Monday, April 27, 2015

Movie with Abe: Furious 7

Furious 7
Directed by James Wan
Released April 3, 2015

My affinity for the Fast and Furious franchise contradicts most of my other movie tastes. Yet there’s something about the first film and its fourth, fifth, and sixth installments that just create an incomparable excitement and thrill. The fact that I didn’t see the seventh film until three weeks after it was released should say nothing about my enthusiasm for it but merely that I had no time to get to the movies to see it earlier. Though I was ready to be blown away, it’s a shame to admit that this latest installment just doesn’t hold a candle to the three that came before it.

It used to be that this was all about car racing and hijacking cars. Understandably, the last two films have expanded the parameters considerably, utilizing planes, tanks, and other devices as part of the greater plot. As our team has grown in size, their caseload has also been promoted to a larger scale, as they’ve taken on major criminals with more than just petty automotive crimes on their record. The directive in movie number seven seems to be that everything has to be bigger, bolder, and more impossibly absurd. If it had anything to do with cars, that would be fine, but they’ve become almost a subplot at this point.

This is, more than anything, a revenge movie, as a rogue black-ops spy, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), targets Dom and his crew after they crippled his brother Owen in an earlier film. As soon as Deckard starts killing and set his sights on Dom, they are permanently locked in a drawn-out duel to the death that doesn’t seem to involve anyone else and only gets increasingly more preposterous as it goes on. A somewhat convoluted road leads the crew to Azerbaijan and then Saudi Arabia, working with a shadowy government team led by Kurt Russell to acquire an all-seeing location device. It’s a decent setup for a brainless blockbuster, but that’s not what these movies are supposed to be about.

“Furious 7” gets bogged down with dialogue and plot, two things that were purposely sparing in previous films and now take center stage. The unbelievable antics that made the fifth and sixth film so fun are regarded in a less fantastic way, and the payoff that existed in those films doesn’t exist here. I firmly believe that this franchise can go on and that it can continue to deliver what it’s best at, and being past this revenge plotline should help. This film was a “last ride” for Paul Walker, and it’s clear that he’s putting his all into it, an example that his cast members can hope to follow in future more solid installments.


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