I’m going to go out on a limb here and say if you’ve enjoyed the previous Fast & Furious films, chances are you’ll like Furious 7.
For me, watching the film turned into a strange case of deja vu… but not because this movie was too similar to the past couple (though it was, of course).
Rather, watching Furious 7 felt like watching a hot-rod variation of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. They both feature a group of (super) heroic individuals coming together to go after a big bad. In both cases, they deal with some kind of computerized problem. And of course, the characters are colorful and varied and do all kinds of superheroic stuff. Plus, you get another bunch of characters from previous films appearing here and there which gives the audience a sense of a larger shared universe.
Granted, what I’ve just written above applies to other films but given how recently I saw AOU and then Furious 7, I couldn’t help but feel I was watching the same type of film.
Which of course leads me to match them up and, in this case, I’d rank Furious 7 over AOU. Sure, I enjoyed AOU, but the film had plenty of problems and one got the feeling that director/writer Joss Whedon was hamstrung by Disney’s higher ups. There were moments when AOU felt disjointed, as story material was cut out either in the script stage or snipped from the film itself. Though the actors appeared to have great fun and there were some really good action sequences, the apparent flaws killed many people’s enjoyment of AOU, though these flaws weren’t big enough to kill mine. Still, I would acknowledge it was far from one of the best of the Marvel films.
Getting back to Furious 7, you would think that this film might have even more continuity problems given the tragic death of actor/co-star Paul Walker. His role in this film would wind up being his last one as he died in a horrific car accident only a couple of weeks before his filming ended.
For a while, there was concern the film would be scrapped but enough of it was already “in the can” that whatever extra scenes were left for Mr. Walker to fill could be done via the magic of previous cut footage from other F&F films and computer effects. Further, because of Mr. Walker’s death the focus of the film had to be changed as well to pay tribute to his character and acknowledge that this would be his last round with the F&F crew.
Given all this, its amazing that Furious 7 feels very much like a complete film. Yes, there are times, especially during the final shots of Mr. Walker’s character riding off, that look like they were created in a computer, but nonetheless the film feels very much like what was intended and, by its end, pays a very heartfelt respect to Mr. Walker.
Furious 7’s plot is rather standard but not uninteresting: The bigger, badder brother of one of the previous villains our cast faced (Jason Statham basically delivering his Transporter character to the F&F universe…but he’s a bad guy this time around!) goes after them. To get to him, they have to get their hands on the “God’s Eye”, a computer program that simultaneously looks though and analyzes information from ALL cameras and computer devices in the world.
And it would appear the villain -while he isn’t trying to kill the F&F cast- is after the device as well…
Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw proves a very nice addition to the F&F universe. These films, while entertaining, never had a truly recognizable big bad to match the good guys up against (No disrespect to the previous actors involved, but I’m having a hard time remembering the villains from the past films, other than the “surprise” villain in F6). With Jason Statham, we have a very recognizable star as your menace, doubly so as he’s somewhat cast against type: He’s played good guys in so many features but can do bad guys quite well (check out his turn in Cellular if you don’t believe me).
A few more familar faces show up to liven things, including the always welcome Kurt Russell in a smallish role as an amiable government spook and MMA superstar Ronda Rousey in a cameo appearance as a security guard who goes toe to toe against Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty.
In conclusion, I enjoyed Furious 7. The movie moved quickly (no pun intended) and featured enough humor and action to sate your appetite. Is the film a classic? No.
But it is a pretty damn entertaining popcorn action film that pays a very respectful tribute to its real life fallen star.
Bring on Furious 8.