments reacting to the emergence of this new villain (Shaw). Instead of this one declaration, there are a few declarations spread over several scenes. Some of the moments between characters in the nonaction scenes during the first half hour… felt a bit heavy handed and a bit cheesy, like out of a hallmark channel original movie with the same kind of music and all. I felt like they were good moments, they just needed to be handled better and with something else for music.
And the fact that most everything outside of these scenes clicked very well also spotlighted how weak these scanes came off.
As a tribute to the memory of Paul Walker, I thought they made a very lovely send off to the actor and the character. Especially in the final moments, it really comes off.
The Final Word
I had a good time. The action was over the top. Lots of fun moments. The ensemble works well together. If you are a fan of the series, go watch this and go see it in theaters. No matter which of the characters you love, or if you love them all, you’ll get a chance to root for those characters. Yes, it’s big and it’s dumb, but it’s also a lot of fun and really delivers on everything you could want from a Fast and Furious installment. Cool Car Action, characters being bigger than life, and the obligatory T/A thrown in at various parts.