Directed by James Wan
April 1, 2015 (TCL Chinese Theatre) / April 3, 2015 (United States)
After the death of Han and a bombing of his house, Dominic Toretto hunts down Deckard Shaw who is seeking revenge for his comatose younger brother Owen.
One thing I must say is Furious 7 did a better job in using the tropes of the superspy genre than the James Bond films have done in recent years. Never thought that day would come. While Furious 7 is not specifically a superspy film, this does have what could be viewed as a superweapon created via super science in the form of God’s Eye which is a computer program that uses digital devices to track down a person. That is the type of thing found in the genre. There are also cool tech, beautiful cars, and exotic locations with a focus on action. James Wan understood that the movie should be fun without being funny.
The whole plot of Furious 7 is not dark and dreary and heavy on one single character. These are good guys fighting bad guys. This is not an emotionally addled good guy where every problem connects back to him somehow even if he did not actually cause it. What we have here are the consequences of doing the right thing and an extension of the overt family theme the series is known for.
It goes without saying Furious 7 was also a good swan song for Paul Walker. They did a good job of sending his character of Brian O’Connor off. He was not killed but rather got a happy ending with Mia (Jordana Brewster). Even though she is Brian’s wife and Dom’s sister her presence felt a bit forced at points. This may have been due to adding or changing of elements of the film due to the death of Paul Walker.
They were a little stuck here since one of their major players had died in an auto accident and they did manage to do a good job with creative editing and modern effects and what they had completed in crafting a story that ran a little smoother than the film The Crow which encountered a similar issue when its star Brandon Lee was accidentally killed on set.
They did lay on Brian’s particular family aspect a bit thick. They were practically flinging his son at the camera shouting “LOOK! HE HAS A KID NOW AND IS A DAD!” every chance they had to show you he was a dad now. Strangely for some reason with only one child Brian invested in a large minivan. I could see a large size sedan but a minivan? The kid was not even in kindergarten, so it is not like they were carting around a lot of sports equipment or whatever to different things or they had several other children to drive around as well. And why does he need to take his kid to daycare? By all indications he was living off the Rio money and had no job. It was all just a heavy handed attempt to demonstrate domestication.
Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are dealing with Letty’s limited memory and her deep emotional wounds from the events of the last two film. She feels like a person out of place and has deep emotional wounds from what she went through. There was some fine acting on the part of Michelle Rodriguez here. And the moments between Letty and Dom really click. They were moments of pain and deep love that came through to the audience.
The character of Ramsey (Nathalie Joanne Emmanuel) was I guess meant to subvert the stereotype of the nerdy looking computer geek but given the number of beautiful people that appear in this or any of these movies having that type of character would have just stuck out. It would have been incongruent with everything else and I do not think the audience would have bought it even though that feels like it should be more likely than a computer hacker that looks amazing in a bikini.
Lucas Black briefly reprises his role of American street racer in Tokyo Sean Boswell from Tokyo Drift when Dom goes to Tokyo to claim Han’s body. Not sure how Dom was able to do that but whatevs. I expected that to be the jumping point for the return of Sean, but they talked a little about Han and that was about it. It was a scene served to completely bring the films since Tokyo Drift up to the present as it connected to a post credits scene in that film.
Kurt Russell joins the cast as the mysterious Mr. Nobody who leads a covert ops team that joins forces with Dom and his team. In their deal Dom gets Shaw and Mr. Nobody gets the God’s Eye program and to stop the terrorist trying to obtain it and its creator Ramsey.
Jason Statham is great as Deckard Shaw and just does what he always does with every other character, but it works. He is a man whose attitude is “I have no time for your s**t” and can kick ass on an epic level. That moment at the hospital alone is just awesome and all we see is the aftermath. His focus is getting revenge because he has always looked out for his brother. In that aspect his motivations are not too far removed from Dom’s.
Speaking of Diesel and Statham, we get an epic throwdown between the two in the finale. This was a gift to action fans because who does not want to see these two stars go at it? And as a bonus we also got to see Johnson and Statham go at it as well.
Dwayne Johnson returns as DSS agent Luke Hobbs. His involvement is not as big as the previous two times though. He just gets the ball rolling and shows up again at the end. He does however get one of the coolest moments in the series when he takes down a drone with an ambulance. Then he tops it off with ripping out the drone’s gun and shooting it at the film’s other villain Mose Jakande (Djimon Hounsou).
Jakande is a Nigerian-born terrorist who has teamed with Shaw. I think the film could have easily been done without the character but Hounsou was still good in the role. Jakande felt too much like a side character and not one that was important to the story. I would guess his addition was to keep the film from being a straight repeat of Fast 6. Think about it. If Jakande’s actions were done by Deckard he would have been no different of a character than Owen and the film would have been just a retread.
Elsa Pataky returns as Elena Neves. Tyrese Gibson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges return as Roman Pearce and Tej Parker respectively. Even though Brian and Roman are childhood friends, the relationship between Tej and Roman felt closer. They teased and tormented each other like old friends can. When it came to Brian and Roman, there was no connection with Roman feeling almost like an afterthought to the character of Brian.
The finale of Furious 7 is an over-the-top destruction filled missile and bullet spectacular…with cars! The teams plan is to hack the God’s Eye program and take back control from Jakande all the while keeping Ramsey out of reach of Jakande while Dom confronts Deckard Shaw. Poor downtown Los Angeles. Jakande is killed and Shaw winds up in a super-secret CIA prison.
We get a post story wrap up where everyone is on the beach and Brian drives off into the sunset followed by a series of flashbacks with Walker as O’Connor. It is a touching tribute to the character as well as the actor.
The action direction by James Wan is just superb. The man is a great director. He has done fantastic stuff with horror films as well as with Aquaman and he handles this movie perfectly.
Furious 7 is a great movie. It has got action and excitement and a good story. Watch it!