Need something to insert between those cinematic puzzles and heady, introspective foreign films? My solution has always been an action movie. With action movies you need not be concerned about plot, there usually isn’t one. Whether or not the acting is complex or nuanced is irrelevant. You’re there for the rush, all you need is the big, clear picture and loud volume you can get in IMAX.
The Furious franchise has always been that for me. While some of the installments were weaker than others, I could always count on good action, predictably snappy dialogue and totally impossible car maneuvers thanks to FX. I have to say, despite an initial reluctance to see Furious 7, it was absolutely the best of the Furious lot.
I’ve been waiting for England’s action bad-ass to hop on one of America’s action franchises and now its done. Jason Statham enters Furious as Deckard Shaw, the retired black ops brother of Owen Shaw, a guy the crew took out in Furious 6. No surprise, he’s out for revenge.
Aside from what is an anti-hero smack-down between Statham, Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, there was a hilarious entry of a new character, Mr. Nobody, a director of black ops stateside played to the hilt by Kurt Russell. I haven’t enjoyed Russell in a role so much since his easy-to-hate Stuntman Mike in Death Proof. Russell’s smooth-talking monologues delivered with wicked timing and priceless facial expressions were definitely the major comic relief moments.
I could go on about the plot involving a bit of tech stolen by a terrorist and Mr. Nobody contracting the crew to retrieve it before Deckard but that’s only the obligatory spark to start the action fire. Action you will get; in car hijackings at 100mph under machine gun fire, donut spinouts hugging jagged cliffs, multiple car jumps across (and through) skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi and even what seemed to be the auto analogue of a HALO jump.
While the business end of the Furious franchise has stated there will be 3 more installments, it remains speculative. To me, this would be a good place to stop but something about how they positioned Statham’s character at the end, tells me he not quite done.
As you know Paul Walker died before they could release this film. There had to be some mention of that in the film and the execution was impressive. In the final 5 minutes Vin Diesel gives a brotherly good bye speech to Walker, masquerading as an acknowledgment that he has retired from the life to raise a family. Visually we see both of them drive away in separate cars side by side, flash sequences of Walker’s happier moments from the previous six installments interleaved. Walker’s car then veers off to the left at a fork in the road. Fade, Insert dedication with one simple sentence.