Furious 7

“Wow. So many feels. I don’t even know where to start.

We know I love the Fast franchise. I proved it by blogging thru the series, leading up to Fast & Furious 6 two years ago. I think I’m past the statute of limitations for spoilers on 6, so I think I’m allowed to talk about the ending, seeing as how it sets up 7.

As you may recall, after the credits started rolling on 6, they quickly stopped. After some earlier tie ins to Tokyo Drift, with Han stating his intention to head that way, a pivotal scene from Tokyo Drift played out in the sudden break. Han’s car is speeding thru the city before the fiery crash that takes his life. But then, something new happened. There was another car on the other side that we hadn’t seen before. Out steps Jason Statham *gasp*. He throws Letty’s necklace at Han just before the car goes up in flames. He pulls out his phone and calls Dom, promising he’ll know him soon *GASP*. I’ve never left a movie so riled up for a sequel, not even any of Marvel’s post credit teases have had this affect on me. My favorite action star was gonna be in the next installment of (possibly) my favorite action franchise. Could not handle.

And then, a few months later, Paul Walker unexpectedly passed away. Yes the film and franchise were in jeopardy, but that was nothing compared to the shock and raw emotion of his sudden loss. I remember seeing the first few news reports popping up online, but I refused to believe it until multiple respectable sources started reporting the same. I was heartbroken.

So now, going into the (delayed and reworked) film, I was a glass case of emotion. I was sad over having to say goodbye to Walker, but found solace in knowing that no matter what, he’d be given a tremendous send off. Add to that the general excitement of seeing a new film in a franchise I love, AND again, Jason freakin’ Statham was gonna be in this. There was a nonzero chance that this would end up being my favorite installment.

I was going to a late show with a friend, so I only had a short window to either nap or refresh my memory. I watched the first half of Tokyo Drift and the second half of 6, which turned out to be about right. Context for the tie in plus some quick reminders on major recent events and where we left off. I was ready!

And oh my God it was so good! It delivered everything I love about these movies: insane action sequences, wonderful characters I’ve loved for over a decade, and new surprises as against all odds it surpasses all expectations.

Yeah, so those action sequences. Over the years, they’ve done everything you can possibly imagine with a vehicle. It wasn’t long before drag races and street chases weren’t enough. We’ve jumped onto a boat and off of a train. We’ve evaded tanks and pulled safes out of banks. What’s the only logical thing left? Flying. Oh, huh, that’s now covered . I remember thinking, there was only one thing I haven't seen them do, something that I've only seen done in Die Hard 4. And then it happened! Lil different, but essentially the same thing. Could not contain the happy.

There was one early sequence involving a bus, part of which is featured in the trailer that had me in such suspense, I could feel my entire body tense up. I could practically hear my physical therapist’s voice in my ear telling me to relax certain things we’ve been working for months to release, and I just could not do it until the scene was over. Also, not knowing how Walker would exit the series made the stakes just that much higher. I had a hunch of what would happen, which proved to be correct, but that still didn’t keep me from really fearing the worse at every turn. We also had a fresh perspective on everything. After 4 films, director Justin Lin handed the reigns over to James Wan, best known for horror films such as Saw and Insidious. Wan knows how to heighten the senses, and he brought in some fun play with camera angles that really shook things up. Seriously, this is a must watch for action junkies.

And oh, seeing Jason Statham was even more wonderful than I’d hoped. I hadn’t really thought about it until seeing him in action, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen him really fight and make use of all that training and talent. Now he got to unleash against Dwayne Johnson AND Vin Diesel (separate scenes). I also realized how appropriate he was to be added in, not just because he can kick butt like no one else, but his first two big break out roles involved cars: Handsome Rob in The Italian Job, and of course the titular Transporter.

And speaking of appropriate new actors who are linked to roles involving cars, Death Proof’s Kurt Russell makes a scenery chewing fun addition. Rumor has it the role is expected to expand for 8, so that’ll be something to look forward to. He wasn’t the only new player. Djimon Hounsou joined the villain roster, although compared to the fireworks of the other newbies, he seemed a bit under utilized. Still, if you need someone to have stoic intensity, he’s your man. Michelle Rodriguez’ Letty had herself a new playmate, whose identity I will not reveal since it was a fun surprise for me. We’ll just say that after last film’s fight with Gina Carano, there’s only one possible person who could follow up and deliver one incredibly bad ass fight. I love that Fast doesn’t forget about the girls, giving them meaty and interesting roles. Sure maybe Mia gets stuck in domestic-ville, but even she can find excuses to kick butt.

Because of the late time and some credit I needed to use, I decided to Zipcar to the theater. At first, I thought it was incredibly appropriate that I’d drive to the car movie. But I don’t drive often, and it was dark, but the hopping nightlife meant lots of pedestrian traffic, and various other excuses, I could barely handle going 30 MPH without white knuckling the steering wheel. As much as I love Fast, I myself will never be able to do what they do, which makes it all the more special.

One final word about Paul Walker. As to be expected, his send off was beautiful. Story wise, they went the way that I’d hoped, one that served the character and honored his legacy. I may have started tearing up a bit during his tribute in the last few minutes. It was perfect.

Furious Seven – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”

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