After being delayed nearly a year due to the tragic passing of one of the franchise’s main star’s: Paul Walker in an automobile accident the seventh installment of the Fast and Furious series finally raced in too theaters this Easter Weekend. Widely regarded as one of the most anticipated films of 2015, Director: James Wan and his cast faced the impossible challenge of not only replicating magic that has made Dom (Vin Diesel) and his family one of the most popular team of heroes in Hollywood, but also providing a fitting send off to Paul Walker and his character of Brian O’ Conner in sadly what would be the actor and characters final film. Fortunately for the furious fan base of these film’s Wan accomplished both.
Brilliantly James Wan decided to the drive the lens of Furious 7 through the element that makes this franchise so enduring to so many film goers across the world, that being family. At the root of our story are two men: Dom (Vin Deisel) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) that will want nothing more than to protect and or avenge their family. While some the actions these two men go through may be a little extreme. their personal drive for revenge keeps the film somewhat grounded even at it’s most unbelievable points.
Perhaps Extreme and not Furious would be the most natural way to describe this film. Just when you think Wan could not up the ante from older entries into this series he does it time and time again. Fast 7 has probably the most adrenaline pumping and jaw dropping action set piece in any film up until this point in the 2010’s. While many including myself rolled their eyes at the notion of dropping cars from a plane, the moment provided a scene that will live in action film history for years to come. For nearly 20 minutes audiences across the World sat on the edge of their seats as James Wan gave audiences a scene that would best be described as an amusement park ride than an film scene. Even more impressive never at any point did it become tiresome or boring as the meaningful stakes this franchise has already established and the chemistry between this cast of family made the most outrageous of shots feel organic.
While Fast 7 probably could have been aided by a little more Duane “The Rock” Johnson and a toning down of later action scenes following the incredible action set piece in the middle. The film’s ability to up the franchise ante to breathtaking stakes while at the same time remaining focused on character interactions make it arguably the best in the series. At the end of the day this film won’t be remembered for elements such as getting legendary Actor Kurt Russell to do the film or cars flying from planes, but rather the send off to Paul Walker and his character of Brian O’ Conner. James Wan thanks to the real love felt toward Paul by Vin Diesel is able to cap off Furious 7 with one of the most natural and emotional postmortem send off’s to an actor probably ever done. As the audience comprised primarily of people in their mid 20’s to early 30’s filed out of my theater there wasn’t a dry eye as my generation said goodbye to a big part of this fictional family that so many of us had grown up with. R.I.P Paul!