Better Late Than Never Movie Review #7 – Furious 7

Here we are my Beardlings, we’ve come to “Furious 7”, the last of the “Fast & Furious” movies to be included in the Better Late Than Never section of this site.  The $1.5 billion money maker, the movie that was almost cancelled after Paul Walker’s tragic death, and the movie where I, unfortunately, think the franchise took a turn for the worse.

“Furious 7” starts off with Jason Statham, our new villain, monologue-ing in a hospital room to his brother, Owen Shaw. That’s right folks, we’ve got a revenge plot this time! Deckard Shaw (Statham) is out to kill the crew that landed his brother in coma and he starts with Hobbs, kicking off a pretty spectacular, if not overly prolonged, fight that lands Hobbs in the hospital for most of the movie. Next, Deckard sends a package bomb to the Toretto house, blowing it up and almost taking Dom, Mia, Brian, and their toddler son with it.  

This particular scene sets the rest of the movie into motion and definitely establishes the stakes as well as helps “fix” the movie timeline. In this scene, the package bomb is sent as if it was coming from Han and right before it explodes, Deckard calls Dom from Tokyo immediately after he rams into and effectively killing Han. This, coupled with the post credits scene from “Fast & Furious 6” establishes exactly when the events of “Tokyo Drift” take place.  Yay for fixed continuity!

After going to Tokyo to retrieve Han’s personal effects (further connecting the pieces of the timeline), Dom and the crew have a funeral for their fallen comrade. At the funeral, Dom notices a car suspiciously sitting off to the side and decides give chase.  Dom chases the mystery driver, who of course turns out to be Deckard, though the streets of LA eventually leading to a game of chicken where no one blinks. 

As Dom and Deckard stare each other down, a swarm of black ops guys decend upon them, allowing Deckard to escape. This where Kurt Russell shows up as Mr. Nobody, the leader of a shadowy government organization, and where I think the movie starts to go off the rails.  

Mr. Nobody takes Dom in and explains that someone has created a tool called God’s Eye that can find anyone anywhere in the world at anytime and someone has kidnapped the tools creator.  So now Mr. Nobody offers Dom a deal (much like Hobbs did in the previous movie) – gather your team, find the hacker, bring me the God’s Eye and I’ll let you use it to find and kill Deckard.  

I love Kurt Russell and I’m happy to see him join this series, but this whole plot is crap.  It convolutes the movie where I believe it would have been a much better finished product had the plot simply revolved around Deckard’s drive towards getting revenge for his brother and the crew avenging Han’s death.  I can certainly see why they included this story as it gives the team carte blanche on whatever resources they need and thus the writers get carte blanche on designing insane action sequences. But again, I think that’s what drives this movie off a cliff just like Dom does at some point.  

If I’m being brutally honest, I got bored watching this movie.  It may have been because I’ve plowed through seven of these movies in a couple weeks, or maybe I was tired, or something but this movie had just way too much sustained action and when watching it, I just kind of glazed over and zoned out because it wasn’t interesting enough to hold me. 

I feel “Furious 7” fell into the trap of using action to dictate plot versus letting plot dictate action.  I felt like I was watching 20 minute action scenes glued together with just enough plot to make the whole thing work as a movie and that’s just not how it should be.  For comparison’s sake, I felt the same when I watched “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”.  But the movie made $1,516,045,911 in theaters so what the fuck do I know.  

For me, “Furious 7” was serviceable, the definition of a summer blockbuster popcorn movie, the seventh movie in a series that has started to let story give way to action.  We’ll see if “The Fate of the Furious” fixes this or continues down the same path.

And lastly, you can’t talk about this film without talking about the passing of Paul Walker and the affect it had on this film. When I first heard of his death, it didn’t impact me the way other celebrity deaths have. For instance Carrie Fisher’s recent passing almost had me in tears as “Star Wars” has been a huge part of my life (I may actually have cried when I saw “Rogue One” for the second time). When I first started this project, I had never seen a “Fast & Furious” movie or even a Paul Walker movie, but as I finish it out the series, I can definitely feel the impact his death had and has on the longtime fans. I also have to applaud the filmmakers for carrying on and adapting to the challenge of finishing this movie with a main cast member.  

What did you think about “Furious 7”? Do you feel the way I do? Did you like it, love it?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, Thank you for reading and….

SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!

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