The late Paul Walker stars in his last film

The late Paul Walker stars in his last film

Reel Reviews: A Furious farewell

Furious 7, starring Paul Walker, or a facsimile of the late star, is now exploding in a theatre near you.

  • Apr. 10, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is forced to re-assemble his motley crew of fast driving, hard punching adventurers when Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) attempts to assassinate him, seeking vengeance for his dead brother.

On the roll call for Dom’s team are Dom’s amnesiac wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), FBI agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson).

Together they are hired by the mysterious Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), working for a shadowy government agency, to rescue a hacker named Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) who has created a program that can simultaneously view all phones, cameras and computers, everywhere.

If Dom’s team can get the hacker and the program, Mr. Nobody will let them use it to find Shaw before he finds them.

We say, “Furious 7 is now exploding in a theatre near you.”

TAYLOR: I’m gonna try not to be too hard on Furious 7. The film is a chimera due to the death of star Paul Walker, who died a passenger in an unrelated car crash over half-way through production. The filming continued. Walker’s younger brothers stood in for him and computer graphics gave them his face.

I couldn’t tell which scenes had fake Paul, but it was sometimes obvious that Paul was no longer there because the other actors had changed, becoming sad. It also became clear that Walker’s character, agent O’Conner, was “going away,” appearing in rays of sunlight, distancing himself, taking a new path, etc. However, if you judge the film by what you see and hear onscreen, Furious 7 is two movies mashed together: one concerns revenge and the other a sort of heist. It took four editors to do so, but don’t worry, absolutely no aspect of this movie has any basis in reality. Within 30 minutes you’ll have a giant grin on your face and within an hour you will have devolved into a jellyfish, attracted to loud noises and flashing lights.

Furious 7 is action movie heroin, fundamentally ridiculous and irresistible, a formula for a primal response.

HOWE: Cheesy, over-the-top, silly are just a few words to sum up Furious 7, but for some reason I really enjoyed it.

I have only seen a couple of films from this franchise but you don’t really need to know what has happened in the previous films. Dom’s wife Letty is an amnesiac, for instance, but it’s unclear why.

If this is your first Fast and Furious, you can fill in the blanks well enough. The action is a fast, nonstop roller-coaster ride. The cinematography is top notch. You can’t tell where the real stunts end and the computer graphics take over.

Even the acting isn’t that wooden. All the actors involved did a fine job, some not as well as others, but the good ones pulled the weaker ones through.

There are a few funny moments dotted throughout and I laughed more at this, in a good way, than some of the so-called comedies we have seen recently. I think the clever move was bringing in Russell and Statham. Both of these actors played well off the others. I loved how Statham was like a machine. He gets knocked down, he gets up and has another go. He reminded me of the ‘70s toy, Weebles. They wobble but they don’t fall down.

TAYLOR: Furious 7 is easily the best save of a movie in recent memory, but that’s not really enough to garner more than a technical respect. Once you have bolstered your suspension of disbelief to the point of meaninglessness, you are left with chases, punches and explosions. But what more do you need?

– Taylor gives Furious 7 2.5 more sequels out of 5.

– Howe gives it 4 gearshifts out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe review the latest films for The Morning Star every week.