The fast and the Furious Franchise is a pretty interesting thing, starting off with the first few movies being about street racing, it has become one of the biggest action movie franchises in the world. The fast and the Furious is universals biggest movie franchise and Furious 7 this year's first billion dollar movie.
I really liked Fast and the Furious 6, it had great action and was a ton of fun. It also the self-awareness that something as big and absurd as this franchise needs to keep itself in check. So I was pretty keen to see Furious 7 and after the unfortunate death of Paul Walker really wanted to see how it would be handled and for the most part I was satisfied. Furious 7 is a good action movie, with great set piece moments and handled the Paul Walker issue very well. I don’t think I liked it as much as 6 but it was still a good though somewhat muddled movie.
Story was nothing too special just an excuse to go places and do crazy stunts. F6 set up Jason Statham's Deckard __ to be big villain and he played the part decent enough but was not the only villain and towards the end does not have the impact that was being built up earlier. The main cast return minus the characters who have died and few new faces are added. Notably Nathalie Emmanuel (GoT Missandei) as Megan Ramsey and Kurt Russell as Frank Petty a.k.a Mr Nobody who fit in quite well, Ramsey looks like a good addition to the main crew and Mr Nobody is pretty decent supporting character.
One of the big features of the FF franchise these days is the action involving very expensive cars and on this front it does not disappoint. The trailer kind of spoils the a fair amount, the cars dropping and car going from building to building but the third act gets pretty creative as well although the location is not as exotic the first big 2 action sequences. Fight scenes are decent as well for the most part. One of the interesting parts of the movie is CG Paul Walker its definitely him in Act 2 but in the first big action sequence the last big one its questionable if its him or his brothers. There are defiantly points where you know its him and other where there is something a bit off. They do a good job but the eyes the giveaway when it's his brothers. It’s a lot better than young Jeff bridges in Tron but even with Pauls Brothers, Weta Digital and very careful shots it's still pretty tough to complete replace someone in a movie.
The movie is not without its issues though, Paul Walkers death was always going to have an impact and there is a lot that has to make way for how they handle his death. Deckard Shaw, the big bad villain, the God Eye a big item in the story end up taking quite a bit of a back seat to make room the sub plot that was created to send Paul Walker off. The movie also does not flow as well as 6 and is a bit disjointed at times.
Overall though I really enjoyed this movie. Furious 7 is not high art but it knows what it is and it knows what it wants to give to the audience. A big action movie, a tribute to Paul Walker and an enjoyable experience to the movie goer.
More Thoughts, Spoilers ahead
On Paul Walker
I think the way his death was handled was pretty well done. They did not kill him off, there was a sub plot about effectively retiring from the FF world to raise his kids and be with his family. It is very much in keeping with the general themes of the Franchise of Family and makes his death not just plot device but like the end of a chapter. Will we ever see him again in the Franchise? I think it's possible that after FF 15 or something like that we could see him and his family come over the horizon waving at Dom but anything besides that likely not.
On Diversity and themes
FF Franchise is quite an interesting franchise as it likely has the most diverse cast of any movie popular movie franchise. And Furious 7 is not different. I really think it’s a great thing to have especially in Hollywood block busters. F7F is really a pioneer in this and I think the movie is better for it. Obviously the theme of family works really well with diversity, in that these diverse individuals be it race, gender, background, profession have come together to be a family. Holly wood block busters are becoming more diverse, it's happening in comics and is making its way to comic book movies, and casts like in the FF franchise will hopefully be more the norm one day.
On the Franchise Future
Looks like there will be a FF8, considering this is Universals highest grossing Franchise and first billion dollar movie in around 10 years this was not really a surprise. Hopefully they get the right people behind the Franchise again.