Well, I reviewed Fast and Furious 6. Might as well review Furious 7.
When it comes to one-upping the previous movie on completely ludicrous stunts . . . this is a “hold my beer” franchise, isn’t it?
There will be SPOILERS for this movie and all the prior films. There will NOT, however, be spoilers for The Fate of the Furious because I haven’t watched it yet. (And probably won’t until it comes out on DVD. I get the appeal of the big screen, but I kind of enjoy the open incredulity I can participate in at home.)
Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is a SHADOW, which is another way of saying he’s the Biggest Baddest Dude since the last Biggest Baddest Dude. After the events of the last film, he’s seeking revenge on Dom (Vin Diesel) and his family, beginning with murdering Han. So now Dom’s seeking revenge too, of course. It’s basically just one big vengeance fest where director James Wan takes the audience’s suspension of disbelief and tosses it out of an airplane (but with a parachute, so it’s okay).
1. First things first: it appears that Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) did not die last movie after all, but is merely in a coma? O-ho, I see who’s being set up to eventually come back for more crazy car vengeance shenanigans.
Also, this is bullshit. If Owen gets to come back, so do GISELE AND HAN. If you must take someone as your emotional stakes sacrificial goat, take Roman (Tyrese Gibson). His family will miss him because family, but the rest of us won’t really care, right?
2. I was a bit surprised by the beginning of the movie, and not just because that total bastard Owen is still alive. For one, I didn’t expect the weird time jump that, as far as I can tell, serves no real purpose, other than to give Mia (Jordana Brewster) more time to get pregnant again. Which is more than a little silly: I don’t mind that Brian (Paul Walker) is having a tough time settling down, but the idea that he needs a second kid to really see what’s important is pretty dumb.
I also fully expected a scene where Deckard tells Dom that Han is dead and MUAHAHAs all over the place while Dom’s faces goes from vague shock (I mean, it’s Dom, he can’t emote too much) to GRRRRR, RAGE. Instead of doing that, though, Deckard just tries to blow up Dom and his fam, which I guess works too.
I must admit that I’m relieved we don’t replay Han’s entire death scene yet again, although we still get a snippet of it, mostly from Deckard’s POV. It’s an improvement, but still. This poor bastard has been dying for like three movies now. I feel for you, Han. I feel for you.
3. I thought maybe I’d arrange this movie’s Most Ludicrous Moments into some kind of meaningful countdown, but . . . it’s too hard. So, in no particular order:
3A. That Time Dom and His Family Reversed Their Cars Out of A Plane, Free Fell For A While, and Eventually Parachuted to Safety.
Like yeah, no. That’s a big no go right there.
Apparently, they really did push a bunch of cars out of a plane, which is both incredibly impressive and kind of horrifying, all at the same time. I generally prefer not to watch these kinds of Behind-the-Scenes videos (I don’t wanna know how the movie magic is made cause it’s magic, goddammit!), but I actually enjoyed this one. Stunt people lead horrifying lives, and I’m happy that they’re happy, but good God, I would never want to be one.
This scene, BTW, is the one where I relate the most to Roman because he’s the only one in the whole group who has anything resembling the proper reaction to this bullshit. Everyone else is like “sup,” and he’s like “we’re gonna DIE,” and everyone else is like “chill, bro,” and I’m like “oh no, peeps, oh no; you definitely should all die from this.”
Roman’s very relatable and legitimate panic should totally make him my favorite character in this entire movie, and yet. And yet.
3B. That Time Brian and Dom Drove/Flew Between Two Buildings With The Sun Shining Gloriously Behind Them . . . And Then Did It Again.
Brian desperately trying to remind Dom that cars don’t fly might very well be my very favorite bit in the whole franchise.
The first time they soar from one tower to the next is ridiculous, of course, but that they have to do it again, I mean, that’s just comedy gold. Laughed my ass off.
3C. That Time Where Dom Didn’t Die Even Though He Totally Should Have.
