Wednesday, April 1, 2015

FURIOUS 7


Vin Diesel   Paul Walker   Jason Statham   Michelle Rodriguez   Ludacris   Dwayne Johnson 
                                Tyrese Gibson   Kurt Russell   Nathalie Emmanuel   Djimon Hounsou





In Furious 7, 7 refers to the 7th iteration of a series of action films that make up a franchise of revving cars, high speed chases, fearsome artillery, high tech equipment, and just plain old fist fights that seem to go on for hours.  In an odd play on carnival bumper cars, two regular cars intentionally come at each other full speed not once, but twice.  (If something’s really good you always do it twice, right?).  Not only that, cars in 7 can actually fly up into the air and more than once drive off cliffs, and miraculously, no one is killed (that is, the good guys).
            What story there is, is about the brother of Owen Shaw, Deckard (Statham), coming over from Britain to avenge his death; he’s a fierce fighter who carries around bombs like they were confetti he likes to toss.  He’s lethal as well in smarts and skills, in that he used to be in British special forces until he was dismissed. 
            Another strain of the story involves a billionaire, Mr. Nobody (Russell), who engages the team of Dominic (Vin Diesel) et al. to rescue a professional hacker who has devised software that will locate anyone anywhere any time.  Bad guys are after the software creator (Emmanuel), but Mr. Nobody realizes how dangerous such an invention would be in the wrong hands, so engages Dominic’s (Vin Diesel) team to intercept them.  What follows is harrowing scene after harrowing scene with engines revving, furious car chases (even cars flying through buildings), bombs going off, people jumping from car to car or jumping out and rolling to safety, helicopters that rain down fire on their targets, drones that do the same, and on and on and on.
            Obviously, millions of people like these kinds of movies that are almost entirely action (a la the above), no matter how unbelievable, with only a dab of emotion and a smidgen of intentional comedy in the plot.  Oh, a tender relationship is thrown in here and there (Dom and Letty; Brian and Mia), and family is referred to in capital letters, but mostly the film is very loud with special effects violence and well-choreographed fights between men and between women.  Roman (Gibson)—a driver, a distracter, and a blowhard—is something like comic relief, but the lines written for him are not actually laugh-out-loud funny.  But after all this, at the end of the film, there is a moving tribute to the actor Paul Walker who plays the part of Brian O’Connor and who was killed in a car accident last year that was devastating to his fans as well as his family. 
            Clearly, this is not a film I would choose to go see on my own, but I do acknowledge some interest in the plot (such as software that will track everyone, and, like Mr. Nobody says, change police searches forever), and admire the talent of director James Wan, the actors, and crew.  Still, I can’t see the purpose or value in films like this that are mostly loud and more like watching a video game that has little relevance to reality.

A movie for Nascar fans.

Grade:  C                                    By Donna R. Copeland

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