A movie review of “Furious 7”: The seventh entry in the large-men-and-fast-cars franchise is breathless fun and includes a touching tribute to the late Paul Walker. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
Having, presumably, run out of surfaces on the ground, the mad driving crew of “Furious 7” resort to backing their cars off a plane and clutching their steering wheels while driving, er, falling through thin air. Why do they do this? Because it’s fun … to watch, that is.
The seventh entry in the large-men-and-fast-cars franchise, directed by James Wan (taking over from Justin Lin, who steered the last few editions), delivers the goods, and then some. The action sequences include the aforementioned paradriving (I guess that’s what you’d call it); an escape from a bus delicately teetering on a precipice; a snappy red roadster, gleaming like teeth, flying from building to building; an elaborately collapsing parking garage; a lot of Thelma-and-Louise-ish driving off cliffs; and Dwayne Johnson ripping a cast off his arm simply by flexing his muscles. (I bet he does this at parties.) All are breathless, crazy fun; all should be watched on the largest screen possible.
As usual, the plot’s of little importance. There’s vengeance involved, as the very scary Shaw (Jason Statham, seen briefly at the end of “Fast & Furious 6”) is quite ticked off at our beloved driving gang for killing his evil brother. There’s family loyalty, and there’s amnesia (Michelle Rodriguez’s hard-driving Letty still struggles with her memory), and there’s parenthood, and there’s … well, a lot of moody lighting, and Vin Diesel purring out his lines in a voice that sounds as if not-quite-melted metal was poured into a velvet-lined percolator, and even a mysterious unseen choir that chimes in during a fight scene. Everyone drives around a lot (except Johnson, who spends much of the movie lying attractively in a hospital bed exposing his manly pecs) and nobody among this Rasputin-like crew ever sustains serious injury, despite their habits of frequently getting beaten up, crashing their cars and falling out of things.
Movie Review ★★★
‘Furious 7,’ with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Djimon Hounsou, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham. Directed by James Wan, from a screenplay by Chris Morgan. 137 minutes. Rated PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of action, violence and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language. Several theaters.
And, looking at Paul Walker’s dazzling smile in the film, you wish the real world worked that way, just a bit. Walker, only 40, died in 2013 in a crash — off duty, as a passenger in a speeding car. Though his work in the film wasn’t quite finished, Wan and the production crew were able to seamlessly complete his performance by using old footage, body doubles and CGI work. The last few minutes in “Furious 7” (dedicated, simply, “For Paul”) are a touching tribute to him as his character, Brian, sweetly exits the franchise, choosing another road. Drive safely, Brian — and everyone.
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