Friday, April 03, 2015

Movie Review - Furious 7

Furious 7

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson, Lucas Black, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Tony Jaa, Elsa Pataky, Eden Estrella, and more.

Directed by: James Wan Written by: Chris Morgan Based on Characters Created by: Gary Scott Thompson Cinematography by: Marc Spicer and Stephen F. Windon Music by: Brian Tyler

Premise: The older brother of a defeated foe has decided to wreck vengeance on Dom's team. Hobbs sends Mr. Nobody to help them out, since their new enemy, Deckard Shaw, is a trained assassin and covert ops specialist. Bur help comes at a price - the group needs to rescue a missing programer for them. If they do, Mr. Nobody has permission to let the team use a highly classified program to track Shaw down as well as give support. Only problem is, Shaw doesn't seem to want to wait that long to play with them. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: The main members of the well known cast are back. Though Paul Walker passed before the film was finished, the filmmakers were able to used past footage and members of his family to fill in the gaps. Paul will definitely be missed, but for anyone not knowing of his passing, they won't realize anything is amiss in the film. So kudos to the actors for smoothing out any holes and doing some one sided conversations to cover for their lost comrade. Family is what the Fast and Furious crew have always been about.

Watching Statham go toe to toe with Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson will make many hearts (those with and without testosterone) flutter. Talk about looks that can kill and snappy comebacks. Nice work guys!

Not to worry, the girls don't allow themselves to be left behind, with some great work coming from Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, and newcomer, Nathalie Emmanuel.

Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody was great! Kept you just a little insecure on whether or not he might be up to something. He made his own pile of comments and jabs. It was great to see him back on the big screen!

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: There were lots of awesome special effects, outstanding stunts, explosions, and car daring do! I sort of wish they'd not shown as many of them as they did in the previews, though. A couple of them would have had a lot more impact if they'd been left as a surprise - like the bus with the cliff and the car at Abu Dhabi.

I don't know if the airplane car drop scenes were a mixture of real and CGI, but dang they looked good! No idea how the heck you'd control or guide a car with chutes. All I know is it looked amazing!

3) Story/Plot - Neutral: The plot on this one is one of those that you don't want to look at too closely or it won't make sense or quite add up.

The storyline about Letty and Dom and them trying to work through her lack of past memories and the kinks it puts in their relationship worked rather well. When added to Brian and Mia's own unexpected issues now that he's a father, they made a nice mix. Family has been at the core of most of the Fast and Furious films, and this one, as the ending/tribute shows, is no different.

Most of the problems come from the other places. (Do not read further if you want your action and testosterone fest to go unsullied! You've been warned!) The fact Shaw somehow always knows where the group is and what they're doing, yet no one seems to wonder how the heck he's doing it or even that he's doing it - and never a even a hint of how he knows! (And you don't think therefore he might be expecting you to find him after you get God's Eye? REALLY? And that he might set a trap for you? So you BRING the only copy of God's Eye with YOU?!?! Add to that a missile armed helicopter and drone being brought from overseas by terrorists, and no one seems to notice their obvious breach of US airspace, or the fact the air force takes twenty plus minutes to even make their presence slightly felt while major havoc is wreaked in a major US City. Mr. Nobody's assistance/support seeming to vanish like smoke, even though he's not dead. Though the worst one was probably (despite the fact it did make for a great entrance!) the one with Hobbs and how he took care of the drone - the timing, especially since he couldn't see it, would have been virtually impossible to sync. (Yes, I can be a party pooper. :P)

Again, with a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief, the story does move well. But in general, it paled, in my opinion, to that of FF6's, on several levels.

There were some unexpected fun bits. The biggest  was a couple of repeating villains! Dom had Shaw from the start, then Brian picked up Kiet, and then the group also got tagged by Jakande as he went after Ramsey and whoever was with her. It was rather unexpected and added a bit of flavor, and gave the audience multiple points of a "payoff".

Some in-jokes were sprinkled here and there as well - both for Statham and Kurt Russell - those were fun.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: The hand to hand combat scenes are definitely worthwhile - even though they decided to do funky things here and there with the camera. Tony Jaa brought a little "Jackie Chan" flavor to the film and had several nice combat scenes.

Like I mentioned in the Special Effects section, it was too bad they gave away so many of the big stunt/special effects moments in the previews. There were plenty of other shots they could have shared to get people excited to come see it and left these to surprise the audience, thus ramping the excitement level even more. The car drop scene and the Abu Dhabi flying car scenes were definitely awesome.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Thumbs Up: The film covered several fantastic locations for mayhem. Abu Dhabi was a definite treat on several levels.

The opening scene where Shaw is visiting his younger sibling in London pans into a giant revelation as Statham and the camera move back from the hospital bed and he strides on through the hospital - major kudos for how that was laid out.

This being said, however, some of the gimmicky techniques got taken a little too far. I don't mind new angles and ways of making things seem fresh, but too many of these repeated back and forth over a short span of time, do not work well. Early on there's a section where the camera zooms in and then way out then back in then way out again that almost ruined the chase. Some odd sweeping shots on closeups then turning to another character and sweeping the shot in the opposite direction, back to back to back, was too much. A lot of the driving, fights, and action would have been just fine straight forward. It almost made it seem as if they were trying too hard?

Conclusion: Ignoring the plot holes and going in with a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief, Furious 7 will definitely entertain. (Though I didn't feel it was as good as FF6). Tons of eye candy for the guys - both female and four wheeled and then some. Lots of stunts and hand-to-hand combat. Plus an ending that will leave your eyes moist.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)

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