More Bang For The Buck in “Furious 7”
By Skip Sheffield
At the very least “Furious 7” delivers more bang for the buck.
James Wan (“Saw,” “The Conjuring”) takes the helm for this seventh and possibly last installment in the phenomenally popular and successful outlaw street race, car-chase, shoot ‘em up, blow ‘em up series. Chris Morgan, who wrote episodes five and six, also wrote this outlandish, totally unbelievable caper.
Credibility has never been a strong suit of “Fast & Furious.” Personality, humor and friendly camaraderie is. This yarn is special because Paul Walker, who played dropped-dead gorgeous good guy Brian O’Connor, was killed in a car accident before filming wrapped. With his two brothers as stand-ins and a lot of CG magic, the film was completed, with an especially emotional ending. The movie is dedicated simply “For Paul.”
Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto has been the main guy through all the worldwide adventures. It is quite evident the big lug loved and respected Paul Walker.
The plot is about as logical as a Roadrunner cartoon. Basically it is a series of setups of increasingly spectacular stunts. The other principal big lug, Dwayne “Rock” Johnson’s Luke Hobbs, is laid up for much of the action with a broken arm and leg. Don’t fret, Hobbs will spring back to action at the last moment to maximum effect.
The instigator of this brewing war is British badass Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), who is mighty pissed his younger brother got rubbed out in the last episode.
Shaw is just one of a multi-national, multi-ethnic cast. Vin Diesel’s Dom is purportedly Italian. His girlfriend and comrade Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is Latina, and afflicted with temporary amnesia.
African American Chris “Ludicris” Bridges, is the gang’s tech expert. Fellow black man Tyrese Gibson provides comic relief as Roman, who is kind of a black Barney Fife, who always pulls through nevertheless.
The cast’s resident Asian, Han (Sung Kang), was killed off in the last episode. Beautiful Jordana Brewster has an expanded role as Brian O’Connors' wife Mia. A new character is another beautiful woman, Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays an improbable computer genius/hacker known just as Ramsey. Kurt Russell makes a welcome return to action as the mysterious Mr. Nobody, who instinctively knows the Furious gang are the right ones to pull off a risky secret mission.
“Furious” episodes are best-remembered by their incredible stunts. This one has the whole crew parachuting in from a cargo plane in their cars, ready to peel out when they hit the road in a former Soviet territory to capture a “God’s Eye” computer device that can track anyone anywhere in the world instantaneously. A dubiously tasteful sequence in Aba Dubai has Dom and Brian piloting a $3 million sportscar through plate glass and hurtling through space from one high rise tower to another as if gravity never existed. A literal cliff-hanger comes when Brian crawls out of a wrecked bus and the brink.
“What we are is family, your family,” Dom tells Brian after the team emerges unscathed from a battle that almost destroys downtown Los Angeles. “Furious” may be rough and tough, but it has a caring heart.