Note: This is your spoiler warning. I’m probably not going to hold anything back, so if you haven’t seen the movie and want to remain spoiler-free, stop reading now.
I’ve written previously about my love of the Fast and Furious franchise of movies and, with few reservations, the latest offering lives up to my expectations. Actually, it kind of exceeded them. I talked a bit about this on Episode 21 of Pale Blue Geek, but I want to go into a bit more depth.
I read a spoiler-free discussion of Furious 7 before I saw the movie and was aware, maybe to my detriment, that the cinematography was going to be a bit different than the other movies. Unfortunately, this was correct and my only real complaint about the movie was that some of the scenes, especially early on and during a later fight between Vin Diesel and Jason Statham, made me feel a bit ill. Not that they were gross or anything, but the camera work was a bit too much for me. I think that when I watch it again on a TV screen, it will have less of an impact. I am not a fan of the shaky cam at all and while it wasn’t really shaking all that much, there was so much movement that I had to look away a few times. But it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the film, which was nice.
I do have one other complaint, which Amanda mentioned on the podcast. It is, to me, very minor and not even really a complaint. A lot of the dialogue was really cheesy, obviously some of it was cheesy on purpose and this was fine. Some of it was cheesy, possibly not on purpose and this was, well, also okay. I don’t mind giving the dialogue a pass — I do wish it could’ve been better (it should’ve been better, but the dialogue in Tokyo Drift was also very bad, so you know, it could’ve been worse), but I’m willing to forgive the movie it’s dialogue because, come on, it’s a F&F movie and all the important elements were still there.
Which leads us into the meat of this review. Honestly, I only have a few expectations for F&F movies — fast cars, things that make me laugh, explosions and family — lots of family. Furious 7 gave me all of these things — and then some awesomeness on top of that. The plot of the movie is simple enough — at the end of Furious 6 we find out who killed Han in Tokyo Drift, which is how Furious 7 starts. Jason Statham’s character, Deckard Shaw, is seeking revenge for the almost-killing of his little brother (the baddie from Furious 6). He shows up in Hobb’s office (Hobb is played by Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock) and there’s a really nice fight, but what Shaw discovers is Dom (Vin Diesel’s character) and his team. This starts him on a witchhunt to take down the F&F crew.
Bad things happen, Dom goes to Tokyo to bring Han home, we have cameos by the main Tokyo Drift kiddies (now adults, but still looking like the teenagers they were in Tokyo Drift. And then, somewhere along the way, Brian (the late Paul Walker) and Dom end up working for (and with) the government — the agent they work with isn’t Hobbs, he’s laid up in the hospital with his adorable daughter (we also have a nice cameo by Elsa Pataky’s Elena, who is still awesome and I wish she was in the movie more), instead it’s Kurt Russell, who is amusing and his own share of terrible lines.
There are handful of really good scenes between Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) which culminates in her leaving Dom, but Kurt Russell brings her back — because the team has to go being a heist movie. Their goal? To rescue a hacker, known only by the name Ramsey, and the computer program (think the Machine from Person of Interest), the hacker designed. The heist is pretty awesome and I won’t spoil that for you — but I will spoil the hacker for you. You see, when we (and Roman) think of hackers, we think of pasty white guys with nerdy glasses. But if there’s one thing you can trust about F&F it’s that they love to subvert stereotypes. Our hacker? IS A GIRL. SHE IS A GIRL and it is AMAZING. She’s snarky and brave and badass in her own hackery ways and she is SUPER fantastic. She’s played by British actress Nathalie Emmanuel and I love her SO MUCH.
So,they get Ramsey, but they don’t have the device she created and so they have to go to Abu Dhabi because of course they do. Stuff happens, fights happen (Letty gets to be awesome fighting other ladies YET AGAIN) and cars happen, because this is F&F of course. They get the device, they try to take down Shaw and fail (because of course he’s prepared, he’s not dumb). And it turns out that he’s teamed up with Tony Jaa* (Kiet) and Djimon Hounsou (Mose Jakande) who were Ramsey’s original kidnappers.
So now all the baddies are working together and so the crew decides to go back to the States and fight them on home turf. Drama happens. Things blow up. The good guys win and The Rock has a giant gun and I really wanted him to punch the drone, but he didn’t. And those are all the spoilers for the end of the movie because I have to leave something to the imagination.
That brings us to the very end of the film. Throughout the movie, you almost felt like Paul Walker’s Brian was going to die. That didn’t happen, some people think it would’ve been crass, I wouldn’t have minded. But what does happen is that Mia (Dom’s sister and Brian’s wife) is pregnant with the couple’s second child and they decide to give up racing/etc in favor of raising their family away from the violence of street racing/catching bad guys/etc. Obviously this isn’t the last of the F&F movies to be made, but it is the last for Paul Walker. So, after the lovely beach scene where the three is watching Brian, Mia and little Jack, we get a nice, long look at the faces of the crew. Everyone is really, really sad — because we’re leading into the tribute to the late Paul Walker.
Obviously I was already crying as soon as the beach scene started. It was heartbreaking (I was really upset when Paul Walker died in 2013, I can’t believe it’s been that long). So, at the end of the movie they had Dom drive off and then Brian catches up to him and is like, are you really going to leave without saying goodbye? And I’m sobbing so hard now, because of course I am. And then they drive off and we fade into clips of Brian in the previous movies and MY HEART HURTS, Y’ALL. It hurts. I cry too loud and I don’t care.
If you want to see gifs from the final scene, check out this link sent to me by my lovely dad.
For more on the new director of the movie, check out this link:
- From Evil to Diesel: “Furious 7” Director James Wan on bringing insidious skills to an action franchise. (Fast Company/Co.Create)
So, what’s my verdict? Even if you haven’t seen any other F&F movies (which you should, if you haven’t), you can go see and totally enjoy Furious 7. It’s a fun ride (ha ha) and while the acting/etc isn’t the best, it’s hard to care about that. The end probably won’t impact you as much as those of us who’ve been watching from the beginning, but that’s okay, too. So, yes, GO SEE IT. What are you waiting for?
*Note about Tony Jaa. He’s Thai martial artist and while the rest of the fight scenes in F&F were enjoyable, his were magnificent. I really need to go watch more stuff with him in it because I really, REALLY loved watching him fight — especially since he spent most of his time fighting Brian (Paul Walker, a student double and/or his brother) who is not nearly as experienced. Imagine me swooning a tiny bit, okay?