"Furious 7" (2015): Movie Review

Taken by Karimelmahalawy

It’s all about family, this one.

The light scent of Spring that waltzed in late in 2015 was blasted away this weekend by a windstorm of exhaust, carbon, screaming rubber and NOS—like only Vin Diesel’s (Dominic Toretto’s) Dodge Charger can spit out. With this chaotic heated haze also comes both the revisiting of established onscreen romances and the reiteration of reinforced iron-hard bromances in “Furious 7” (2015), the latest model of the “Fast and the Furious”.  

The investment in infectiously amusing characters over the past 14 years reaches a timely maturity period in “Furious 7” to save the movie from much criticism, rendering it almost immune from the usual wrath of critics for these types of movies. Especially true following the heart wrenching tragedy that unfairly stole the ever-smiling blue-eyed Paul Walker (Brian O’Conner) from our lives in late 2013.  
Wikipedia

True to its first appeal, “Furious 7” does it right by going back to its roots—flashy cars, high-speed tracking shots, cloth shy women, immersive locations, and outrageous stunts (each one outdoing the next by both spectacle and also, unfortunately, ridiculousness). “Furious 7” screenwriter Chris Morgan and horror film director James Wan (“Saw”) also include improved combat scenes—the main highlight featuring Vin Diesel and Jason Statham (Deckard Shaw). Filmed with quick cuts, and an occasional sprinkle of point-of-view frames, at times even viewers are forced to tumble with the onscreen characters and their metal toys—plunging you face first into the dizzying effects of this turbo charged world.

The need for speed is real but the plot is pretty “meh”. In a nutshell: super villain Shaw is on a rampage to avenge his brother via a manhunt of the Furious gang (of course he is), and in an attempt to make the movie contain an added layer of “complexity” we are also given a tech object of desire, the “God’s Eye”, that is being arm wrestled for by a covert US Government agency and Djimon Hounsou (Jakande)—an angry West African dude on a helicopter ready to blast apart LA as if he’s on some midnight can’t-sleep session of GTA 5.      

Flickr

The formation of the gang, in their recognizably assigned color-coded cars (or other vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler and Bugatti Veyron), reminds one of Transformers and the Autobots, or even possibly of a group of superheroes (hint*)—each with their own unique story to tell and skill to deliver. This all works well and fine, and provides for enough high-speed loud entertainment to keep viewers satisfied. Meanwhile, occasional comic relief is provided by Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and also The Rock who has some great one-liners in there, while baritone Diesel keeps repeating the word “family” every 10 minutes. However, it is disappointing that the logical gaps between plot elements were sometimes as big as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s biceps. For instance, how does Decker know to keep appearing in the correct place every time? The gang does all that damage in the Middle East and then meet at midnight after blowing up two towers, abusing Royalty and…it goes on. But then again, sigh, you learn to go with it. You’re in for the ride, the speed, the adrenaline and not for the intricacies of structure, logic and synthesis. Buckle up; don’t question—you’ll be fine.

I have an inclination to believe that critics went soft on this movie for sympathy’s sake, and instead turned a blind eye on the overly dramatized acting, stilted dialogue and the cubbyhole of clichés. It reminds one of action movies in the 90’s, and the “The Expendables” (2010). This is what sets apart movies like the Dark Knight trilogy which have equally explosive scenes but far more substance in writing and plot development.
But honestly though, to me, the success of “Furious 7” rides in another special place—in the metanarrative space between Walker’s tragedy and the winding down story of “Furious 7”. The movie almost speaks to us through the screen, as if it knows too and feels our tugging. Throughout the movie we are on pins for Brian’s fate, knowing Walker’s already. The producers handle this tactfully and respectfully without ever evoking too much of this trauma for the audience, presenting Brian as normal as normal can be. But the end-sendoff is indeed, like another critic put it: “poetry”. A graceful sendoff both in terms of writing and symbolic cinematography—that we never truly say goodbye and that each of us has our own road to ride along when the time comes. Eyes in the theater ranged from dry, misty to downright: dam broken!
Flickr

For those who’ve already seen the movie—you’ll appreciate that while walking out I overheard one girl, between her sniffles, saying “I want to just cut all those damn trees down so I can still see him!” And that’s it, really, sometimes the last taste in your mouth is what can really shape your overall estimation of something. The sendoff to Paul was flawless, and for that we are very forgiving. Regardless of what critics say, this is a movie you won’t want to not see—I know I personally saw it in the theater for Paul’s sake. The curiosity of the human condition propels us in many ways, and this was one of them. “Furious 7” receives a 6.5/10.Adieu.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s