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Furious 7 Offers High-Flying Fun

Vin Diesel-Furious 7-1In the long and winding road of Fast and Furious movies, the latest entry ranks as one of the most entertaining—and
outlandish. I found the last film preposterous, but this one sets its larger-than-life
tone early on and never veers from it. (Cars parachuting onto a treacherous
mountain road? You bet!) Furious Seven
is like all 12 chapters of an old Saturday matinee serial mashed-up together
with dashing heroes and heroines, a seemingly indestructible villain, and a series
of challenges that inspire one enormous action sequence after another. This is
no longer about rubber hitting the road: it’s about using cars as props in a
series of highly imaginative (read: impossible) stunts that pump your
adrenaline and make for high-flying escapist fun.

At the core of all this is the bond of friendship and
loyalty that has developed among the principal characters, with Vin Diesel as the
father figure who periodically utters maxims about the importance of family. Much
of the dialogue is written (by Chris Morgan) to be delivered as punchlines, in
the Schwarzenegger “I’ll be back” mode, with appropriate pauses for effect and
music cues on the soundtrack. Oddly, these cliché-driven moments actually work in context, almost encouraging the audience to laugh with the movie as it gives its fans
exactly what they came for.

The presence of a lethal loose-cannon bad guy played by
Jason Statham has former adversary Dwayne Johnson (who’s temporarily laid up in
the hospital) and government agency bigwig Kurt Russell encouraging the Furious
gang to do what they have to do to bring down this deadly foe. That’s all it
takes for our team of good guys to spring into action, in a series of exotic
locations around the globe before winding up in their hometown of Los Angeles.

Paul Walker furious 7-1

Every member of the team gets his or her moment in the
limelight, and as the story wraps up, the movie offers a graceful goodbye to
the late Paul Walker. Fans couldn’t ask for a better tribute.

For his series debut, Maylaysian-born horror film director James
Wan keeps a steady hand on the storyline and the action in this slick and
impressive piece of entertainment. Surrounded by series veterans, aided and
abetted by enormous visual-effects and stunt teams, he has delivered the goods.
I don’t think any Fast and Furious
enthusiast will feel let down—unless he or she misses the kinder, gentler days
when the movies were actually about road racing.

Incidentally, despite all advertising to the contrary, the
title of the film as seen onscreen is FuriousSeven.
I can’t explain or defend this decision, I only report it for fellow obsessives
out there.

2 comments

  1. mike schlesinger says:

    One thing that impresses me about this series is not only that it has a multi-ethnic cast (and makes no big deal about it) but also how, as you noted, the word "family" is repeatedly invoked. In an era where bigotry is increasingly on the rise again, it’s heartening to see this Roddenberry-esque devotion to the we-are-all-the-same ethos.

  2. Joe says:

    Agree, Mike (and EW did a feature story on that topic this week; very interesting). Sometimes movies are simply made to be fun, like Leonard’s reference to old serials, and this is one of them. It still has to be good–something too many big spenders like Transformers fail to do–so I’m glad to see this movie so roundly praised. BTW, I remember sneaking out of my very first adult job to walk down 42nd street to the rather new AMC in Times Square and watch the first FF movie. Such a fond memory of a fun, silly, action oriented film. Never would have thought it would get this big.

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