Movie Review: Furious 7: a fitting tribute

Movie+poster+courtesy+of+g33kl1f3.com%0A

Movie poster courtesy of g33kl1f3.com

James Bickford

Vin Diesel and co. pay tribute to fallen friend

When Paul Walker tragically died mid-way through the production of “Furious 7,” new director James Wan was faced with the heavy challenge of reworking the entire movie to handle the departure of one of the most beloved characters and actors in the series.Even with that challenge facing him, Wan managed to turn “Furious 7”into the best in the series. This speaks volumes of his directing abilities.

“Fast & Furious”has never been a franchise for the movie buffs. Its appeal has always been “dumb, testosterone-fueled action flicks better than Michael Bay’s movies.”“Furious 7”is no different in this regard. It has more than its share of impossible stunts, with cars dropped from all conceivable heights and the entire cast seeming to defy all laws of physics as if they were merely suggestions. Chock full of expensive cars, beautiful women, big explosions and action-packed fight scenes, it is still very much a “Fast & Furious”movie.

That being said, the added dimension of Brian (Paul Walker) and the real-life circumstances surrounding his character creates an element of heart to the movie that is far more pronounced than in its predecessors. The final fifteen minutes, which serves as a heartfelt tribute to Walker and his character, are handled with dignity and grace.

What really made it work was how much it still felt like a “Fast & Furious”movie—even then. Family connections were always themes in these movies, so the tribute feels organic and is more powerful because of it.

There really is nothing to say about most of the acting—few of the characters deviate from the norms established over the course of the previous six movies. The two actors who really shine are Caleb and Cody Walker, Paul’s brothers, who stand in for him in several scenes. Their determination to do their brother justice, as well as the shockingly perfect family resemblance, manages to save the movie. It is a heartwarming sight.

Dwayne “The Rock”Johnson is the funniest man in these movies. It is worth watching for his comedic timing alone.

I never have been a fan of this franchise, and I had many problems with “Furious 7.” There are a few to many action scenes that seem to be there just because they had the budget to do them. Indeed, the movie feels 20 minutes too long, and cutting out some of the action scenes would not damage the plot at all, as the action and story are loosely related.

I also don’t like how the characters are all mostly caricatures and stereotypes with very little depth or development. I understand it is escapist fantasy, but if you have ever consumed any fiction in your life you know all you need to about most of these characters.

I want to like this movie more than I do, because of the dignity with which it handles the death of its leading actor. That being said, I was surprised at how much I liked it. The future of the series looks bright, and for the first time I can proudly say, if they continue with the standard this movie set, I am looking forward to the next one. Final score: 75/100