furious_seven

Dir: James Wan

Writer(s): Chris Morgan

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Djimon Hounsou, Tony Jaa, Jordana Brewster, and Kurt Russell

Synopsis: Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for the death of his brother.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

It’s hard to believe that a series about street racers has become so beloved and able to change itself with every film that precedes it. It’s gone from the streets of L.A to Miami, to Tokyo, back to L.A to Rio de Janeiro, then to London and Spain, and all the way back to L.A. Needless to say, the series has gone all over the globe and has connected to fans in such a way that the filmmakers want to keep upping the ante. Furious 7 continues the tradition, but at the end of the day, this installment serves as a fitting goodbye to not only a favorite and original character, but one their actors.

 

Furious 7 starts rather unusually for a Fast & Furious movie. They usually start with the main characters and a possibly car race/chase. However, Furious 7 beings by showing us Deckard Shaw (Statham) finding out about his brothers and showing just how dangerous he is, it’s a rather great opening too. Deckard then ends up in a DSS building with Hobbs to get information on the group that took out his brother Owen in Furious 6. The two get into a major brawl, which ends up with Hobbs (Dwayne) getting seriously hurt and Deckard getting away with the information he needs.

 

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We switch over to see Brian (Walker) and how he is adjusting –somewhat– to domestic life like: living in a house, taking his son Jake to school, and not dodging bullets, which he misses according to Mia (Brewster). Dom (Diesel) visits Brian and Mia, when Dom gets a phone call from Tokyo from Deckard Shaw saying he’s going to get to know him, and sets off an explosion in the Toretto home. No one gets killed, but this leads Dom to go into revenge mode and try to figure out what the hell is going on.

 

All of this leads into Hobbs telling Dom who is responsible and Dom ends up working in a government official named Mr. Nobody (Russell) promising him he can get him Deckard, only if he can get him something the government wants. Mr. Nobody puts Dom and his crew of Brian, Letty (Rodriguez), Tej (Ludacris), and Roman (Gibson) to rescue Ramsay (Emmanuel) in a great mountain side sequence (which is heavily promoted in the ads). Ramsay created something called the “God’s Eye” I won’t get too into the details behind “God’s Eye” but let’s just say it’s the NSA’s wet dream.

 

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Everyone knows that the Fast & Furious films are known for their crazy car scenes, and like I wrote earlier, Furious 7 has a good chuck of them. Obviously the cars dropping from a plane which leads to a great mountain side road sequence, you also have the car jumping from The Sky Towers in Abu Dhabi, and the great final sequence that is a bit tone down from the past final sequence like the bank vault in Fast Five and the tarmac sequence in Furious Six, but is still great to enjoy as it rolls on. There are also some pretty descent fight scenes, including one with Rodriguez and Ronda Rousey’s body guard character.

 

New director to the series, James Wan, fit perfectly into an already established franchise taking over for Justin Lin, who directed the series since Tokyo Drift. Wan does some great stuff with the camera and certain angles that are pretty unique to the series and fit right in. Wan definitely had a hard job taking over the reins from Lin, but he holds his own with the ensemble cast.

 

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The cast itself is as great as always. One of the themes in the series is Family, and that is nothing but at the forefront here. Not only as the characters, but of course, saying goodbye to Paul Walker (I’ll get to that in a bit). Walker and Vin Diesel do their usual thing, while Ludacris and Tyrese continue to play off each other very well with their comedy chops. Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty keeps going with her arc from the previous film, although here it has more of a payoff than it did in the last film. Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs is great as always with his one-liners and overall manliness.

 

The new cast members also hold their own against the original cast. Jason Statham is a worthy villain to the team as a whole and is deadly in every way possible. Djimon Hounsou, who is left out of the promotional material for some reason, plays Jakande, a mercenary who has Ramsay hostage, and while it is nice to see Hounsou among the cast the character doesn’t really do much and they could have gotten anyone else. There is also Tony Jaa’s Kiet who gets into some fights with Brian – which being nitpicky for a second, I had to really suspend disbelief that Walker, and obviously no disrespect to him, could go toe-to-toe with Jaa in a fight. Game of Thrones actress Nathalie Emmanuel’s Ramsay fits right into the cast and even has a scene essentially telling us who the members of the group are, ie: Roman being the “Joker” of the group.

 

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Finally, Kurt Russell plays government agent simply known as Mr. Nobody. Russell is a great addition to the cast and seems to be enjoying himself very well. He also has a descent amount of screen time which kind of surprised me to be honest, but it was welcomed. Also, early reports suggested that Russell’s role could lead to a bigger role in the sequel, which I can totally see.

 

There are some great surprises in the film and some revelations that really add more depth to the series and film itself. With all those revelations, Furious 7 feels like at times it is a close to the series and also open ended for another sequel (which they already sort of announced, but not really confirmed). However, Furious 7 is also a tribute and dedicated to the late Paul Walker.

 

There is a very bittersweet tribute to Walker and his character Brian at the end of the film. I won’t go into detail about it, but like I wrote, it is very bittersweet. It’s a touching and tear-jerking tribute that I’ll admit, I started to tear up watching it. Walker had completed most of the role, and going back to the family theme, Walker’s brothers Cody and Caleb came in to help out, by acting as body doubles. The crew also had help with the use of CGI, which was more obvious at the end and using used footage from earlier films. It’s really hard to tell, again until the end, where they used it, so you won’t really be distracted trying to figure out if where they used it.

