If you’d have told me after watching the first Fast and Furious movie that they would end up making 7 of them, I would have laughed. Now, somehow I’m glad they did.
“Furious 7” is the 7th installment in the fast and furious world of lightning fast cars, scantily clad women, brutal hand to hand combat and ridiculous one liners. Most of the cast is back including Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. With Jason Statham and Michael Douglas playing large roles in this one as well. And that’s before mentioning the late Paul Walker, who had much of his performance already recorded before he passed away in a tragic car accident last year. And that tragedy, of course, looms heavy over the film in many different ways, but lets talk first about the movie itself.
It’s a down the line Fast and Furious movie. And I actually kind of mean that as a compliment. I mean there’s something confident about a franchise that gets what it is and wholeheartedly embraces it. Technically, it’s tight. The story is solid, and the action, as over the top as it is, is shot really well. You don’t ever really get confused during these intricate car chases and fist fights, despite all the moving pieces and people. And that’s not an easy thing to pull off. And yes, it’s over the top in completely ridiculous ways, but that’s the goal, right? There is no semblance of the real world here, but it’s consistent with its own world and that confidence is what can make it fun for the audience. In this world men fall 20 stories and break a couple bones, in my world I eat a piece of lasagna and chip my tooth on the fork, and no that’s not a joke, happened like 3 days ago. My point is, if you can give into the silliness of it all you might just have a lot of fun. And for that matter you might be moved. The way they crafted this movie to be a tribute to Paul Walker was genuinely affecting. You can really tell this group of people lost a member of their family, and even in a movie as silly as this, I got a little emotional, especially at the end.
Having said that, having to work around his absence to finish the movie did get a bit distracting for me. You could see moments where the same shots were cut in more than once for reactions, or segments where he didn’t have any lines because they hadn’t shot it yet. It’s admirable how they found a way to make it work, but for me it distracted me from the story a few times. Plus the circumstances of his death seem so closely related to the live fast mentality of the film that it’s hard for that not to cast a shadow as well. These movies are all about the adrenaline of masculinity without the consequence, and that’s just not something that carries over into real life. But my worst thing? The cheesy one liners. I mean come on. You’re better than that Dwayne Johnson, at least I think you are.
Overall, if you can stand the ridiculousness of the Fast and Furious world you’re going to have another great time. It’s well made, adrenaline packed, and even a bit touching. Despite having to work through Paul Walker’s absence I say it crosses the line with a solid B.