When it comes down to it, most of us are simple creatures. We want something light to go with our popcorn. We don’t want complexity or artsy camera angles. We just want a heart-touching story and, if it’s not too much trouble, an awesome car chase or two. Plus, explosions. Lots of explosions.
Thus, the enduring popularity of the “Fast and Furious” series, a testosterone-heavy soap opera with slammin’ special effects, drool-worthy supercars, and plenty of hard combat against bad guys. It has everything you’re looking for in escapism car racing action flicks. Explosions, too.
The story, in all its daytime drama-type glory, picks up where the last movie left off. Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) seeks to avenge the death of his brother, who was killed in the last film. He’s a very bad dude, all black ops gone rogue, and not afraid to leave a trail of bodies in his wake.
So the band gets back together. Leader Dom (Vin Diesel) gathers Brian (Paul Walker), his lady love Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris). They team up with government agent Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and, presumably because The Rock was busy on other projects and not free for a lot of filming, new agent Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell).
Yes, Cars Can Fly
There’s trouble in lovers’ paradise. Brian and Mia (Jordana Brewster) have issues. She’s got a secret she doesn’t want to tell him. Dom and Letty have issues, as well. Letty suffers from total amnesia and can’t fully remember their love. Classic soap opera stuff.
But mostly the gang needs to drive very fast cars very rapidly to stop Shaw from getting a powerful computer program. This particular brand of cinematic wish fulfillment is all about Bugatti Veyron, Maserati Ghibili, and Aston Martin DB9 mingling with souped-up 1960s Cameros and Dom’s beloved 1970 Barracuda. Cars don’t fly, Brian tells his young son, and the line is repeated often, but, of course, in Furious movies they do.
They fly when dropped out of airplanes on a turbocharged parachute drop. They fly when escaping from a penthouse suite at the top of an Abu Dhabi skyscraper. They fly around corners and down city streets, around mountain passes and down mountain slopes. The action sequences are as great as they are impossible. Don’t try to understand them. Just enjoy the ride.
Some Heart-Touchers for the Ladies
“Furious 7,” however, has a touch more. Real life intersected tragically with the story line when star Paul Walker was killed in an off-set car accident in November 2013. Because “Furious 7” was filming at the time, the director melds existing footage and CGI wizardry to include his character, Brian O’Connor. The resulting tribute to Walker cuts through the fantasy and tugs the heartstrings. It’s pitch-perfect.
As Dom puts it, family is forever and, somehow, this fluffy, fun, goofy, and completely unbelievable series has become family. You might want to bring some tissue.
Rated PG-13, this movie is heavy on action and violence, but not gore. In other words, people fight a lot, but don’t bleed a lot. There is some brief language, but for the most part the dialogue is clean and not terribly suggestive. A few scenes show scantily thong-clad women at a car rally, but there is no overt sexuality or actual nudity. I would (and did) take my teenagers and pre-teens.