 

All in all, Furious 7 brings us back to the characters and world that we have fell in love with. The action is still over-the-top at times and the cast is as great as always. While the film isn’t perfect, it feels long even though it’s literally a few minutes longer than the last film. However, at the end of the day Furious 7 is a great ride to behold and the tribute to Paul Walker at the end is beautiful.

 

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R.I.P Paul Walker

 

Furious 7

4.5 out of 5

April Movie Releases

Well hello there!

 

It’s already April? Anyway, April seems to be a quite month, with the only real “big” release being Furious 7. It’s a bit odd considering it’s the month before the Summer Movie Season, but I’m sure we’ll get some surprise numbers at the box office (hopefully).

 

 

3rd

Woman in Gold (Limited Release): Ryan Reynolds and Helen Mirren are bringing a true story to life. A Jewish refugee, played by Mirren, who takes on the government to recover artwork she believes belongs to her family that was painted by a famous artist. Reynolds will play the lawyer helping her. The cast also includes Katie Holmes, Tatiana Maslany, Charles Dance, Daniel Bruhl, and Jonathan Pryce.

 

Furious 7: It’s hard to believe that the longer a franchise goes, the better it has gotten. But sure is the case with The Fast & Furious franchise. Arguably, the ultimate “just enjoy yourself” series has really upped their game when the original cast returned. Of course, the big thing in this film is Furious 7 being the last film the late Paul Walker will be in. The film will also reportedly have a tribute to the actor, which is said to be touching. The future of the franchise is still up in the air for the time being, but I’m sure the film will garner more people to see Walker on screen for the final time.

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10th

Limited Releases

Clouds of Sils Maria: Juliette Binoche stars as an actress who joins a play that made her famous years before. She is also set to play opposite a actress who has a penchant for scandal, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. Kristen Stewart also stars as a Binoche’ character’s assistant who helps her get ready for the role. The film got some great buzz when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and got Stewart a Cesar award becoming the second American (and first female actor) to win the award.

 

Kill Me Three Times: Simon Pegg plays a hit-man who gets himself involved in a messy situation with different groups after botched assignment. I just like the idea of Pegg playing a hit-man and the film looks like a fun time. Kill Me Three Times also stars Teresa Palmer, Luke Hemsworth, Alice Braga, Sullivan Stapleton and Callan Mulvey.

 

Ex Machina: Writer Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine, Dredd) makes his directorial debut about a young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) who is selected to participate in an experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a female A.I. (Alicia Vikander). The film has gathered some pretty impressive praise saying how great it is, so let’s hope the praise lives up to it. The film also stars Oscar Isaac.

 

Wide Release

The Longest Ride: An adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel that has the lives of a young couple (Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood) intertwined with an older couple as the older man reflects back on a lost love.

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17th

Monkey Kingdom: A documentary that follows a newborn monkey and its mother as they struggle to survive within the Temple Troop, a group of monkeys in the ancient ruins in South Asia. It’s part of Disney Nature’s films that come out every year.

 

Unfriended: A horror film that follows a group of friends in an online chat room who are haunted by a mysterious supernatural force using an account of their dead friend. The whole film is said to take place in a chat room. I don’t know how that is going to work, but some early reviews have been very mixed.

 

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2: Yes, a sequel to Paul Blart happened. This time it has Kevin James reprising his role as the titled character on a vacation in Vegas with his daughter, but ends up getting caught in a heist, and needs to save the day again. I’m not going to lie, the first Paul Blart movie had some really funny moments. Was it perfect? No, but movies are supposed to be fun.

 

Child 44: Based on a novel, Child 44 stars Tom Hardy as a disgraced member of the military police investigating a series of nasty child murders during the Stalin-era Soviet Union. The film has a very impressive cast in Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Charles Dance, Jason Clarke, Paddy Considine, and Vincent Cassel. The film looks like a great dark crime drama/thriller.

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24th

Limited Releases

The Water Diviner: Russell Crowe makes his directorial debut in a War Drama based on a true story of an Australian man traveling to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons. The film has already played in some markets and is getting some descent reviews and has stars like Crowe himself, Jai Courtney, Isabel Lucas and Olga Kurylenko.

 

Adult Beginners: Comedian Nick Kroll dips his toes in the dramatic role in this film about a young, narcissistic entrepreneur whose life goes into total disarray and moves from Manhattan with his estranged pregnant sister (Rose Byrne), brother-in-law (Bobby Cannavale) and 3-year-old nephew in the suburbs to become their nanny.

 

Wide Releases

The Age of Adaline: The film stars a woman (Blake Lively) who is rendered ageless after an accident and after years of a solitary life, she meets a man who might be worth losing her immortality for. The film stars Harrison Ford, Michiel Huisman, Amanda Crew, Ellen Burstyn, and Kathy Baker.

 

Little Boy: Religious movies do have a market with audiences. Some even break the Top Ten in the Box Office with a limited release. Little Boy is about the love of a little boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring his father home from WWII.

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