I mean, this happens a lot. The plane stunt alone should have killed basically everybody. Meanwhile, Hobbs and Elena are blown out a ten-story window, land on a car, and somehow live to tell the tale–although I suppose at least Hobbs has the decency to get hospitalized. (Elena’s apparently fine because she landed on Hobbs–and like, no, I don’t think physics works the way you think it works.) Not to mention, if memory serves, Hobbs and Deckard should have killed each other several minutes before that explosion, since they keep throwing each other through giant panes of glass, like honestly, Hollywood, do you really not understand how glass works? And later on, Deckard gets full-on hit by a car, but you know, you can’t kill a shadow with a car, or whatever, so he’s fine with it. He basically just ninja-rolls and starts shooting again.
Still, I think of the many, many Ressler Award nominees found in this movie, it’s Dom who ultimately has to take top prize when he purposefully drives his car off a cliff and tumbles down a mountain at full speed, crashing over and over again . . . and then just climbs out of the shattered car looking, you know, a little sore, like maybe he overdid it a bit at the gym. It’s insane. At least Ramsey, who also survives, gets to wear a helmet before she goes down the cliff–although, like, helmets aren’t magic, people. There are limits to their preventative capabilities. But Dom, doesn’t need a helmet, of course, because he’s Dom. You could probably take a hammer to his skull and it would just bounce off.
3D. That Time Where Letty Brings Dom Back To Life With The Power Of Love.
You may think you love someone, but when the chips come down, if you can’t will your partner back to life by telling them to focus on you (whether they’re conscious and breathing or not) and confessing that your amnesia’s gone and that you remember not only just how much you love them but also that you’re secretly married, so he/she/they can’t die because you die if they die, and you’re not ready to leave this world yet . . . I mean, if you can’t do that, then it’s probably not true love. Let’s just be real here.
Charitably, I’ve decided that Dom is just playing possum at this point and waiting for Letty to confess her feelings before supposedly springing back to life, partially because it’s slightly less ridiculous, but also because I never really could figure out if Dom actually even needed CPR. I remember Brian asking if he was breathing, but I don’t remember hearing an actual confirmation that he wasn’t. Also, while it’s true that CPR is not the magical resurrection technique that most movies pretend it is, it’s also true that you should probably allow someone to perform CPR for more than twelve seconds before giving up on them, Letty.
4. Unfortunately, because I am and forever will be a critical bastard, there are always going to be ludicrous moments that I don’t like, like, I’ll forgive all sorts of building-jumping nonsense because I believe in a franchise that so consciously and enthusiastically embraces its absurdity, but some stuff just won’t fucking fly. Like the part in the movie where our heroes get their hands on
The Machine The Super Dangerous Tracking System To Beat All Dangerous Tracking Systems, use it to locate Deckard Shaw, and then–against all goddamned sense or reason–bring it with them to Deckard’s lair, where he promptly gets the upper hand and obtains the tracking system because of course he fucking does.
No. Just no. I don’t buy this for a second. Bringing this device along is massively dumb, like, on a truly unacceptable level. You don’t need to be near your target to find him with The Super Dangerous Tracking System; that’s literally, like, the whole point of having it in the first place. The idea is that can find your target from anywhere, not that you’re using it like a metal detector on a beach. As such, once the SDTS is in your possession, this is what you do:
A) Turn it on in a secure location.
B) Discover where your target is.
C) Leave SDTS in the secure location with someone you trust while you go take out the target.
And should your target leave their last known location while you’re on the road, guess what? The person you left the SDTS with can call you up and let you know where they’re going. That’s it. That’s all you have to do.
Dom, Brian, and the government, however, only successfully manage Steps A and B of this plan. They woefully fail on Step C, which is how Deckard Shaw gets his hands on the “too dangerous if it ever falls into the wrong hands” device. Assholes.
5. There are some new faces this time around, presumably to make up for the people we killed off last movie.
Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody is kind of the best. Of course, I’m just a big sucker for Kurt Russell and his over-the-top performances in, well, everything, so that may not exactly be an unbiased opinion, but regardless. He works for me. I’m a little surprised Mr. Nobody didn’t end up screwing over the team and I’m definitely surprised he didn’t end up dying heroically instead, but those aren’t complaints by any means. Now I get to watch him in the sequel! Everybody wins!
