Furious 7 (2015)
As a day one fan of the Fast and the Furious saga, it was really hard reading about Paul Walker’s untimely death. Fortunately, they decided to continue the movie in Paul’s name and after a year dealing with solutions around Paul’s unfinished shoots, the movie is finally here.
For the first time since Tokio Drift, the saga embraces a new director in the form of James Wan. He takes over the reigns from 4 time Fast and Furious director Justin Lin, who is partly responsible for the amazing success this saga has generated. His vision on topping action scene after action scene but not going into that Michael Bay territory is fantastic. Unfortunatly, he’s moving on to other things. Now, James Wan is not just some new director. He’s responsible for some of the greatest horror movie hits of the past decade, like The Conjuring and Insidious, and even responsible for directing the first SAW movie. The strong revenge thriller Death Sentence is also from his hand.
Now, James Wan is a director who likes the 70’s revenge thriller feel. He showed it with Death Sentence, he used the slow stuttering old slowmotion effect in his horror movies and he is now doing this with Fast 7. For me, it felt out of place. He created the perfect tone, cause it really feels the way he wants it to feel, but it felt weird looking at the other films. Fortunately, this feeling doesn’t linger on and he soon drags you into the film and won’t let you go. But for the first time, I couldn’t look past some of the things they did in the movie. I even loved the Vin Diesel bridge jump or the scene in the airplane from 6, but they really went full blown Transformers in this one.
It’s fantastic they made the decision to go trough with it and give Paul a respectful goodbye but here and there you can see they made obvious changes. For instance, the amount of time Vin Diesel spends reminding Brain O’ Conner that he now has a family (which he has had for the last two movies also) are suddenly becoming an issue. the emphasize and emphasize that only family matters, and that even tho Brian has jumped out of airplanes, jumped off trains, fought countless times with the group, the bravest thing Dominic has seen Brian do is be a husband to Mia. Okay dudes, we get it.
Somehow it also feels that they intended the movie to be different at all. Sidelining Hobbs for the greater part of the movie just felt extremely off, as the previous two movies gained so much because of his presence. I even had problems with the script this time, which pitches our gang of street racers against brother-of Owen Shaw certified bad ass Deckard Shaw played by Jason Statham, but not before getting side-tracked on some very weird side mission to steal some hacking device with a very overly complicated plan. But oh well, it is the Fast and Furious saga.
The movie hints back to previous times for numerous occasions. Wether this was always the plan or just another way to emphasize the old days with Paul I don’t know, but it was a great addition to the movie. I’m talking the old muscle car, corona’s, Los Angeles and even that hillbilly from Tokio Drift (including original soundtrack).
It isn’t until the end, when all the warfare and mayhem that they let loose on the streets of Los Angeles settles down, that you are really confronted with the death of Paul Walker. And it isn’t until this moment you know why they kept saying stuff like how the bravest thing he has done is be a father and a husband. Because it all reflects on Paul in his real life. You know they’re gonna do some kind of memorial thingy, but what they did in this movie can bring any tough guy who has loved this series for years to tears. It is a very respectful, graceful and beautiful goodbye to an actor, a friend, a brother, a father and most of all a great human being, having devoted his life off-screen to helping people in need and working for his disaster relief organisation.
For me it’s not the best movie of the saga, but still a fantastic addition that I will be watching again and again, and knowing how much trouble they must’ve had changing things and keeping Paul in this movie the way they did, I can only say they did a great job. I hope they will continue this story with more movies but even if they don’t, this would be a great ending to a fantastic saga.
Rest in peace, Buster.