Furious 7 Will Give You Closure, With a Few Speed Bumps Along the Way
Furious 7 is shattering the box office and surpassing the expectations of even the most optimistic insiders who have been forced to recede their numerical quotes.
Of course, we all assumed the seventh installment of a franchise that has evolved into a global juggernaut would be well received and lauded. Lead actor and beloved staple, Paul Walker who played good cop gone rogue, Brian O’Connor died suddenly in the middle of filming, which presented a whole new set of challenges for director James Wan, writer Chris Morgan, producers Neil Moritz and Vin Diesel, who plays Dom Torreto as well as the endearing cast and crew.
After a much needed hiatus, it was agreed that with the help of Walker’s younger brothers, Cody and Caleb, and actor John Brotherton, a well as the magical offerings of CGI, Furious 7 would be manifested. The mission was daunting but necessary and after viewing the final results, it is clear that Paul Walker’s presence hauntingly drives the value of Furious 7 but it also presents a certain level of displacement with the rest of the crew.
The best word to use when describing the film that everyone wants to love is – messy. From start to finish, Furious 7 awkwardly tries to prove that it can hold its own against the intimidating ghosts of its predecessors, and this failed attempt is its undoing. It is fair to assume that the death of one of the integral parts of this saga may have catapulted the madness, or may be not.
Director James Wan, is obviously talented and demonstrated his prowess with The Conjuring, but when it comes to the action genre, his approach is brutally systematic. Director Justin Lin who helmed the last three Fast and Furious films should have held on for one more because his effortlessly strategic technique was needed this time around.
As much as we would love to herald the arrival of a new talent, Wan valiantly tried to adequately deliver the level of brilliance that Lin consistently bequeathed us, and his efforts were somewhat validated through the testosterone filled reverie that populated the film, but unfortunately that wasn’t enough to keep us from noticing the gaping holes when it came to the interactions of the main cast and the glorified newbies.
The disorientation was immediate and never quite vacated the screen, as we tried to make sense of how the new characters would seamlessly migrate with the familiar. Kurt Russell’s introduction as the commander-in-chief helping the crew to fight off the antics of Deckard Shaw played by Jason Statham, is fair enough. This leads us to Games of Thrones actress Nathalie Emmanuel who plays a computer hacker being hunted by a mercenary (Djimon Hounsou).
We are transported from the streets of LA to the seductive vibes of Abu Dhabi, and all the while, we can’t help but notice that the crew that held it down so immaculately in Rio is struggling to convince us that they still know How to Roll.
It is apparent that the absence of Han and Giselle has handicapped their operation and allowed them to succumb to the glaring effects of over the top sequences that don’t quite compensate for the thematic reliance of family. Fast Five is and always be the best of the bunch – and it you haven’t been privy to it, I dare you to try.
Everyone seems scattered and confused and the scenes between Brian and Dom are disjointed and forced and don’t recall the reverence fans have grown to respect. There is no connection between any of the characters, which makes it hard to decipher when Walker was replaced with his brothers and the cape of technology.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is underutilized; Jason Statham isn’t nearly as intimidating as his deceased brother Owen Shaw from Furious 6, and Djimon Hounsou isn’t quite as menacing as he needs to be.
After our heroes defeat their enemies, we are awkwardly transported to the beach where we see everyone hanging out and verbally honing in the fact that Brian is ready to be released to his wife and kids. And then the ending we’ve been holding our breaths for is upon us, and it is easily the best thing about Furious 7.
The montage, showing Walker’s contribution to the franchise is beautiful but not enough to cover the pot holes in this latest installment. But Wan has to be praised for his resilience as we acknowledge the immense pressure he was under even before Walker’s sudden passing. Taking that into consideration makes it necessary to give him props and not be unreasonably critical of the end result.
But one can’t help but feel that the magic of the franchise might be nearing it’s last lap. All good things must come to an end. There are rumors that there may be at least two more films in the pipeline – but it is safe to say that The Fast and the Furious needs to poetically bow out before they are jammed into a curb.