release date: 3 April 2015 (Canada)
run time: 137 mins
considered: Action, Crime, Thriller
director: James Wan
starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson, Lucas Black, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Gal Gadot, John Brotherton, Luke Evans
movie summary: Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his brother-in-law Brain O’Conner (Paul Walker) live and breathe fast cars as well as dangerous situations. Dom and his crew, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Mia (Jordana Brewster), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and Tej (Ludacris) earned their freedom thanks to a job they pulled with super agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in London. Like they always say, freedom comes a price and when the crew take down drug lord Owen Shane (Luke Evans), his brother Deckard (Jason Stratham) seeks out revenge on Dom and his family. The heat gets turned up like never before because Deckard strikes first with a bomb, his favourite weapon of choice. After barely surviving the attack at his home, Dom will round-up the guys and hit the streets of Dubai, Los Angeles, and the mountains of Europe to go head to head with Deckard. The first guy to get the other guy in a body bag will be able to live in peace.
my thoughts: Furious 7 can be simply summed by a line from a Bad Boys movie, “We ride together, we die together, Bad Boys for life.” Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star in that franchise, directed by explosives expert Michael Bay, but that partnership ties in very nicely with Dominic Toretto and Brain O’Connor. Some of you may be disappointed by this reference but hear me out before you click the back button. It was the first thing that popped in my mind when the final few minutes of the movie were playing with Dom and Brian going on one last ride together, the symbolic gesture of their whole friendship and brotherhood. Once bitter enemies, these two men grew to become family and would risk their life for one another and when the world lost Paul Walker, his character needed to be retired in order for other storylines to continue. These Fast and Furious guys are not crazy Miami cops who couldn’t avoid trouble if their lives depended on it, but instead embrace crazy situations and just roll with their cars. The quote really stuck with me as the writers provided us with a bittersweet send off before the end credits.
Now the other reason why I mentioned Michael Bay in a John Wau directed film is because Jason Stratham’s character must have been trained at the Bay acting academy of explosives. Deckard is considered a “shadow”, someone who comes and goes without a trace and only surfaces when the opportunity is right. He can fight, drive fast cars, shoot guns, but his expertise is explosions. I think with the exception of his final fight sequence, he uses a bomb or grenade in every other scene. He blows up cars, hospitals, his secret warehouse, skyscrapers, and people. There’s seriously nothing he won’t pull the pin on and always manages to walk away without a scratch. Deckard is a major character in the storyline but also a side character. Dom, Hobbs, and the crew want to get him in a body bag and before they can get their hands on him they have to jump through so many hoops. These heart stopping moments of the film allow for Deckard to come in and out of the story without you forgetting how dangerous he really is.
Speaking of jumping through hoops with cars, let’s get this out of the way…the car stunts in this film is absolutely crazy and so far over the top, that there are no words to describe it. I was reading that the stunt people did real jumps with cars because they wanted to make it believable and authentic. Trust me, this stuff is so entertaining I found myself laughing every time a car purposely drove off a cliff or roof top. It’s amazing that these cars are built to jump through high raises yet ordinary people get seriously injured every day from fender benders. That’s the joy of Hollywood though, it’s a place where we spend $10+ to see things that suspend our disbelief for two hours and go home wondering if it’s possible. I mean would we ever turn into a real Star Trek generation, who knows, but we can definitely crash a car between two high raises and see what happens. After watching Furious 7 last night and having a night to sleep on it, I’ve been thinking all morning that the craziness of car crashes sorta takes away from the story and their characters. Everyone who loves this franchise knows these characters will do just about anything with a car to win a race, battle, war, or pull off the perfect crime. At some points the story is more about the cars then the people driving them which fits the perfect Fast & Furious theme, except this movie isn’t really about cars anymore. Furious 7 sorta shows the franchise running on fumes by creating a secret spy agency that needs crazy car drivers to recover a first of its kind spy program that will change the world. The whole recover the program software in exchange for valuable information on your enemy is a good storyline but it really is so over used. The reason it works here is thanks to death-defying car chases and stunts that will distract you from the flaws of the overall story.
Don’t get me wrong, Furious 7 is a highly entertaining movie that will have you on the edge of your seat. When you’re not holding your breath, you will be laughing at the pranks, trash talk, and situations all our characters find themselves in. The writers had to rework this story and the ending with many foreshadowing moments sprinkled throughout. Even if you are not a fan of fast cars or violent action movies, anyone can appreciate the efforts of the whole cast to bond together and give us an amazing performance in the face of tragedy. The only major problem I had is that The Rock sat in a hospital bed for the majority of the film and only gave one “Rock Bottom” during a fight scene. Despite playing a hero type character, he deserved more screen time then what he got. I’d love to know why he was used to sparingly when he is in fact one of the biggest draws of the franchise and will be a new face moving forward.
my final thoughts: The majority of the world will go see this movie because it was Paul Walker’s last film. My prediction for Furious 7 is that it will climb the list of highest grossing movies and rake in close to a billion dollars in ticket sales. Be prepared for two solid hours of unbelievable stunts, laugh out loud shenanigans, and pull at your heart moments. Furious 7 is worth every penny of a regular ticket or IMAX ticket, so just go one already!
my star rating: 8 out 10
imdb: 8.8 out 10
rottentomatoes: 81% out 100%
roger ebert: 3.5 out 4
richard crouse: 3.5 out 5