Three out of five kernels
You already know what you’re getting into as soon as you step into the theater to watch “Furious 7,” and for fans of the franchise, not much disappoints.
Leading off from the last film, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) decides to seek revenge on Dom (Vin Diesel) and the crew for what they did to his brother. He’s out for blood, which means elaborate car-related thrills to stay alive — and stop Shaw.
The plot is never about what makes the most sense, but what looks the coolest. And there are some sick moves in “Furious 7” — cars parachuting out of planes, driving off tall buildings, exploding military trucks in the mountains. Realism is never the goal.
However, the plot runs out of gas toward the end of the third act. Every fight seems like this will finally be the last, when all of a sudden some new terror emerges.
The action isn’t all car stuff, but hand-to-hand combat, too. Those scenes play well, and it doesn’t hurt having some help from Thailand’s Tony Jaa, a martial arts master. Diesel and Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson also throw some punches, and use their physical size and strength to pick up adversaries and toss them around without making you question their ability to do so.
The cinematography helps the action by creating some clever shots, falling with characters rather than staying stationary. But then the use of a shaky-cam distracts as it’s impossible to focus on the action with the camera jerking around.
The film, and the larger franchise, is always successful at making the audience believe that the characters are family, a phrase Dom often repeats. That’s never been clearer than in “Furious 7,” in which the family is being so violently threatened. Or in real life, as the film pays a special tribute to actor Paul Walker (who died in 2013), creating genuine emotion from the actors that transcends to the audience.
Ultimately, “Furious 7” is all about two things: cars and family. It has the kind of cars you look at and go “sweet ride,” just before they smash it beyond recognition. And it has characters who sacrifice for each other, care about each other, love one another and joke with one another. Maybe it doesn’t have everything to make a winning film, but it has everything Fast and the Furious fans need. And that’s all that matters.
Brewster can be reached at (208) 848-2238 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.