Furious 7 came speeding into cinemas back in April when this blog was a figment of my imagination, smashing records in the process for both the franchise itself and for the box office in general. In light of the DVD and Blu-Ray release of the film, I take a look back on why it has become one of my favourite films of the year so far and why it deserves the success its earned.
Whilst continuing the extravagant thrills and gripping stunts the franchise is known for, no one could prepare for the emotional resonance and significance the seventh installment would have, even with the pyrrhic incentive of featuring the late Paul Walker’s final performance. Walker’s untimely death put the production on hold, with later promises that the film would be delivered in the actor’s memory, engulfing the film in sadness, running throughout the veins and foundations of the film.
The film follows Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Connor (Walker) and Co protecting themselves and their families from the danger Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) poses, as he spins out on a revenge-fuelled battle for the trouble they brought to his brother. It’s very paint-by-numbers, but plot is usually second gear anyway for this franchise, which focuses more on the stunts, visual exhilaration and set pieces - all of which are supersized and glorified from previous franchise entries.
If you’ve come looking for a film that engages your brain or educates you profoundly you should know by now that this is not the film for you. This is very much a popcorn thriller and a very good one at that. An attack of the senses, the film speeds through its 137 minute run, rarely pausing for breath. The mind-blowing airdrop scene that segues into the bus ambush sequence is mesmerisingly big and bold and feels like nothing we’ve ever seen for a franchise already known for the audacious sequences. And then comes the Dubai skyscraper, which is somehow bigger and bolder. The film just doesn’t lay off building upon its set pieces and action. So strangely, when the film does pause for breath, it shines the brightest.
Emotion is embedded in the film’s structure from beginning to end, whether coincidentally or purposefully– “Just promise me, Brian. No more funerals” creates a moment of sorrow and woe that continues throughout proceedings. A phonecall between Walker’s character and his onscreen wife reinforces the genuine infection between not only the characters, but the actors - the family they form, another theme strongly prevalent. By the time the final ‘For Paul’ sequence rolls by, there’s not a dry eye in the room. Poignant music, a stunning montage and touching narration is the most sincere goodbye. Handled to perfection, the goodbye to both O’Connor and Walker serves as one of the most touching and moving scenes in recent film history.
The decision for Brian O’Connor to live on in the franchise was the best thing they could have done. To allow the character Walker has embodied for such a long time to live on allows the audience to feel solace, that even though he is no longer with us, he lives on in these films, a franchise he arguably defined.
Summary: I never thought I'd get so emotional over a film that's usually so dominated by stunts and tricks but Furious 7 offers the most emotional sendoff to a character and actor we all love, immortalising Paul Walker in film in the most perfect way.
Standout: 'For Paul'. Most gracious, tearful moment for an ending I almost dreaded.