“One last ride.”
By the time you’re reading this, you probably may have heard that Furious Seven crashed box office records like a giant mammoth stepping on an insect. Ranking 4th of ALL TIME, joining Avatar’s and Titanic’s exclusive club of films that passed the 1 billion barrier outside the US, and setting the impressive mark for fastest movie to reach 1 bn. worldwide in just 17 days.
Crazy, right? Specially for a SEVENTH installment of a franchise about silly pimped racing cars. Except, F&F hasn’t been solely about that for a while now, has it?
Movie: Furious Seven
Producer: Universal Pictures
Another thing you definitely know is that Paul Walker died (in a speeding accident, of course) during shooting season, and before completing a significant number of his scenes. So, how do they spin it? And, more importantly, do they kill him off in the movie too? This knowledge and questions float around the film, adding sentiment to the usual (a lot more than the usual, in fact) thrills and thus making the ride all the while more exciting and emotional.
Getting this outta the way
The plot is borderline ridiculous and unnecessarily complicated. The awesome Jason Statham plays Deckard Shaw, black ops mega assassin and brother of last movie’s villain (now comatose in a hospital, courtesy of Toretto & Co.). He naturally seeks good old-fashioned revenge and wants to take out all our heroes. Enter an unbelievably cool suited up Kurt Russell as a paramilitary agency head with unlimited resources, who of course needs Dom and his team of street racers to help him rescue a hacker that invented the ultimate people locating tool (God’s Eye, ha!) from African terrorists armed to the teeth. Toretto agrees on the promise that if he succeeds, he can use God’s Eye to find the elusive Shaw and tell him a thing or two, in spite of Shaw constantly teleporting to wherever in the world Dom is in order to stroke his face with a bullet. Get a room already! Amirite?
Upping the ante
Somewhere along the way, the Fast and the Furious stopped being all about drag racing and tuned cars to become something else. It took Dominic Toretto’s favorite word, ‘Family’, and spun it into a concept that serves as a better fuel (see what I did there?) for crazy fun sequences.
The new approach gave us Fast Five (still the series best), set in the outstanding Rio de Janeiro and introduced fan favorite action star The Rock as a character. From that point forward, it seems to have been competing with itself. Which cities should we recklessly drive through and destroy now? Who’s the badass testosterone machine that’s gonna join us this time? What ludicrous stunt can we pull off and laugh in the face of physics?
Furious Seven is massive. How massive, you say? There’s a scene where cars are dropped with parachutes from a giant plane in the sky. They actually shot that, it’s no CGI trick, and it’s beautiful.
Meta touches and mythology
It’s right before reversing into car-skydiving that Brian says ‘Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, huh?’ He’s talking to his mates on the radio, but he’s also kinda talking to us. In a hilarious Roman rant that will leave you asking for more, he complains about ‘that time I stopped a tank’, or ‘that other time I shot down the biggest plane ever like it’s nothing’, referencing extreme moments from the other movies and stating that the new plan is insane in comparison. Again, it almost seems like he could be directly prepping us for what’s about to go down.
There’s a special connection developed between the movie and the audience that sometimes cracks, but doesn’t break, the fourth wall. You almost expect The Rock to look at the camera and wink after a big explosion. But you know that’s not gonna happen, because if there’s one thing to say about Furious, it’s that it’s honest. It commits. This is a movie that would never patronize its loyal viewers, and welcomes its new. It embraces what it is while at the same time invites you to believe and enjoy, and in doing so relies its strength.
You most definitely won’t have a problem following the story if you’re new to the Furious circus. However, the film is filled with references to the previous adventures and it pays off to be a Fast and Furious nerd. For instance, there’s a scene where Kurt Russell goes on and on about how he loves his Belgian beer and offers Dom a pint from his personal keg. Of course Dom rejects it, responding he’s more of a Corona man. You may think Kurt Russell should do some serious Furious binge-watching when suddenly he grabs a logo branded bucket with ice cold Coronas and makes Dom happy. In the wrong hands, this would pass as horrible product placement, but here it makes us cherish the good times throughout this 14 years when we’ve seen the guys sharing a cold one.
The ghost of Paul Walker’s death floats around whenever he is on screen. We try to guess when it’s really him and when it’s CGI + one of his brothers. We smile when we’re absolutely certain those are his big blue eyes, and we ignore the parts where rapid cutting and shadows are maybe trying to trick us. Or not. Fact is, Peter Jackson’s FX people are freaking wizards and we’ll probably never know exactly.
It really adds to the experience, wondering which one’s gonna be his last shot, his last words. Is he gonna die? How’s he gonna die? Is he gonna sacrifice himself to save another? All I’m gonna say is this: Brian O’Conner’s is one of the greatest send-offs of a character in movie history. An enormous achievement considering we’re talking about a movie packed with cheesy one-liners. It’s classy and touching. You will cry.
Furious Seven is a globetrotting, record breaking machine. It goes by the ‘more is more’ motto while staying true to the series’ tone and roots: the idea of comradery. The thought of different types of people who share a passion (cars and adrenaline) becoming
friends a family. It may sound stupid if you stop and think about it. Good thing the ride doesn’t ever stop.