I am an unabashed fan of the Fast & Furious series. They offer a unique and diverse cast and are some of the most fun movies to go watch these days; the stunts keep getting bigger and better and the cast has amazing chemistry. I was very sad when Paul Walker died during filming and was particularly interested to see how that tragedy would affect the movie. Overall, the movie seems pretty unaffected and the coda they add to the end that acknowledges that Walker’s character has to leave the movies is tasteful and well done. Furious 7 opens immediately after the end of the last film, where the team is trying to get back into civilian life; Brian (Paul Walker) is trying deal with just being a father and putting his exciting life behind him while Dom (Vin Diesel) tries to help Letty (Michelle Rodriquez) remember her life with him before she got amnesia. Early retirement is a fleeting dream however, when Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) starts a feud with the team when he kills Han (Sung Kang) and steals information about the team from Hobbs (The Rock) in retaliation for what happened in the last movie to his little brother. The team comes together and track down a hacker who has the technology to track down anybody around the world. Along the way, they parachute cars into the Caucasus Mountains, jump a million dollar car between three skyscrapers in Dubai and the movie culminates with a game of keep away in LA between a bunch of cars, a helicopter a drone manned by Shaw and his mercenary ally Mose Jakande (Djimon Hounsou) and a small army of soldiers.
The movie is actually kind of complicated to recap, but that shouldn’t be surprising since there have been seven movies and this movie looks back at them a lot more than most of movies do; people have died, come back to life, died in the future only for that future to actually be the present… it’s convoluted. But ultimately it doesn’t matter because the movie is fun and mostly self-contained. Mostly. The first race of the movie takes place in the desert around LA with characters and settings from the very first movie, Dom and Brian’s families are living Dom’s original house from the first one and the movie ends on the streets of LA, right where the first one started. With all of that and the death of Paul Walker, this movie definitely has the feeling of being the last one in the series, even though there is going to be at least two more.
This is complete hyperbole on my part for a movie series like this one, but things are definitely going to feel different without him in the films and I almost wish that they would just end it with this one. His central role in the series connects everybody together and creates the family that Dom talks about so often. His role and the movies evolved quite a bit; it went from him being the lead to a feeling where just about everybody in the film is a co lead. He brought a sense of humanity and emotional connection that Vin Diesel is not always capable of doing. I’m sure that the movies going forward will be fine, but they will be missing something much more important than most people realize.
The rest of the cast is solid; everybody on the team is so comfortable in their role that it’s easy to overlook them. Tyrese Gibson is especially good in a scene at a party where he has to make a fool of himself and buy the group some time so that their caper can be pulled off. It’s the type of scene that you have seen a thousand times but he pulls it off better than most. The Rock is barely in the film but he has a fantastic fight scene at the beginning of the movie with Jason Statham and he is injected into the climax of the film in a truly bonkers and fun way. It’s fantastic.
The standout of the cast, for me, is Jason Statham. I forgot how dynamic and intimidating he can be in an action flick but he is outstanding in this film. He fights The Rock, who may or may not be fully human, to a standstill and you buy it 100%. His movement has a great sense of power and fluidity to it that you don’t often see. The movie does a fun thing with him where he shows up for every action scene about two-thirds of the way through it; chaos has already started, cars and guns are firing left and right and then he shows up to take it all to an even higher level of danger and chaos. It’s an excellent way to heighten the sense of danger and excitement over and over again throughout the movie. These movies one weakness has been forgettable antagonists but this movie corrects that problem perfectly.
These movies have been coming out for about a decade now and they continue to be some of the best, most entertaining movies a person can go see. It’s easy to make fun of how much Dom talks about family in the most recent ones, but it’s kind of true what he says; they are a family and the movies express that in what can be a pretty heartfelt way. There is something nice about watching a movie series that is so racially diverse succeed over and over again despite Hollywood’s seeming indifference to the whole thing; I mean really, where are the bad knockoffs of this formula with a nameless multiethnic cast of beautiful people American audiences would never recognize? Furious 7 and its predecessors are great movies that offer an absurd amount of entertainment that anybody should enjoy. If you don’t, you have forgotten how to have fun.