Furious 7 full movie review - A White-Knuckled, Super-Charged, Adrenaline-Laced Actioneer
If you didn't know actor Paul Walker perished in a fiery car crash back on November 30, 2013, you'd never know it by watching "Furious 7, the latest installment in the "Fast and Furious" franchise.
"Saw" director James Wan and "Wanted" scenarist Chris Morgan had about half of this mammoth $250 million movie made when tragedy struck and claimed Walker's life. Altogether, "Furious 7" emerges not only as a cinematic eulogy to Walker's ephemeral career but also as a white-knuckled, super-charged, adrenaline-laced actioneer. Initially, "The Fast and the Furious" (2001) crossed the finish line as an above-average, illegal road-racing epic about an undercover cop that bolstered actor Vin Diesel's box office clout while it forged Paul Walker's career. Walker carried on with Tyrese Gibson after a disaffected Diesel bowed out of 2003's sequel "2 Fast 2 Furious," but the chrome-domed Diesel gave his blessing to the chronologically out-of-sequence "Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift" (2006) with a post end credits cameo. Some consider "Tokyo Drift" the nadir of the franchise, but I contend that "Tokyo Drift" surpassed its skid mark of a predecessor. The three sequels that ensued fueled the franchise with even more vitality. Not even Walker's demise could put the brakes on "Furious 7." Mind you, "Furious 7" doesn't qualify as an artistic magnum opus. Nevertheless, aside from either the James Bond blockbusters or the Harry Potter series, can you name a contemporary franchise with as many sequels as "The Fast and the Furious?" Whether we see an eighth entry, "Furious 7" has knocked the bottom out of the franchise. Wan and Morgan have concocted some preposterous high-octane stunts that defy gravity as well as logic but look extraordinary. Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Djimon Hounsou, and Asian "Ong Bak" martial arts sensation Tony Jarr augment the original cast and invigorate these improbable shenanigans. If "Furious 7" marks your initiation to the franchise, you're going to have a blast catching up with the rest of us. "Furious 7" ranks as the top of the heap in a franchise that has never throttled back.
In "Fast & Furious 6," Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson of "Hercules") persuaded Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel of "xXx") to assemble his crew, including former LAPD cop Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker of "Running Scared"), Roman (Tyrese Gibson of "Transformers"), Teg (Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges), and Han (Sung Kang of "Ninja Assassin") to help him nab a band of global mercenaries. The criminal mastermind of the group, ex-British Special Forces commander Owen Shaw (Luke Evans of "Dracula Untold"), likes to think big. As just compensation, Hobbs promised pardons to Dom and his gang. Meantime, Hobbs showed Dom a photo of our protagonist's long lost squeeze, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez of "Girlfight"), and this strengthened Dom's resolve to seize Shaw. When "Furious 7" unfolds, we meet Shaw's indestructible brother, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham of "The Transporter"), who has just murdered Han in Hong Kong. Later, he wipes out an entire team of guards at the British hospital where his crippled brother clings to life. The indefatigable Deckard vows to make anybody who had anything to do with his brother's calamity pay with their lives. After he ices Han, Deckard heads to Los Angeles and hacks into Hobbs' computer. Hobbs catches him in the act, and they tangle, swap sledgehammer blows, and virtually demolish DSS headquarters. Hobbs narrowly escapes death when Deckard detonates a grenade.
Not long after his larger-than-life brawl with Hobbs, Deckard has a package delivered to Dom's house. The explosion doesn't kill anybody, but little is left of the iconic house where Brian and Dom's younger sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) met and washed dishes together. At this point, Brian's wife Mia has given birth to a toddler, Jack, but she hasn't told her husband that she is pregnant with another child. Brian is struggling to get the hang of taking Jack to day care in a mini-van, and Brian's first scene at day care is hilarious. Although he is confined to the hospital, Hobbs summons Dom to his bedside and tells him "like a brother" to take Deckard down. Deckard stalks our heroes at Han's funeral, and Dom and he crash cars head-on into each other. Before they can do additional damage, an army of soldiers supervised by the natty Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell of "Escape from New York") intervenes and saves Dom from certain death. Mr. Nobody and Dom share a mutual friend, Hobbs, and Nobody is prepared to help Dom locate the elusive Deckard. Nobody shows Dom a sophisticated gadget that can track anybody anywhere. Basically, it's reminiscent of CBS-TV's "Person of Interest" computer. Mr. Nobody refers to it as "God's Eye," and he assures Dom that the government would have caught Osama bin Laden overnight had they had such a doodad. The problem is that the individual with the key component to "God's Eye" is a mysterious somebody named Ramsey. Ramsey, it turns out, is being held captive by notorious terrorist Mose Jakande (Djimon Hounsou of "Amistad") who wants the same gizmo. Several outlandish action set-pieces later, our heroes get what they want, but neither Deckard nor Jakande make it a picnic.
Director James Wan rarely lets the episodic action loiter, and he integrates the late Paul Walker seamlessly into several exciting escapades. One incredible cliffhanger scene occurs on a switchback highway atop a craggy mountain where our daredevil heroes struggle to extract Ramsey from a fortified bus armed with six Vulcan mini-cannons. At one point, Walker's Brian O'Connor finds himself dangling from the wrecked bus as it teeters precariously over the edge of a precipice. Brian must scramble across the top of the bus before it plunges into the canyon below. Wan orchestrates several suspenseful, careening car chases. Another staggering stunt has our heroes propelling a priceless sports car through two luxury, skyscrapers in exotic Abu Dhabi to recover Ramsey's device. "Furious 7" rivals a James Bond extravaganza with its breathtaking, melodramatic mayhem!