FlixChatter Review: Furious 7

Furious7 “I don’t have friends, I got family”

That line by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), the patriarch of the ‘Fast & Furious’ family, sums up the familial theme that runs through this franchise. I never would’ve thought that when I was still blissfully ignorant of the series prior to Fast & Furious 6. So far I’ve only seen the 1st, 5th and 6th movie before the latest one, and based on what I heard from those who’ve seen them all, this is one of those rare occasion where the sequels actually improve over the earlier movies. Yes, the franchise pride itself in being a big dumb action flick with preposterous car stunts, but the familial theme separates it from other action movies, and that could very well be the secret of its success.

Furious7_HanFuneralThere’s a direct continuation from this movie to Fast & Furious 6, as the comatose villain’s brother, Deckard Shaw, now seeks revenge against Toretto & his family. The beginning of the film shows them attending a funeral of a former family member that’s hinted at the end of the previous film. Even the villain is avenging a member of the family. I thought that the casting is pretty spot on as not only Jason Statham looks believable as Luke Evans‘ older brother, the fact that he’s famous in another car-centric actioner The Transporter makes his casting even more perfect.

Statham is always effortlessly bad ass and invincible in pretty much everything he’s in, and it’s no different here. He apparently could take out an entire hospital AND all those SWAT team all by himself. So he’s special ops or something, which means in his case he’s got superhuman strength who could withstand blow after blow from someone three times his size! The fight scene between him and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is practically hilarious – as is most of the fight scenes in this franchise – because I just don’t sense any kind of real danger to them.

Furious7_TheRockJasonStathamThe vengeance storyline is mixed with a heist plot to obtain a tracking device named God’s Eye and rescuing a hacker named Ramsey. Just like the Mission Impossible movies, the filmmaker just wants to one-up the previous movie in terms of its preposterous action. The sequence of the cars dropped from a plane down to Caucasus Mountains, followed by an equally ridiculous car/bus chase around the twisty mountain road is what you pay money to see this franchise! Seeing that scene on IMAX is really quite a thrill, it’s as close to being in a real amusement park ride given the immersive experience of seeing the stunts in such a huge screen.

Furious7_CarAirdropStuntman Spiro Razatos is really the unsung hero in this franchise as he’s the man responsible for some of the heart-stopping sequences, such as the bank vault scene in Fast Five. This article offer details as to how he pulls off the airdropD scene, it’s really his magnum opus of stunt work! To contrast the cool mountain scenery, the team then heads to the desert of Abu Dhabi. Of course the *mission* has to be something totally absurd. The owner of the flash drive they’re after placed the thing inside a $3.4 mil supercar that I’ve never even heard of: Lykan Hypersport made in Dubai by the first ever Arab supercar company W Motors.

Furious7_LykanHypersport

Yep, that’s the red car that Dom and Brian (Paul Walker) drove through two skyscrapers you’ve seen in the trailer. Trust me, the scene itself is even crazier than in the trailer! Brian Tyler‘s dynamic score perfectly complements the action scenes.

LykanHypersportNow, I’ve mentioned some of the best action sequences, but there are also some pointless fight scenes that overstay its welcome. One of them that come to mind is the fight between UFC champ Ronda Rousey and Michelle Rodriguez, it’s there simply just to fulfill audience’s expectation of a two bad-ass girls knocking each other out. Some of the fight scenes between Walker and Thai martial artist Tony Jaa also gets boring after a while. Pointless characters also drag the movie down, such as Kurt Russell‘s character and Djimon Hounsou’s who’s been typecast as a useless henchman in practically everything he’s in since his fine turn in Gladiator.

I do have to give props to how the filmmaker handle the tribute to Paul Walker, who’s a key cast member of the franchise. I knew before watching this movie that they weren’t going to kill off his character Brian O’Conner, which I think is a wise move on their part. What they end up doing is genuinely moving and heartfelt that it made me tear up watching it. It’s more of a celebration for the late actor than a somber farewell, incorporating the use of CGI as well as the actor’s own brothers Caleb and Cody as stand-ins.

