Friday, April 3, 2015

Furious 7: They've Come A Long Way From Stealing VCRs

Let me break down the anomaly that is The Fast and the Furious franchise here.  The first film was essentially a modern-day remake of Point Break where Paul Walker was a pretty boy cop. Vin Diesel was a giant rock monster who raced cars by day and stole VCRs by night.  Yes, VCRs.  And everyone couldn't act worth shit.  The second film even Vin Diesel didn't want to be a part of.  It took place in Miami (probably) and Paul had a partner in Tyrese Gibson and was going up against a C-list bad guy and Luda had an afro.  That's it.  Oh, and Eva Mendes was in it.  The third movie everyone gave up all hope.  It starred Bow Wow.  Paul Walker was done.  Diesel had Riddick and XXX to look forward to.  No one gave a shit about the franchise anymore.  Then, everyone involved with the movie fell on hard times and wasn't getting film roles and someone had a brilliant idea to get the gang back together for a "reboot" sequel of sorts.  And it wasn't too terribly bad.  Everyone was still bad at acting, but they looked like they were having fun and the action was solid.  Then, when the fourth film made money, they realized they might've just struck gold and needed one more piece of the puzzle fit in order to solidify their place in franchise history.  That's when The Rock was brought in for Fast Five.  What that movie did so well is they finally realized what they had on their hands-- the ability to do whatever the hell they wanted... without repercussion... that had to involve cars and guns.   They now had a "team" and could pull big heists.  But, they're anti-heroes who are actually heroes.  Fast Six upped the ridiculousness even further until we've reached today with the release... of Furious 7.

Furious 7 is by far the most outlandish, ridiculous, preposterous, excessive, nonsensical, extravagant, and beautiful film in the entire franchise. If the rest of the series went "balls to the wall" then Furious 7 is the entire sack and taint thrown against the circumference of the world.  It's insanity on steroids.  And it's so... much... FUN.  Why this movie doesn't have 100% on rottentomatoes, I have no idea.  Critics get so much up their own ass that they can't take a movie for what it was meant to accomplish.  You know what you're getting when you watch a Fast and Furious movie. You're not getting A-list acting.  You're not getting a brilliantly witty and intelligent script.  You're getting fast cars, hot women, huge men, snarky seven year old quips, and fun fun fun.  And Furious 7 is the absolute definition of fun.  It's what every good action movie should strive to be.

Plot isn't very important here, but for review's sake-- Dominic Toretto (Vin) and Brian (Paul Walker) took down baddie Owen Shaw in the previous film.  Now, his even more ruthless ex-special forces brother (played stunningly by the personification of testosterone, Jason Statham) is out to kill the shit out of everyone involved.  While this is happening, Toretto and Brian are recruited by Kurt Russell... that's right... I said Kurt Russell... to save a female hacker from a terrorist (Djimon Hounsou) who wants to take her newest invention, God's Eye, and use it for good.  Look, don't worry about the plot here.  It's not important.  It's the frame around which the action gets to happen, but it's not that important.  Here's what is important that you can look forward to in this film:
  • Jason Statham ups his badass level to 10.
  • The Rock and Statham have a hand-to-hand battle.
  • Kurt Russell is in the movie.
  • Cars fly out of the back of a plane and land on a mountain with the team in them.
  • Paul Walker fights Tony Jaa... more than once.
  • Jason Statham is there to screw everything up during every play they have.
  • They go to Abu Dabi and drive really expensive cars in the middle of the desert.
  • Michelle Rodriguez fights Ronda Rousey
  • They essentially fly a car between skyscrapers
  • Did I mention Kurt Russell is in this?
  • Half of L.A. is destroyed.
  • The Rock shoots a Gatling gun at a helicopter
  • Vin Diesel and Jason Statham have a private battle... using giant wrenches and their bald heads.
  • That when you think you've seen batshit crazy... just keep watching.
There's not a single moment in the entire film where I wasn't entertained.  And it wasn't just fun, badassery, and entertainment... it was exhausting (in a good way).  After every prolonged action sequence I had to sit back and catch my own breath (though there was hardly even enough time for that before the next one began).  Furous 7 does everything right including a wonderful and very respectable tribute to Paul Walker at the end.  Walker died in a car accident halfway through shooting the film  They used stunt doubles, CGI, and his two brothers as stand ins for the remaining parts that needed to be filmed.  It was a perfect way to retire his character from the franchise.  And for those who thought you'd never tear up in a Fast and Furious film, think again.  His family would be (and I'm sure are) very proud.

Furious 7 is the embodiment of fun.  If you're looking for action, you'll get it and then some.  It's one of the best action movies I've seen in a long time and my favorite of the series.  Yes, it's stupid.  Yes, it's incredibly unbelievable.  Yes, they do ridiculous shit without any repercussions whatsoever.  However, if you're coming into this film thinking you're getting anything else... you're going to be sorely disappointed.  Leave belief suspended at the door and this will be the most fun you'll likely have all year.