“Furious 7” is not nearly as much fun as 2013’s “Fast & Furious 6”. And star Vin Diesel’s prediction of a Best Picture Oscar win will not be coming true. However, it’s still good enough, and a fitting farewell to the late Paul Walker.
This seventh edition in the blockbuster franchise is surprisingly serious, with the cloud Walker’s November 2013 death as only one of the reasons. The main villain this time is the mysterious man who appeared at the end of “6”, Deckard Shaw (played by Jason Statham). He’s the brother of Owen Shaw, who was killed by the F&F gang last time. Deckard is out for revenge.
His first target is Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson’s screen time is cut in half, but he still brings some much-needed humor). They duke it out in an office, and afterwards, Deckard escapes and Hobbs goes to the hospital. It’s there that Hobbs tells Dom (Diesel) about the new Shaw, who is targeting the entire crew.
New to the cast is Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody, who’s looking to help Dom, Brian (Walker) and the others track and take down Shaw in exchange for assistance in finding a computer hacker and her ultimate GPS device. This is only Russell’s third movie in eight years and he gives a solid performance as a genuinely interesting character.
“Furious 7” is relentless with the action. There are twenty-minute chunks of shootings, car chases and fist fights. The only two scenes that feature “wow” moments were unfortunately showcased in the trailers, but they still provide some thrills. The story really takes a backseat, though two elements still shine through. They are the evolving relationship between Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and Brian trying to adjust to family life with his wife and young son.
Walker’s passing hit the cast and crew of “Furious 7” quite hard, particularly longtime friend Diesel, who just named his new daughter, Pauline. I do question director James Wan’s decision of leaving-in a brief scene in which Roman (Tyrese Gibson) talks directly to Walker’s Brian and says “No more funerals.” However, the final five minutes of the film are handled quite well, with a moving tribute to their colleague and friend.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “Furious 7” gets a B-.
Running Time: 137 min.