Furious7_PaulWalkerOverall the movie is entertaining and fun, which is what one would hope for in a movie like this. The emotional scenes help elevate it a bit, but for the most part, you go see this movie for the ridiculous car stunts. But the ethnic diversity has also become part of the ‘brand’ of the franchise. It’s nice to see actors of pretty much every race represented: Black, Asian, Hispanic, White, and there’s even a Bollywood actor making a cameo this time around. Even the director James Wan is of Malaysian Chinese descent. Wan is new to the franchise, after doing mostly horror films like The Conjuring. I think his direction is ok, though I think I prefer Justin Lin‘s direction in the last two movies a bit more. In any case, the diversity pays off for the franchise, as according to THR, 75% of the audience in North America is non-White and it’s earned $384 mil worldwide in its first weekend, wow!

The movie is quite long though, I think cutting some of those unnecessary action scenes out would reduce the overlong 137-min running time. But it’s still mostly enjoyable to me because it’s more of a heist flick than a street-racing movie.

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Have you seen Furious 7? Well, what did YOU think?

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43 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: Furious 7

  1. Nice post, Ruth. I bet I’ll watch this final installment some time, but I’m not in a rush. I do like the thought its plot leans to the heist more than the street action.

    1. Yep it’s pretty fun, and I like the diverse cast and familial theme. I think that’s what sets this apart from a standard action fare.

    1. Yeah, I think the familial theme is genuinely heartfelt, never thought I’d say that about this franchise! But they did a nice job handling Paul Walker’s passing in a graceful, emotional way.

      Oh no I haven’t seen that recap post, thanks for sending Michael, I’ll check it out! It’ll be helpful for me as I didn’t see all of the movies!

  2. My main issue with this one is that the action scenes just went way too long and James Wan is not creative enough on some of the action sequences. What I like about he previous 3 films directed by Justin Lin was that he set up the action sequences nicely and knows how to edited them, it’s more creative than this one. The climatic action scene in LA just went on and on and on, reminded me of the action scenes in Man of Steel and all those awful Tranformers movies. With 4 editors credited, you’d think one of them would tell Wan to cut a few things out. I still enjoyed it but definitely not as good as the previous two films.

    I did like Kurt Russell character though, since he’s going to play a bigger role in the next film, I didn’t mind his involvement. I assume he’ll be the big baddie in the next film.

    1. Y’know I’d agree w/ you, that’s why I said some of the scenes could’ve been edited out so the running time isn’t so long. 137 min for an action flick like this is just too indulgent. I think I like Justin Lin’s style more too, I enjoyed the heck out of that bank vault car chase, that was totally bonkers but didn’t overstay its welcome.

      Kurt Russell was ok, I kept thinking he’d be the baddie in this one. Heck he’s surely better than Djimon’s character.

      1. I’m thinking Kurt Russell will be either the bad guy in the next film or he’ll replace The Rock as the supporting role since I don’t think The Rock will want to keep playing second fiddle to Vin; heck he’s only in a couple of scenes in this one. Also, with Walker gone from franchise, they’re going to need a token white guy now and Russell fits that bill. Ha ha.

        1. I like The Rock in these movies, so yeah I don’t mind seeing more of him. Though I think 7 movies are plenty already so I dunno if I want to see another one of this flick. But of course Universal wants to milk this franchise for all its worth!

    2. Oh, I meant to say something about my man Kurt. He’s one of the best things in this, IMO. So natural and likeable, even if playing a shadowy old bad-ass. Glad to hear he’ll have an expanded role if F&F 8 shows up. Thanks, Ted.

      1. Yeah I do miss seeing Russell in big movies so it’s nice seeing him back on the big screen again. I still think he’ll turn out to be the villain in the next film but if not, I don’t mind his shadowy government agent character.

  3. This is probably the most over-the-top of the Fast series (and Fast Five had them hauling a bank vault through city streets!) but as a result is one of the most entertaining. I really liked how this movie had a variety of locations rather than sticking in one place like the previous films. Nice review, Ruth!

    1. I love that bank vault scene! I think the car airdrop & Lykan car jump are equally preposterous, but I felt that they just want to top the previous car stunts. Yeah, the setting in various locations is always more fun!

    1. Ok Tom, seems that you dug this one far more than I did 😀 But still there are lots to like, in fact, the last few movies are a pleasant surprise to me.

      1. Tom

        Yeah I’ve totally been digging the way the franchise has been moving. Not a fan of 2, 3 and 4 at all myself. 🙂

        1. Good thing I skipped those then 😁 It’s rare that a franchise actually gets bettet in the later sequels, isn’t it? I do think Justin Lin is still the best director of all that have helmed the FF films.

