BY: STACIE BORGES
Dating back to 2001, the Fast and the Furious franchise has always smashed the box office with its renowned success of action-packed films centered around illegal street racing and the heists that come along with it all. The seventh installment of the series stars the long-time Fast veterans, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson and Tyrese Gibson. These films have always been known for their globetrotting espionage, and this time, spanning over three continents and featuring four nail-biting showdowns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
This installment is a follow up of Fast & Furious 6 where master thief and street racer, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the gang defeated a British criminal, Owen Shaw. In Furious 7, Owen Shaw’s brother, Deckard (Jason Statham), is out to seek revenge. After Deckard not only murders one of Dom’s best friends, but also blows up his house and nearly kills his girlfriend (Michelle Rodriguez) and his sister (Jordana Brewster), he also attacks Dom’s pal Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Thus, leaving Dom to understandably seek revenge against Deckard, creating the perfect storm for this action-packed film.
Action scene after action scene after action scene, the Furious films are no stranger to expertly-choreographed fights, insane graphics and absurd stunts in which the characters walk away from as if to be invincible. This time we see the crew skydiving out of planes along with their custom-made cars, completely free falling in mid-air making this the best looking and best edited Fast & Furious of the series.
Longtime director Justin Lin was replaced for this film by director James Wan, who has been previously known for his success in horror films, such as Insidious and The Conjuring. For this installment, Wan was not only facing a new genre challenge but also the anticipation of the release of the film in the wake of Paul Walker’s death.
Audiences raced to the theatre to not only see the supposed final installment, but also to capture the memorialization of the face of the franchise, Paul Walker, which in my opinion, Wan handled in a very tasteful manner.
As most would assume, Paul Walker’s deadly car crash in 2013 would have been mirrored in the film by killing off his character, Brian O’Conner, however this was simply not the case. We do see many scenes of brutal collisions in which Walker nearly escapes death, making us think that it would be the final scene to end his character. Instead, Wan went with a tasteful and emotional send off in which Brian O’Connor decides to retire from his dangerous lifestyle to take care of his family and his pregnant wife. In a tear-jerking scene, we watch the Furious team sit on a beach and watch Walker play in the distant sea with his family as the team talks about him leaving with faces of genuine devastation and raw emotion, which I have a feeling was coming from a genuine place as this cast has always self proclaimed themselves as being a family.
This film pushed the pedal to the metal and raced to the top of the box office grossing over $300 million in just a few weeks. After the film’s ending, it was followed with a tear-jerking montage of Paul Walker’s work throughout the last six films, spanning over almost 15 years. Fans of the late Walker or not, check out Fast & Furious 7 to see the team and their one last ride together.