Back in 2001 a film titled “The Fast and Furious” roared into theaters nationwide, and since that time it has spawned six additional films rife with car crashes, explosions, car crashes, car chases, car crashes, gun battles, car crashes, more explosions and more car crashes. Below is how all seven films sound.
VARRROOOM! VARRROOOM! SQUEEEEAL! ROARRRRRR! CRASSSSSHHHH! BANNNNNGGG! KABOOOOOOM! SCREEEECH! BAMMMMM! KAPOW!
There were 110 car crashes in the first six films (I didn’t count the ones in “Furious 7.”), and if you enjoy watching loud, fast cars racing, smashing into each other, going over cliffs, and speeding off the tops of skyscrapers, “Furious 7” definitely is a movie for you. It’s also a great film to see if you haven’t had a headache for a long time and want to remember what one feels like. Nevertheless at this writing the film has earned an incredible $1.3 billion worldwide.
“Furious 6” ended when Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his buddies stopped an insane terrorist from wreaking devastation on London and left the scumbag comatose. When “Furious 7” begins, we find Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the terrorist’s brother, visiting him where lies in the hospital. As he leaves, he vows to get revenge on Dom and his crew.
Now the plot of this film is so convoluted and complex that I am not even going to attempt any kind of summation here. I will tell you, however, that Dom’s wife, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), is suffering from amnesia, and he’s trying to help her regain her memory. Also, Dom’s sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), is married to Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), a former FBI agent and one of Dom’s best buddies.
When Dom finds out that Shaw is coming after him, he gathers some of his cohorts to help him in what knows will be an all-out war. Of course when you watch a film like this, you really have to suspend your disbelief because there is no way in hell these guys could survive car crashes like this. We’re talking about driving off cliffs and the tops of skyscrapers. It’s truly incredible how they manage to steer the cars through the air.
In addition to Diesel, Walker, and Statham, a key cast member is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who reprises his role as Luke Hobbs from “Furious 6.” Hobbs is an agent for the Diplomatic Security Service, and he hooked up with Dom and company after they finished their work in Rio de Janeiro. Now if you saw the first six films in the series, that obviously means you are a big fan of the franchise, and, therefore, you probably won’t be disappointed in this movie because it’s pretty much the same as its predecessors. After all, how many different ways can you crash a car?
The director of “Furious 7” was James Wan (“Saw”), and in the film’s production notes he expressed his enthusiasm for working with the project.
“I’m a fan of the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise, first and foremost, but it was exciting for me to break out of the genre that I’m generally known for and tackle such a big and beloved series. A big part of my goal for ‘Furious 7’ was to push myself to the limit and bring something a bit different to the table. The idea of playing in a playground as big and established as this one is fascinating.”
Also in the production notes Diesel expressed his appreciation to fans of the series and explained the purpose he thinks this film served.
“The fact that the audience has allowed us to jump around in the chronology of Fast, and has been willing to take that ride and stay with us, is a feat in itself. One of the cool things about the way we’ve orchestrated the ‘Fast & Furious’ saga for the last 10 years is that nothing is accidental. Everything comes together in ‘Furious 7.’ Questions are answered, and new thoughts are proposed. If it lives in the saga, it’s a seed for something new and will be revisited.”
Actual tragedy struck during filming when Walker was killed in an automobile accident unrelated to the movie, and there was some consideration about even cancelling it. In the production notes producer Neal H. Moritz (“Jump Street”) explained the decision to continue with the film.
“After the unfortunate passing of our good friend and colleague, Paul, there was a lot of talk among us that we were going to stop and not finish this movie. After some time, it dawned on us that Paul would want us to finish it. Vin and I talked about it, and we agreed that we had to do whatever it would take to finish this movie for him. We had to continue not in spite of what happened, but actually because of it. There’s a deep respect for who Paul was as a man, as a father and as a friend, and we weren’t going to put anything on screen that ever jeopardized that.
“Then it came to how could we actually finish ‘Furious 7.’ We had shot most of the movie with Paul, but we wondered how we were actually going to make this work. I have to say, he was looking down on us. Because of unused footage that we had from previous movies and the use of new technology, we were able to complete the film inspired by Paul’s spirit and give him and his best-known character a perfect cinematic send-off. This movie is a testament to his legacy.”
When you walk into a movie starring Diesel and Johnson, you have to understand that the acting is going to resemble something you might find in a classroom at the Keanu Reeves School of Performing Arts. Thus it should come as no surprise that in many cases the performances of the cars outshine those of the human actors.
But people don’t go to films like this for the acting. Instead they want action, crashes, explosions, fights, gun battles, car races, and noise. “Furious 7” delivers on all these fronts, and fans of the franchise should be in their glory. I think if you’ve seen one of these films, you’ve seen them all, but I understand and respect the opinions of those who can’t get enough of them because that’s the way feel about franchises like James Bond, Jason Bourne, Indiana Jones, Batman, and Superman.
I’m going to break with tradition a bit here and award two final scores to this film – one for me and one for the franchise’s fans. Because I found it repetitious and poorly acted, I give it a generous five for its action, stunts, and special effects. But for all those out there who love this genre, I award the movie a conciliatory eight because I realize that anything lower would make them furious.