When The Fast and the Furious came out in 2001, I don’t think any of us realized that we were witnessing the beginnings of a franchise. It is truly astonishing to see how far this series has come and what it has turned into over the course of fourteen years. Now, at the end of a long road that was met with tragedy, I can safely say that Furious 7 stands as a testament to a life and reinforces the immortal wonders of cinema.
Last night I saw an advanced screening of Furious 7 and I am still reeling with excitement. I get giddy recalling certain scenes, or I get choked up thinking about the film’s heartfelt ending. It’s a hell of a roller coaster ride filled with bittersweet moments, but the film is never bogged down by its emotional heft. In fact, the film transcends because of it. There’s a moment where Brian says to Dom, “Cars can’t fly!” And then they proceed to drive off a skyscraper and onto another. This sequence, in many ways, shows how this franchise has truly taken flight despite the odds stacked up against it.
I have come up with a list of my absolute favorite things about Furious 7. What the film did right, and did honorably; things that people will be talking about for a long time. Let’s face it, you’re going to see this movie regardless. So, to whet your appetite, here are 7 reasons why you will not regret it.
- The Cars, duh.
Whether you’re a car buff or not, Furious 7 gets you to appreciate their beauty, as every Fast & Furious film has done. Cinematographer Stephen Windon leaves no car un-filmed. Dom’s roaring Charger, Brian’s insane GT-R, to the super sleek Lykan Hypersport that serves as the cherry on top. The cars certainly aren’t characters by any means, but they are stars in their own right. Who knows, you might even find yourself embracing the car culture after all.
- Over-the-top action.
If you think you know what over-the-top action is, Furious 7 laughs at your preconceived notions and then goes on to throw cars out of an airplane. Sounds tame to you? How about a convoy of vehicles armed with guns and gadgetry galore, with said vehicles trying to rail each other off the road? Or how about a bus that slides off a cliff and Paul Walker narrowly escaping the fall? I am, of course, only talking about one of the film’s thrilling action sequences, one that sells the film’s practical stunts in dividends. Your perception of what cars can do will be forever changed.
- No seriously, the action is insane.
I don’t think you understand how ridiculous the action is, so I will reiterate: Furious 7 is off-the-wall bat-shit bonkers insane! The convoy sequence alone is enough to give action junkies a fill. But the fact that each subsequent set-piece manages to out-do the one before it, you are practically left in awe. The Abu Dhabi sequence is Mission Impossible on steroids, and the finale in downtown LA is a rip-roaring good time. But what’s even more impressive is how the film encourages you to have fun. It never takes itself too seriously. The story is an excuse to travel to these exotic locations, and the plot is just a platform for the action to take off. And there are so many applause-worthy moments that it’s preferable to just sit back, relax, and bask in popcorn-movie heaven.
- Good old-fashioned beat downs.
Ever since the Dom and Hobbs fight in Fast Five, the fans have been clamoring for more crowd-pleasing fight scenes. Furious 7 does not disappoint. The Deckard and Hobbs fight may very well be my favorite in the series. The two turn an office into an all-out arena, smashing each other through walls and throwing down on every piece of furniture known to man (the rotating shot of The Rock bottoming out Jason Statham will give you your money’s worth). Unfortunately, Statham isn’t featured as much as you’d hope. But when he enters the frame, the film uses him efficiently as a hardcore action component.
- The Rock.
Three films into the franchise and you still gotta give this man some credit. If it weren’t for his entrance in Fast Five, the series would never have become what it is today. I don’t know how he does it. He charms the hell out of you while boasting so much testosterone and energy. The guy’s like a shot of pure masculine adrenaline. The same could be said of the franchise. In fact, The Rock is an accurate representation of the nature of these films, and he’s never been better. Though he does get sidelined for a majority of the film, he still gets the best one-liners along with the most bad-ass hero moment you will see all year. Dwayne Johnson saved this franchise from ever stalling out. And for that, we thank you.
- The Family Dynamic.
Recently, it had been pointed out to me just how diverse this cast is. I hadn’t made a note of it before because each of their personalities are so unique and memorable that the last thing you think about is the color of their skin. More importantly, we’ve come to know and love these characters like extensions of our own family. And like a family, these characters are a delight to come back to. These films, in turn, are like a reunion of sorts, a chance for audiences to walk back into the loving arms of this franchise. But what’s truly heartbreaking this time around is that the film also gives audiences a chance to say goodbye to someone very special.
- A moving tribute to Paul Walker.
“You thought you could leave without saying goodbye?” Brian says to Dom as he pulls up next to him, echoing how their relationship began so long ago. The film honors Paul Walker’s memory using very little words. Virtually everyone gets a moment to bid his character farewell, and it is incredibly surreal and bittersweet. Vin Diesel, very fittingly, gets the last words as we watch Paul sail off on another path. This quiet moment speaks to what the film ultimately is – a celebration of Paul’s life. The cut to white at the end reinforces that. This heart-wrenching tribute alone makes the film worth watching, and worth remembering.