August 30, 2015

Blu-Ray Review: FURIOUS 7

Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker (RIP), Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Kurt Russell, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel. Directed by James Wan. (2015, 138 min/140 min [Extended Cut]).

Early in Furious 7, Brian (Paul Walker) makes a fleeting comment to his toy-tossing young son that cars don't fly, which may be the most obvious piece of foreshadowing in movie history. Anyone even remotely familiar with this franchise knows such a statement will indeed be put to the test - probably multiple times. In that respect, Furious 7 does not disappoint. More, more, more is the mission statement here...more cars, more stars, more action, more destruction, more gravity-defying motorporn. I'm convinced The Fast and the Furious franchise will only end once we've seen Vin Diesel hit the nitrous and launch his beloved Challenger into a low-Earth orbit.

If you aren't already along for the ride, Furious 7 is probably bad place to jump in. First of all, even though the series was never strongly rooted in reality, it took several installments to reach the deliriously over-the-top heights its core audience (and critics) have grown to love. To join the club now would likely have newcomers lamenting the sad state of modern blockbusters, never realizing the series earned its right to be ridiculous. Second, Furious 7 is arguably the first direct sequel in the franchise and presumes its audience has seen Fast and Furious 6. This time, super-assassin Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is seeking revenge on the team who injured his brother in Part 6. After Deckard kills Han, sends Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to the hospital and blows up Dom’s house, the team is coerced out of ‘retirement’ by the government, led by “Mr. Nobody” (Kurt Russell). They want the team to rescue a computer hacker (who created a surveillance program called “God’s Eye,” which can instantly locate anyone in the world) from a band of mercenaries led by Jakande (Djimon Hounsou). In return, the team can use God’s Eye to find Deckard. I’m not sure why the team would even need God’s Eye, since Deckard is chasing them all over the world anyway.

This fight for the last parking space is officially a draw.

But we aren’t supposed to ask such questions. Nor should we question the need to airdrop various hotrods from a cargo plane so Brian, Dom and company can chase Jakande’s convoy when simply following them on the same road would have been easier. It also goes without saying we shouldn’t scrutinize the logistics of a sports car leaping from one skyscraper to another...then another. That would suck the fun from some of the film’s biggest action set-pieces. Fans of the series would never do that; they’ve been conditioned to expect - and appreciate - each film’s effort to top the previous one and simply enjoy the spectacle, logic be damned.

As such, the more ludicrous aspects of Furious 7 are also what makes it a hell of a lot of fun. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Johnson - bedridden throughout most of the film - leap back into action just days after breaking several bones. With the flex of a bicep, the cast on his arm crumbles away, and his armor & gear are at-the-ready in his hospital room. Since the scene is so knowingly over-the-top, you gotta admire this movie’s single minded drive to entertain at all costs.

It also helps that we generally like this ever-growing cast of characters. They may not be too complex, but at this point, seeing them again is like a visit from old friends (probably the ones we partied with in college). This adds additional emotional impact to the resolution, which provides a surprisingly poignant and poetic farewell to the late Paul Walker and his character. Without revealing anything specific, if you’re a longtime fan of the franchise, have a box of tissues handy.

Though an eighth film has already been announced, I have to believe even some die-hard fans might agree Furious 7 is the perfect conclusion to a hugely successful series of movies. Short of launching the cast and their cars into space, it’s hard to imagine topping this one’s massive action and destruction. That argument set aside, Furious 7 is yet-another consistently fun entry in a franchise most of us assumed would have petered out four films ago.


  • Numerous Featurettes: ""The Cars of Furious"; "Flying Cars"; "Tower Jumps"; "Inside the Fight"; "Talking Fast"; "Back to the Starting Line"; "Race Wars"; "Snatch and Grab" (many of these features include extensive behind-the-scenes footage of some of the more spectacular set-pieces)
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Cut of the Film
  • Music Video
  • DVD & Digital copies


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