A fitting Sendoff for Paul Walker
Ok everyone. Turn off your brains. Let's talk about Furious 7. Now, I know there's gonna be a lot of hate attached to this film. After all, it is the DEFINITION of a big stupid action film. You turn your brain off, you stop thinking about physics, you get comfortable with your popcorn, and you watch a Fast and Furious movie. That's how it works. And Furious 7 is simply more of the same that was delivered from the last two installments. Which, really, when you think about this franchise, you think 1 and 2 were too serious, 3 just flat-out sucked, 4 began the formula that was improved on by 5 and perfected by 6 and used again in 7. What's this formula, you ask? Well, you know how I've talked about how I loooove films that acknowledge what they are and have fun with their premises? Ya. The Fast and Furious franchise basically invented that sort of film. These films are over-the-top, the filmmakers know they are over-the-top, and they have an absolutely blast with themselves. Can we race a car between 3 skyscrapers? No? LET'S DO IT. Can we go skydiving with a car? No? LET'S DO IT. And let's ACTUALLY do it in real life too! That's the other thing that makes this franchise awesome: it's not CGI porn like Michael Bay films! They actually drove cars out of a plane and filmed those shots of skydiving in cars. Even the CGI-created shots weren't clusterf*cks and looked pretty real. The action in general is incredibly well-shot, where you don't get totally discombobulated by something and know where everything is in correlation to everything else. Why can't all action films be shot like Fast and Furious?
But then, the film takes a turn. And that brings me to my next point. In the third act, the film takes a very unexpected and legitimate turn into the realm of the dramatical, and I'll tell you why. So, if you've seen these films, you know that our main characters can survive pretty much anything. Falling out of a plane at 60 miles an hour on a 100 mile runway? (That pissed me off in Furious 6. I mean c'mon. Even with the brain turned off that runway must've spanned 100+ miles) Nah. No problem. Just a bruise. I was in a car so I was ok. But, because of what happened in real life to Paul Walker, these guys actually feel human. There's some great writing and some great scenes that make you believe that someone is going to die. And, while I will obviously allow you to discover what happens for yourself, I will say the sendoff they give Paul Walker was brilliant. There was not a dry eye in the audience, including my own. He truly received the sendoff he deserved in this film. You will be missed, Paul.
That said, there are still quite a few flaws with this film. Let's start with the acting. All these actors are basically playing themselves, which is fine mind you, with only Jason Statham and Paul Walker doing much of anything in terms of acting. Kurt Russell is only in it for the paycheck, and his character is also fairly poorly written too. But then there's Tyrese Gibson. His character has been in several of the films, and each time he's become more and more ridiculous. Finally, in this film, it was too much. Dear Tyrese Gibson and Furious 7 writer Chris Morgan: shut the hell up. I don't know if there are gonna be more of these films (let's be real-no way they let this series die) but if there are, can we please cut out Tyrese? He's.....just.....bad....cringeworthy bad. All the bad and no good. He has maybe two funny lines as the "comedic relief", but everything else sucks. It's really depressing to think that all these over-the-top action films are adopting the Michael Bay formula of including that one ridiculous character who's out of place and screams at everything. Least here he's not being played by some super high-profile actor who's only in it for the paycheck like in Michael Bay films. (Looking at you, Stanley Tucci) But then there's the objectification. Ok. I get that this is a guy film. It's target audience is the straight American male. It's ok to have booty shots in a film like this. Especially when you have a lead female character who's a total badass in Michelle Rodriguez. But Furious 7 takes booty shots to a whole new level. There is so much objectification of women in this film. Too much. It made me seriously uncomfortable to see Furious 7 top its predecessors in terms of how much booty (and tits, for that matter) it could get in its 137 minute film. But, my biggest problem in this regard come from a conversation between Ludacris and Tyrese claiming dibs on a girl who, just a few minutes ago in the film, was the damsel in distress. Really? She's just been through an incredibly traumatic experience that would kill someone in real life and, rather than comforting her, you're gonna claim dibs on her? Really? And then, for good measure, two seconds later she's in a bikini. Ok! Guess it's fine nothing to see or complain about here.....
So, to sum up, Furious 7 is a good film. It's fun, mindless action that's a great way to kick off the summer blockbuster season with a fitting sendoff for the best actor of the franchise. But, I'm probably not changing anyone's minds on the film. If you dislike the franchise, you aren't gonna like this film, if you enjoy the franchise, you will. It's essentially more of the same. Just...if you like Paul Walker, watch this. Oh crap! Ya. So Paul Walker died very, VERY early on in the filming of this movie. In case you didn't know. They used his brothers as stand-ins for the film, and used a combination of past scenes he was in and past dialogue to recreate him and keep him in the movie for the scenes they needed. There was some master CGI work done here by James Wan and company for Paul Walker that makes this movie well worth the watch to see the power of illusion cinema has nowadays. Well done on this front, guys. Oh ya. And the car porn is still perfect. If you think effectively shooting a car scene is easy, go watch Need for Speed. It's not. And this franchise still does it better than anyone else.
The Critique: While more of the same, Furious 7 delivers wildly enjoyable over-the-top thrills with an unexpectedly dramatic final act. The perfect sendoff for Paul Walker.
The Recommendation: car fans, rejoice! Furious 7 still knows how to deliver great car porn. A must-watch for car fans everywhere, as well as Paul Walker fans everywhere.
The Verdict: 7/10 Good.