Main cast: Vin Diesel (Dominic Toretto), Paul Walker (Brian O’Conner), Dwayne Johnson (Luke Hobbs), Michelle Rodriguez (Letty Ortiz), Jordana Brewster (Mia Toretto-O’Conner), Tyrese Gibson (Roman Pearce), Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges (Tej Parker), Djimon Hounsou (Mose Jakande), Nathalie Emmanuel (Megan Ramsey), Elsa Patasky (Elena Neves), Tony Jaa (Kiet), Kurt Russell (Frank Petty), and Jason Statham (Deckard Shaw)
Director: James Wan
It has been quite some time since Paul Walker and his friend rode a fast car away from this world, but watching Furious 7 reopens a can of bittersweet feelings. The world has lost a pair of beautiful blue eyes and a whole lot of pretty, sigh, so hopefully Mr Walker is happy wherever he is now, maybe taking acting lessons with angels and what not. I’m sure most of us heard that he died while the filming of Furious 7 was only halfway done, so the movie folks had Mr Walker’s two brothers stood in for the rest of the film, with some studio magic being used to tinker the appearance and voice so that what resulted would be as close to the real deal as possible.
The end result is a bit odd, as “Paul Walker” seems to be shorter at certain camera angles, heh, while “his” face can seem very plastic at times. But maybe this is the best the studio people could do under this circumstance, and they gave Brian O’Conner a happy ending instead of taking the easy way out and killing him off in one of the many explosions in this movie.
Anyway, Furious 7. If you have watched The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, you will know that Han Seoul-Oh died in what seemed like a random accident during a race. Furious 7 takes place after that movie, and we now learn that Han was actually murdered. You see, the villain apparently stood and waited until Han just happened to have his car in the right position, and then crashed a car into his, and as Han lay there wounded in his car, dropped a bomb near that fellow, and oops, dead. I know, it all seems way too random to come together like some kind of master plan, but this movie has even more bad science, absurd physics, and plot holes than before, so let’s just nod and smile while going along with the script.
It turns out that Han’s death is just the beginning. Next, a bomb goes off in Brian’s home, although Brian, Mia, their son Jack, and the visiting Dom (still blue when Letty decides to say goodbye in order to find herself and her memories back, but don’t worry, she comes back soon enough) are not even a little injured, thanks to their plot armor. Meanwhile, Hobbs stumbles upon the villain who casually uses Hobb’s PC to determine the identities of Dom and friends, and decides to pull out his wrestling moves. His assistant Elena joins the fun, but the grenades come out and Hobbs ends up badly injured. The whole gang realizes that they are now being targeted. Worse, the villain is Deckard Shaw, the brother of the guy they put away in the previous movie, Deckard was a black-op assassin until the government tried to de-commission him permanently, and now he wants revenge on his brother’s behalf. I also suspect that Deckard must have sixth sense or something, because he can show up anywhere and anytime, even running to overtake a sports car and helping a small army of terrorists into the country and the city – with all their weapons and explosives – without being detected.
That’s basically the story. To take down Deckard, the gang need to know where he is, so – despite the fact that Deckard tends to show up every time they take a sneeze – they need to work with secret agent Frank Petty to rescue a hacker named Ramsey from some terrorists. Ramsey has the God’s Eye, a program that can hack into any surveillance device, cameras, call phones, et cetera to locate anything and everything. If they can save Ramsey and retrieve God’s Eye, they have Frank’s permission to use it to locate Deckard. Never mind that he shows up twice during the proceeding to shoot everybody – no, they need to locate him before they can start to finish him off. That makes sense!
The problem with Furious 7 is that, while the previous movies always have a cartoon-like element in how over the top they are, here, Dominic and Hobbs morph into cartoon characters. Dom’s punches can leave deep dents in walls and metal plating, Hobbs can crack open the plaster encasing his broken arm by flexing the muscles on that arm. Brian is no slouch – he can spend what seems like hours fighting the severely underused Tony Jaa, but he doesn’t even break a sweat – not a single sweat patch on his shirt, and he isn’t even breathless a little. This movie sees our heroes officially become the new superheroes, as they and the bad guys destroy the entire town – taking down skyscrapers and more – like they are Godzilla versus Mothra or something. Cars fly, crash, skydive (don’t ask), and more, but the drivers end up with not even a scratch. And throughout everything, Mr Diesel, Mr Johnson, and Mr Statham all demonstrate the power of the bald and the square-jawed scowls in taking down massive adversity. The whole thing is just way too much and too ridiculous even for me.
Nice tribute to Paul Walker at the end, though, although I could do without some of the more corny lines which are ripped right out of greeting cards. Sigh, I will miss the pretty. The rest of this franchise won’t be the same without Brian’s personality balancing off Dom’s.