Release Date: April 3, 2015
Director: James Wan
Writer: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Lucacris, Dwayne Johnson, Lucas Black, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, Gal Gadot, John Brotherton, Luke Evans, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou, Noel Gugliemi, Ali Fazal, Sung Kang, Ronda Rousey, Iggy Azalea.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 137 minutes
Production Company: Universal Pictures, Dentsu, Fast 7 Productions, One Race Films, Original Film
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Country: Japan, USA
I must give major credit to Universal, the cast, and everyone involved in the Fast and Furious franchise. It’s not too often that a studio can make the seventh installment in a series still relevant and interesting. After The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (part 3), these films got bigger and better, and for a while, started becoming one of my most anticipated top 20 in each year of their release. The most notable aspect is that while the studios’ main goal is financial success, they want their audiences to have a fun time. Stunts have raised the bar each time around and have danced from the line of realism to just plain ridiculous. The movies are self-aware, knowing that the audience has to suspend their disbelief, which makes the experience richer and more fulfilling. Though it is inevitable, sometimes that ship can only sail so far. Eventually, those stunts that appear realistic in a perfect world where all the stars and planets are aligned fade away. A time will come when you say to yourself, “enough is enough,” and I think that time is now.
I’ll always give credit where it’s due, so one of the more impressive hurdles leaped in the perfect continuity of each film in the series. Tokyo Drift territory is briefly touched upon, but was so cohesive in providing a larger story arc that I really appreciate it. The fact that there’s a reason each film that follows is made besides financial gain speaks volumes. These guys started with stealing DVD players from trucks, and it’s a big world out there. So expanding their universe to the even more sinister organizations around the planet makes each iteration that much more interesting.
It’s a story that will take a very long time to get old. The problem is that the story must also contain a logical plot, and this is where all the magic, in my opinion, fades away. During most of the film, all the characters are looking for a certain bad guy, and the lengths they go through are beyond me. While they’re ripping up the streets causing mayhem, the same bad guy appears dead center on the screen. Yet, attention isn’t fully focused on capturing this person, but rather getting away from them. Plain and simple, it doesn’t add up. They would rather wait and let the antagonist set up in his own backyard than fail at a predictable attempt to capture him. This happens on multiple occasions and ruins the potentially great scenes containing it.
Acknowledging that the film is self-aware doesn’t give you the excuse to do anything you want in the making and then expect everyone to buy it. There’s a brilliantly choreographed fight scene in the genesis with Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, but after a short while, it became unwatchable. Their talent is wasted by not paying attention to the real condition of the human body. Unless you’re related to Superman, an individual can only be pounded in the face, body slammed through walls and tables, cut up, and pulverized so many times before they can’t stand anymore. To top it, there wasn’t enough blood to support this scene. It takes the stakes away from the danger at hand. Yes, Statham’s presence in the film was intimidating. He came off as the perfect badass, but is treated like he has 100 lives stuffed away in his pocket.
This isn’t the only fight scene that’s botched—they all are, sadly. It’s clear as day that most of the cast are street racers and ex-cops who fight on the street level, with a little more bang for their buck. They’re definitely not assassin-level world warriors, but they’re able to withstand blows from the best martial artists in media and survive a four-against-one battle. This is just another example of no stakes, and clocks me out of the film.
With all the negative, Furious 7 still has some redeeming qualities. The way they have incorporated Paul Walker’s siblings was seamless. I didn’t notice any discrepancies until one brief shoot towards the end. One of his stunts, where he actually appeared in the frame, was unbelievably amazing, and I gasped in my seat upon witnessing it. Even though it had been ruined through over-saturation of marketing, I was still entertained. The humor is an aspect that they have been consistent with throughout each chapter. This time around, it’s not as funny as its recent predecessor, but is still able to make you smile at times. The runtime was long, but I didn’t notice. That’s very odd because the plot was not the best.
It was a fun ride to say the least. Going in, I just wanted to see crazy action, crazy fights, and have a lot of laughs. I got most of what I wanted but thought the crazy aspects got a little too crazy. There were too many instances where things lined up as a perfect coincidence, and that I can’t let past me. The passing of Paul Walker is unfortunate, and I am sensitive to the fact that it occurred in the middle of filming. That still doesn’t justify all the other misfires of someone not sitting back and asking themselves whether the plot makes sense. There are elements that had nothing to do with the delay in production, but apparently, that didn’t matter. Fast Five had some great moments, which were taken to the next level with Fast and Furious 6. Suspension of disbelief, maintaining that line of realism, and the fact of being self-aware made most of the previous films worthwhile. And when you have something that’s slightly believable, you expect the films to come to follow suit.
This time around, they cranked that knob to 50, which made it the movie forgettable, and honestly, a step down.