          1. Tom

            Justin Lin is better than Wan that’s for sure. I was very curious as to how F7 was going to work. The transition seemed smooth enough; it reminded me of how much of a nice surprise it was seeing Joss Whedon go from helming something as epic as The Avengers to then directing the very low-key adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. If you haven’t checked out his Much Ado, I highly recommend. Lovely film.

            1. I was a bit disappointed that Lin wasn’t gonna be back directing Furious 7 but thankfully Wan wasn’t too bad. Oooh I still need to see Much Ado About Nothing! Thanks for the reminder Tom, I’m more excited to see it now based on your high recommendation 😀

  4. We’re definitely in agreement here, Ruth! I’m fairly new to the series as well, having watched the first one last summer and then skipping the “bad” ones and going straight to Fast Five like you. And from what I’ve seen, I’m a huge fan of this franchise. Just like you said, it’s big, stupid fun, but it’s so self-aware that it’s impossible to not have a great time while watching them, and would happily pay to see more. 🙂

    1. Hi Billy! It seems that more people are in our camp in that they weren’t fans from the beginning. After the 6th movie, we rented Fast Five and really enjoyed it. I don’t know if I’m willing to pay for it tho, thanks to those press screenings 😀

  5. I’m going to see this. I was very snobbish about the franchise early on but Fast Five changed all of that and made me realize that they’re actually smarter than that. They know what they are and don’t apologize for it. At the same time, I understand why it appeals to a wide audience as it has something for everyone including the smart people. Just as long as it maintains that sense of silliness, crazy action, and all of that. This franchise will continue as long as it could.

    1. Y’know, I don’t blame you Steven, as I was the same way! I’m glad I gave Fast & Furious 6 a shot which made me rent Fast Five, that’s probably my fave of the franchise. It’s dumb and bombastic, but not without heart.

  6. Great to hear that Paul Walker got a touching farewell. I’ve caught up on this franchise in the last few years starting with 5, then 6, 4, 1 and enjoy the the over the top action. I think the diversity of the cast has really helped it to appeal to a wide fan base. I hope to catch up with 7 sooner than later. 😀

    1. Yeah it’s a tricky job but I think they pulled it off. Walker actually got more screen time than I thought, but the scenes toward the end look very CGI-ed. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  7. I’m really looking forward to this because the series has really improved after the fourth film. Too bad it’s Paul Walker’s last film in the franchise. Great review Ruth!

    1. Hi Josh! Yeah it’s really rare that they improve in the later franchise. It’s quite sad to see Walker in the farewell scenes.

  8. I had such a blast with this film, loved all the ridiculousness of the action and thought the way they handled the death of Walker was really well done.

  9. I also never thought this movie franchise would last. Nice that they bonded as cast and crew, and feel like family. It probably is just a dumb action flick, but considering what friends told me the movie is worth seeing and to remember Paul Walker, I feel like seeing it.

    1. Hi Andina. Yeah, I think there are several things that work well in this franchise. The familial theme doesn’t seem forced and the diverse cast made it even more fun to watch. Yeah I think the tribute to Walker is well done here, it’s really quite emotional.

  10. Same score for me. It’s thrilling and silly fun and I had a good time with it. It did run a bit long and I really felt it in the big action finale. Still, these movies have become better than you would ever expect them to be. Hats off to them.

    1. Yeah, the action finale seemed to go on forever! But that tribute to Walker was quite heartfelt even the CGI looked so obvious. You’re so right that these movies have become unexpectedly better. I’m glad I gave Fast & Furious 6 a shot!

  11. I enjoyed this one but it was little too ‘furious’ with not enough ‘fast’ for me. I much prefer the street racing roots of the franchise to the OTT fight sequences that seem to dominate it now. I’d hoped there would be more for Statham to do too – I felt he was limited by the role here. Still this one was pretty fun and I can’t deny that the tribute to Paul Walker was moving and well done.

    1. Ahah, not fast enough for ya?? Wow, I thought the car stunts were crazy! I actually like the fact that it’s more of a heist flick than a street racing movie. Statham could’ve had more scenes I agree, he’s actually fun to watch here.

      1. Yeah he’s fun. Didn’t get much dialogue though which was disappointing. I’ve always been a fan of the more ‘normal’ street racing element than the crazy stunts but it’s interesting to see how the franchise has evolved.

  12. Pingback: APRIL Viewing Recap, Movie of the Month + Looking forward to 2015 Wizard World Minneapolis! |

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