Thursday, April 16, 2015

'Furious 7' is Not the Franchise's Best, but Proved That It Still Has a Lot Left in the Tank

Furious 7 has received from critics the highest rating ever given to a Fast and Furious movie.  However, I think that it’s being overrated a bit.  I think – with all due respect – that if we get rid of the sentimental value of this film serving as a Paul Walker tribute, and we can just be a bit more honest about it, and judge this movie on its own merit, we’ll arrive at the conclusion that this movie is not as great as Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6.  Seriously.  In my personal opinion, the past two Fast and Furious movies are better – the best two in the franchise. 

Furious 7 featured clever humor and one-liners here and there, but there was also some noticeable bad writing done on a couple of eye-roll inducing dialogues.  There were plenty of exhilarating and goofy action scenes to enjoy, but the climactic action sequence felt bloated and cluttered (hence, looked inferior compared to the action scenes during the early acts of the movie).  And the Rock – who lights up every scene he’s in and has a lot of scene-stealing lines ever since he joined the franchise – lacked screen-time.  Also, the camera work and editing were bad at times. 

Don’t misinterpret however that I didn’t like the movie.  I did.  It was a very fun watch.  For all its flaws, Furious 7 has ample good stuff to easily make up for it.  Firstly, again, most of the action scenes – both those involving cars and close-combat – were fantastic (I just didn’t like the climax – except for Paul Walker’s fight sequence.  That was awesome).  Secondly, I genuinely laughed whenever its attempts at humor hit the target (Tyrese Gibson’s character provided a good dose of comic relief once again).  Thirdly, the new characters were great.  It was a thrill to see The Transporter clash with Dominic Toretto; Jason Statham’s character has been, by far, the greatest, most badass villain of this franchise.  And Kurt Russell’s “bureaucratic badass agent” character was a delightful addition to the Fast and Furious universe – the guy was easily likable.  And, lastly, just like its predecessors, Furious 7 also has a lot of heart.

Moreover, I also have to applaud the work done on Paul Walker’s character.  I approve that instead of being killed off, he was instead retired in the most satisfying way possible.  I was also amazed by how the scenes that Walker was unable to shoot (because of his untimely death) were flawlessly accomplished by means of his brothers serving as stand-ins, strategic camera angles, and – most importantly – CGI.  Cinema magic has indeed come a long way.  The not-so-subtle, heartwarming tribute sequence at the end – to establish Brian O’Conner’s retirement from the franchise – was also a nice touch (though it was kind of funny how the manner of the characters’ behavior towards Brian’s retirement was as if he actually died). 

Furious 7 is dumb (as expected of this franchise), but immensely entertaining (as expected of this franchise since Fast Five).  And this latest Fast and Furious installment simply proved that this franchise still has a lot left in the tank. 

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