“Despite a few missteps, Furious 7 proves that it still has what it takes to entertain audiences.”
The Fast and Furious gang is back, and this time it’s personal. When Ian Shaw (Jason Statham) learns about his brother, Owen Shaw’s (that bad guy from Fast & Furious 6), fate, he sets out to kill every single member of the Fast and Furious crew one by one. This means that we get to see these guys do more cool stunts and shit, I guess. There’s also a subplot about a hacker and a warlord, but who gives a shit? CARS! EXPLOSIONS!
Furious 7 is the Fast and Furious movie that is best known for being the send-off to Paul Walker who played Brian O’Conner in the series. This is essentially the elephant in the room in this review, so let’s discuss it first. During the time that Furious 7 was filming, Paul Walker was a car accident that unfortunately took his life. This impacted every single one of the actors in the Fast and Furious and it was made clear that they were more than co-workers, they were a family. It was then decided to turn Furious 7 into a memorial of sorts for Walker, and the film was finished using a mixture of body-doubles and CGI to recreate Paul Walker’s face. First of all I want to say that doing all of this for Paul Walker was very touching, and I was legitimately surprised that a franchise that practically revolves around “CARS! GIRLS! and EXPLOSIONS!” was able to create such a touching send-off for Walker. Especially toward the end of the film, we get to see a lot of the characters individually say goodbye to their friend which was very nice to see. I also really like the fact that instead of getting rid of Walker’s character, he was a given a storybook ending that wraps up his character’s story very nicely. Now I do think that the CGI used to recreate Walker was apparent to say the least. At times it stuck out like a sore thumb that camera angles were intentionally hiding Brian’s face, and audio was being stitched together to create coherent sentences; not to mention his actual face looked off more than a few times. Besides all of that I want to point out that in my opinion they did the best that they could to make sure that Paul Walker was able to remain in the movie and get a proper goodbye. Sure the CGI wasn’t great, but for the time it was pretty fucking close to it. There were moments when the character looked off, but other than that I’m so glad that both the Fast and Furious family, and the fans, were able to say goodbye to Paul Walker.
Now, getting into the nitty-gritty let’s talk about what didn’t work in Furious 7; luckily the list is not long. By the time Furious 7 came out the franchise had reached new heights. The last two movies were very well received and successful, so of course everyone and their mother wanted in. This unfortunately caused a few missteps in terms of casting. First of all, let’s talk about Iggy Azalea’s cameo. I don’t want to say that it was the worst cameo I’ve ever seen, but let’s just ay that her acting wasn’t up to snuff; and when it comes to the Fast and Furious franchise, if you get singled out for bad acting you did a fucking awful job. This cameo took me right out of the movie, and it was so brief that I wondered why it was even there. Azalea didn’t have any songs on the soundtrack that I remember, so who the fuck let her in? Literally any one of the thousands of extras in that scene could have delivered a more believable performance than her, but she was there because the producer’s daughter likes her music or some shit. Right next to Azalea in terms of shit acting skill is Ronda Rousey. Where Azalea’s cameo made me scratch my head, Rousey’s actually made sense; she was very popular at the time of the movie’s release, and they wanted yet another reason to get asses into seats. My problem is that Ronda Rousey, while she could definitely kick my ass, can’t act for shit and it is my belief that any and all lines she had in the movie should have been cut. I’m fine with her being there to kick some ass, but for the love of god as soon as she opens her mouth any sense of impending doom is gone. Not only were her lines written terribly, but she delivered them like an awkward teen coming up with comebacks while in the shower. While Rousey and Azalea were terrible, I can look past them because their total screen time is about five minutes. What I can’t look past is the terrible performance by Djimon Hounsou, the film’s other bad guy. Not only was Hounsou’s character completely pointless and shoehorned-in (really, why do you need two bad guys?) but his performance was about as good as Azalea’s. Now I love Hounsou, especially in Blood Diamond, but he was not the right fit for Furious 7. His lines were delivered awkwardly, his character seemed like an afterthought in every scene, and most importantly he wasn’t menacing at all. He was just kind of there, giving a shit performance.
On a higher note let’s talk about what Furious 7 did right, which is pretty much everything else. The action in Furious 7 didn’t necessarily get bigger when compared to previous films, but I would argue that it got more elaborate. Jumping cars through buildings, jumping cars out of planes, jumping ambulances off of bridges; these scenes are great, but they aren’t necessarily bigger than the previous films’ action scenes. What did improve about the action scenes in Furious 7 is the fact that they were made more fun. In the previous films, everything surrounding the action scenes were made more fun, but in Furious 7 the scenes themselves had a lot of comedy injected into them. Because of this the ‘talent’ of the film was more front-and-center, and because of that more CGI was used. Now the CGI in Furious 7 isn’t bad, but it is very noticeable. Of course when I see a car flying through buildings I don’t think it’s real, but the point of a movie is to immerse me into the action; unfortunately the noticeable CGI kept taking me out. Luckily, because the action scenes had a lot more comedy added, the noticeable CGI was quickly forgotten whenever another laugh came by. To add to that, a lot of the fight scenes in Furious 7 were once again made really fucking brutal; and I loved every second of it. Whoever thought it was a good idea to bring Tony Jaa aboard should get a raise, because that only made the already great fight scenes even better. I also felt that Jason Statham was a good addition to Furious 7 because he can play menacing like few others can. One thing I wished was that Furious 7 revealed that Fast and Furious and The Transporter were in the same universe, but that was just wishful thinking on my part. Really the best part of Furious 7 is that it managed to be fun from start to finish; or, at least until the Paul Walker send-off. The action scenes, the character interactions, the new additions; everything added up to make yet another brilliant entry into the Fast and Furious franchise.
Overall Furious 7 once again knocked it out of the park. Not only did it manage to create another fun-filled action thrill ride, but it also showed that it is capable of creating emotional moments with the beautiful Paul Walker send-off. Despite a few missteps, Furious 7 proves that it still has what it takes to entertain audiences.
I give Furious 7 an A