Saturday, November 7, 2015

Furious 7

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  I'm not a car guy but I sure do love the roar of the engines and the fast action these films provide.

Furious 7 – 4 out of 5

I guess you can say that the Fast and the Furious franchise is a guilty pleasure of mine but I’ve recently decided to stop using that term.  There’s no reason why something you enjoy should make you feel guilty.  If something entertains you—in any way, shape or form—then enjoy the hell out of it and don’t call it a guilty pleasure.  For example, I think the Final Destination films are stupid but stupidly fun and I get entertainment from that.  In a similar fashion, I openly admit that the Fast films are popcorn action spectacles filled with fast cars, insane action and gratuitous amounts of scantily clad ladies always making their way into shots but I find them fun for that.  In all honesty, the only film in the series I didn’t really care for was the second one but this one—Furious 7—was the most insane of all the films they’ve done so far and, you know what?  It was a goddamn blast!!!  (That’s right, a “blast” with three freakin’ exclamation points.)

Young lady, that skirt is way too short.  You are not going out dressed like that.

He's on the phone trying to get Liam Neeson to be
in the next film.
After leaving Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) in a broken state in the last film, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) seem like they are going to settle into a relatively normal life.  However, Shaw’s brother Deckard (Jason Statham) is out for revenge.  After killing Han (Sung Kang)—the events seen in Tokyo Drift—and severely injuring Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), he sets his sights on taking out Dom and his crew.  However, a mysterious man calling himself Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) gets Dom and Brian’s team; Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris), and offers them a unique opportunity.  A terrorist by the name of Jakande (Djimon Housou) is after a super computer program called The God’s Eye and he kidnaps a hacker named Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) to help him use it.  If Dom, Brian and the gang can get The God’s Eye, Mr. Nobody’s strike team will help them take out Deckard.

Hmm, Diesel is picking up a car.  You know what?  Fuck it.  At this point, these
characters are basically superheroes.

You can hate these films all you want but you gotta hand
it to the series for the stunts they do.
Furious 7 is basically a balls-to-the-walls, non-stop, adrenaline-laced, nitrous oxide-boosted thrill ride of popcorn action and spectacle that is hurled at your face with absolutely no fucks given…and I loved every goddamn second of it.  Haters of this franchise like to thumb their noses at the films and act like their intelligence is automatically higher because they don’t like it.  Over and over again I’ve been called stupid because I want to veg out and enjoy a wild action film like this once and awhile but one thing they never take into consideration is the powers behind these films are anything but lacking in intelligence.  The films wouldn’t be making the money and be one of the biggest franchises out there if they weren’t completely immersed in the psyches of their target demographic.  The series is also smart in the fact that it keeps trying to remain fresh.  When you compare this outing to the first film, there’s almost like they are from two different genres.  The films are now heist/crime thrillers and no longer racing films with a hint of crime action thrown in.  This feature continues with the new direction the franchise went and having Dom and the gang as basically vigilante superheroes in supped up cars continues to prove to be a working formula.  The action may be mindless but the production behind sure know what the fuck they are doing.

Sometimes I just want mindless explosions instead of deep characters and
rich dialogue.

Every Furious film has offered up sweet fast-pace action and this one is definitely no exception.  In fact, the action that comes into play might be some of the best and most excitingly constructed action I’ve seen.  Whether it’s the intense rescue of Ramsey from the hands of Jakande’s right hand man played by Tony Jaa or the all-out war that explodes across the scene and culminates in The Rock blasting every living thing to hell with a BFG, the action is blood-pumping, energetic and flippin’ exciting.  It was an odd choice to have horror director James Wan take on a Fast film but he not only proved that he was up to the challenge but the way he constructed every shot and the sweeping, dynamic camera movements during the fun that he proved to be an extremely versatile director and that the depths of his talent clearly have no bottom.

For example, this scene in a rolling bus between Paul Walker and Tony Jaa
was extra amazing, awesome and exciting.

It would have been even cooler if he was playing
Jack Burton.
One thing that kinda surprised me a bit was with the cast.  It’s already freaking cool as shit that Kurt Russell was brought on because that man is cooler than cool and has a resume made up of some of my all-time favorite films.  Additionally, I really enjoyed Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw.  I’m honestly not the biggest fan of Statham—I don’t care for the Transporter films or the Expendable movies—but in the right role in the right film, I really enjoy the man and he was a perfect antagonist for the story.  Additionally, I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris in this sequel.  In previous films, I didn’t really care for their performances or their characters because I found them very uninteresting and the performances to be a little hacky—I always found them to be trying too hard to either be funny or be cool.  However, in this one, I found I really enjoyed them.  In fact, I actually found myself laughing at Gibson’s antics—something I never did in the other films.

Statham, seen here in what I can only describe as the cover to his
acoustic emo rock album.

Speaking of the cast, this film was the last feature to have Paul Walker in it due to his untimely death.  Overall, the production did a great job of using face-replacement, body doubles and digital scene swaps from previous films to fill in what they weren’t able to get before Walker passed.  More importantly, though, the story does a tremendous job of closing off Brian’s part of the family’s journey and it created something that offered closure and offered it up with a heaping dose of emotion.  It was honestly very hard to not cry watching it.  I’m not saying I did because I totes didn’t.  Someone broke into my home and started cutting onions and the speed at which they entered my domicile caused dust to stir and get in my eyes but I certainly didn’t cry.

This was very sweet--SHUT UP!  You're the one crying.

Hey, Lucas Black is back.  I wonder if we'll ever see him
in another one...
My complaints about the film are very few.  For example, the story is in a little bit of need for some further development.  This especially comes into play with Djimon Hounsou’s character.  While his placement makes sense it doesn’t stop him from feeling like he was a last minute addition to the story.  Additionally, the film expands on Letty’s amnesia and decides to resolve it but both its resolution and its treatment is very lackluster and very sloppily thrown into the mix.  Finally, I was a little disappointed that The Rock was written out of most of the story but when he comes back into play when the film’s mini-war starts up, this complaint becomes null and void because he makes a show that would rival his best wrestling match he’s ever done.

Looking at this picture will instantly cause you to go through puberty.
If you've already gone through puberty, prepare to go through it again.

Like I said, I won’t call Furious 7 a guilty pleasure because this movie is just hardcore popcorn action movie greatness.  James Wan makes the movie look fantastic, the cast is great, the stunts are eye-poppingly incredible, the action is exciting as hell and it continues to prove why this franchise makes butt loads of cash and that it isn’t slowing down and getting complacent.  From beginning to end, the film is a slick spectacle of insanity and it’s a freakin’ blast to sit through.

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