In many ways, Furious 7 is the film equivalent of last year’s Xbox One shooter Sunset Overdrive. Filled with action, humor and heart as Dom and company chase off the ghosts of their previous escapade, it’s an unpretentiously over the top film that succeeds both as a blockbuster franchise entry and a fitting sendoff to Paul Walker, who passed away in 2013. Starting from a street racing focus in The Fast and the Furious, this latest iteration is nothing but all-out action, bursting with all guns blazing right from the start.
It introduces a new protagonist out for revenge in Deckard Shaw, brother of Owen Shaw from Fast & Furious 6. He’s surely the more interesting one. It’s not the backstory or acting (it is Jason Statham after all), but his being an equal to Dominic Toretto and Luke Hobbs in brains and brawn. It’s a setup ripe for epic showdowns and elaborate setpieces. A purely badass, unpretentious antagonist that makes the most use of its actor’s charisma, Deckard Shaw is a brilliant addition to a franchise increasing in momentum by the second.
Perhaps the only risk taken here is the director, James Wan, who’s proven himself in the horror genre with films such as Insidious and The Conjuring. And what an immediate impact it has done. Furious 7 is easily the best in the franchise, and quite easy to get into if you’re willing to turn your brain off. Newcomers will have a smashing good time with intense action coming in left and right and fans will get a kick out of all the series references. Kurt Russell brings charisma, not to mention that retired assassin role a la Taken as Frank Petty. Tony Jaa of Ong Bak fame shows off what earned him notoriety in the first place, serving as Brian O’Conner’s rival.
From armed drones to its fair share of city destruction you’d normally find in superhero movies, Furious 7’s got it all. There’s even the God’s Eye, a program that can tap into any device that transmits digital data in order to find anyone in the world, a dangerous tool to whosever hands it falls into. You can imagine the good guys and the bad guys battling for its ownership.
And with all the action packed in, the movie never forgets that humor and heart is in its DNA. Tyrese Gibson is really funny, and I found myself connecting with these characters I’ve been with for over a decade now. I’m sure those who know Paul Walker, fan or not, will appreciate what the cast and crew has done in this film by the time the credits roll. Yes, the film uses age-old cliches and at the end there’s too much going on and the tone gets too over the top, but do you really care when the film as a whole is this fun and engaging?
That’s really all there is to it. Furious 7 is a simple movie; a hugely entertaining simple movie with humor and heart to boot. That 90% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes is no joke; it really is that good. There’s no better way to just relax and enjoy this weekend, alone or with friends and family. Go watch Furious 7, you won’t regret it.