Matt’s Movies: Fast and Furious 7 Delivers Action, Pays Tribute

The cheesy chain pulls off a suprisingly touching tribute to Paul Walker


Matt Chouinard, Film Critic

Fast and Furious 7 was a movie that had a lot going against it. It’s outrageously over the top action style is a turn off to some, it’s unusual for the seventh film in a franchise to succeed in being fresh and appealing, and  it had to delay filming midway through because of the tragic death of one of the franchise’s most beloved stars, Paul Walker. When all is said and done though, Fast and Furious 7 is an absolute success, being not only one of the most purely entertaining action movies of recent years, but also a wonderful tribute to Paul Walker.

Fast and Furious 7, directed by James Wan, continues to follow the exploits of Dominic Toretto(Vin Diesel) and his crew following their apprehension of Owen Shaw(Luke Evans) in the sixth movie. Dom and Letty(Michelle Rodriguez) are returning to normal life together, and Brian O’Connor(Paul Walker) is adjusting to family life with Mia(Jordana Brewster) and their son. Everything changes though when Deckard Shaw(Jason Statham) learns that his brother was put in a hospital because of Dom and his crew. He begins a manhunt to find and kill all of them, destroying everything in his path. All of a sudden, Dom, Letty, Brian, Roman(Tyrese Gibson), and Tej(Ludacris) are being targeted and have to act fast. With the help of the mysterious Mr. Nobody(Kurt Russell), who has his own agenda as well, Dom looks to put an end to Shaw’s rampage.

What makes the Fast and Furious franchise so popular is its crazy, over the top action sequences. They aim to mindlessly entertain, nothing more, and if that can be accepted by the audience going to watch then they will surely have a good time. With that being said, Fast and Furious 7 is the most over the top, outrageous, ridiculous, and fun of them all. The success of the movie is based firmly in its awesome action sequences. Plausibility has long been thrown out the window and this allows for some very creative and amazing scenes that are simply breathtaking. The choreography is outstanding, showcasing all the actors, including their cars, at the highest intensity. The movie starts with a bang and never lets up, producing wire to wire action, with a few jaw dropping scenes in particular that will spur smiles from any fan of the genre. This movie conveys a more layered story than has been seen in most of the franchise’s previous entries as well. There is a storyline here with enough engaging subplots to keep the audience interested when the action isn’t going strong.

The acting in the movie isn’t amazing, but it is solid and gets the job done. It really is a group effort, with everyone playing their part well. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker turn in quality performances, as usual with their lead characters. Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris do well in their comedic supporting roles, and Dwayne Johnson is awesome as always playing his macho cop role really well. Jason Statham is a solid addition to the franchise, playing his villain role well, creating a worthy adversary for Dom and the gang. The best performance of the movie though would have to be Kurt Russell. Right from the time he first appears on screen Russell runs the show and conveys a wonderfully colorful personality, showcasing a great sense of humor to go along with his position of power within a secret organization.

One downside to the movie is some of the camerawork choices made by James Wan. He incorporates lots of close ups and quick camera shot changes during the film. This is different from what was done in the last few films with Justin Lin, and at first it comes across as slightly annoying. The fight scenes become a bit muddled at times, but over time it becomes adjusted to and doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment.

Aside from the awesome action, this movie succeeds in offering something else to the audience, a wonderful tribute to Paul Walker. It was known that Walker died during filming, but nobody really knew how the studio would handle his real life death. They ended up being able to complete the movie with help from his brothers and digital technology, and at the end of the movie the Brian O’Conner chapter of the Fast and Furious story comes to a close. The way they handle it is quite genuine and touching, allowing the movie to serve as a quality tribute to the life and career of Paul Walker.

Overall, Fast and Furious 7 is an absolutely ridiculous movie, with so much over the top action that it will border on obnoxious to some. This may be true, but with an open mind it will be seen for what it really is, which is an extremely enjoyable action movie that does what every movie can only hope to do… successfully entertain the viewer. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anybody who enjoys action and wants to be entertained.