Furious 7 – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Furious 7Furious 7 – 3.5/5 – In most cases, films start to get worst when it furthers in the series past number three.  Usually, when you get this far into the series have their stories stretched, added way too many characters and rely more on the ‘flash’ and ‘bang’ method to create something semblance of film.  In most cases; this would mean an end of a saga.  When it comes to the seventh film in the Fast and Furious saga; it is not the case.  When it comes to this series, all typical tropes, clichés and archetypes are used in a way that balances the thread of being barely believable.  With the Seventh film; everything is taken up another notch, but is still entertaining in its own right.  Even with some glaring flaws, Furious 7 is a pure popcorn entertainment on steroids.

Premise:  In the aftermath of Fast and Furious 6; the brother of Own Shaw shows up to seek revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family.  As Dom travels further into the world of espionage, where things are taken further, and where some people may not make it out the same.

I will not go into deep detail of the character list; if you want to see the list you can refer to the IMDB page.  For the returning the cast; they are entrenched in their roles by the seventh film.  Even if they are entrenched, they are very much strong representation of any action film archetypes.  Even for them being caricatures; it doesn’t drown out how much you’ve grown with certain characters.  This ‘growth’ adds a raw emotional fervor to how you watch them in this film.  From Dom, Letty to Brian and Mia; you have a sense of ‘knowing’ who they are and feel the tension in every action they take.  A standout in the current cast (as has been in other films), is Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs.  He has grown into this role since Fast 5.  For the short time that he is on screen doesn’t hinder his presence.  His suave and charm controls your attention.  He knows how to be staunch as the ‘military’ guy but commanding on screen.   For the new additions, you have Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw and Kurt Russell as ‘Mr. Nobody’.  They both add some colorful depth to what this film has grown to be, but it is Statham that takes it to another level.  He takes on a new persona being the ‘bad guy’; and you definitely feel it.  He exudes raw intensity in his villainy.  Being the brother of Owen Shaw (Fast and Furious 6) he shows up in this film on a path of vengeance.  He becomes a very big ‘thorn’ in the side of the main cast.  His causes havoc when he shows up, and when he does you feel that raw intensity of the situation.  You have a very sense of ‘vulnerability’, not knowing if you’re going to make it out alive.  For the secondary cast (and some of the other new additions); they felt more like unnecessary additions.  It becomes glaringly obvious that some people in the cast were there just for namesake.  Even for the obviousness; it barely takes away from the main cast.

The direction is a mix bag of typical blockbuster/action spectacle with confusing plotlines.   Going into this (being the seventh), you already know what to expect.  Unlike other blockbuster films that get drown in this technicality; this film is very ‘self-aware’ of what it is this far in the series.  It never tries to be anything more than ‘popcorn’ entertainment.  This allows the film to just stay on the pedal (no pun intended) creating sensationalism that is all more enthralling.  You want to see how far they can go, and how many more ‘unbelievable’ moments they can make ‘believable’.  New director James Wan finds a way to push the limits while keeping the ‘context’ of the Furious tone intact.  This film picks up from the sixth one; where the brother of Owen Shaw shows up and starts to cause havoc for Toretto and his ‘Family’.  From here, the film boils down to all the typical action that make this film an adrenaline rush:

Over-the-top sequences

Implausible survival moments

Action oriented one-liners

Ultimate confrontation of ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ guy.

For most the film; the ‘spectacle’ does a good job in creating a single thread that keeps your mind focused on the fun.  For how much this is a positive, it also causes a chance for the negatives to bleed over.  This is when the plot begins to mesh into some confusing threads, and you begin to wonder how anything can be plausible.  After the initial introduction of Deckard Shaw and his ‘shadow’ like presence in causing havoc; the plot goes into a convoluted web of shadow agencies; unnecessary ‘macguffin’ like and ‘black op’ plot devices; forced emotional scenes (in the beginning) and unneeded ‘bad’ guys/cameo.  This creates a lot of ‘what if’ scenarios for the direction.  We see that the director takes liberties to create a sense of connection through convenient setups and outcomes in a huge part of the film.  At the same time, the director does a good job keeping emphasis on the main characters.  He finds a way to keep you engrossed till the final act.  When you get the final parts of the film; it is a mix bag of raw action elements that make the outcome like icing on the cake.  From the sequences, to the fights and unsolicited one-liners; you enjoy that this film finds a way to bleeds entertainment with characters you want to see good things happen.  The last few minutes of the film will pull on the emotional strings for the fans of the series; as the final moments with Paul Walker’s character will have you in tears.

The visuals play on the strings of the strong tropes of action films.  You have the explosions, colorful locations and amazing sequences that link to the rawness that makes the action believable.  Even when it goes into the realm of implausible feats; you still feel the intensity at its core.  The score is a mix bag of typical hip-hop songs and cliché action ‘loudness’; but it never hinders the film.

Furious Seven is another crazy, fun and amazing action film; and another great addition for this series.  It follows in the new turn that this franchise took in Fast Five.  Even if it doesn’t hit the nods in being a great ‘singular’ film; it still entertains you from beginning to the end.  For all that said, I recommend this for fans of the series as well as those who enjoying action blockbuster.  You will not be disappointed.

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