(Seriously, as a side note, I can definitely think of Kurt Russell movies that I don’t like, but I can’t offhand think of a performance he’s given that doesn’t work for me. Well. Okay, I don’t really remember 3,000 Miles to the Graceland. My brain has blocked that out, which I thank it for. But I suspect he was not my primary or even my secondary problem with it. Everything else I’m coming up with: this, Sky High, Overboard, Death Proof, Escape From New York, The Hateful Eight, etc. I like him in all the films, even when the films themselves–talking to you, The Hateful Eight–have serious problems.)
I suspect this was obvious, but the second Dom’s team has to go save some faceless hacker with a traditionally-male-but-still-slightly-feminine-sounding name and the team automatically assumes it’s a dude, I was like, nah, it’s totes a lady hacker. This is the first thing I’v seen Nathalie Emmanuel in outside of Game of Thrones (and one solitary episode of Misfits), and I like her quite a bit. She’s fun, and she has the proper reaction to someone driving her off a cliff; also, her hair is fucking fantastic. Happy to see she’s going to be in the sequel as well.
6. A small list of things that are not surprises:
6A. Hot girls? Hot girls in bikinis? Hot girls in bikinis shaking their groove thing? If there are ass shots like whoa, it must be a Fast and the Furious movie.
6B. Michelle Rodriguez fights a female MMA fighter, which I guess means I wasn’t the only one who really loved that fight scene between her and Gina Carano last movie. This one is with Rhonda Rhousey, and it’s not quite as successful for me: for one, it’s so obviously shoe-horned into the plot; for another, RR has, like, two lines and doesn’t really manage to sell me on either of them. Still, it’s a pretty enjoyable, hard-hitting fight scene. And hey, they’re in formal wear!
6C. Once again, poor Jordana Brewster is in this movie to sit on the sidelines and do virtually nothing at all except occasionally provide Dom or Brian emotional support and/or emotional turmoil. The best thing I can say about her character is that no one kidnaps her this go around. I actually don’t know if she’s in The Fate of the Furious, but I’m guessing if she is, it’s a cameo at best.
7. Not gonna lie: the send off to Paul Walker was super sweet and totally made me tear up, even though I’ve never particularly been a Paul Walker fan. But the guy was young and his death was really sad, and fuck it, I’m a soft touch. At any rate, I liked how they handled the whole thing. I thought it was classy.
8. I’m happy to report that Previously Terrible Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) was a bit less terrible this movie! I mean, he sits on the sidelines for the majority of the film, supposedly because of injuries and presumably because The Rock was busy filming something else, but he comes back to save the day in a big way, and he doesn’t flat out murder anybody! That’s improvement!
9. Sadly, Dom is the team member this time who really needs to be slapped across the face with a dead, smelly fish.
First, he’s just a bad planner. Like when he and Ramsey are being chased by the bad guys, and he tells Roman to leave, and Roman’s like “what about you” and Dom’s like “don’t worry about me,” and I’m like “okay, but since getting Ramsey to safety is the whole reason we went on this mission in the first place, maybe we should worry about you just a little.” But that’s just typical hero, short-sighted, self-sacrificing martyr shit. I could forgive that.
His later plans, on the other hand, are seriously inexcusably.
Like, look, bringing the bad guys back to LA may be symbolic and all, and it might even give you a small tactical advantage because you guys know the streets really well, but dude. The amount of people you’re recklessly endangering–no, screw that, the amount of people you’re flat out getting killed right now? I’m saying, it’s kind of hard to do that and pretend you’re the good guys. You guys are the superheroes from a DC film right now. NO ONE wants that.
Also, that moment where Dom has the opportunity to shoot Deckard in the head but doesn’t because it’s gonna be a street fight? Nope. It’s not that I don’t get the tables are turned reversal, the symbolic, thematic blah blah whatever. Oh, I get it. But Dom, I bet you all the money in your pocket right now that Han would not have given two shits if you shot the bastard who murdered him instead of trying to beat him to death with your pipe, or whatever. If you had shot him, Han actually would be avenged right now. By the end of this movie, not so much. Also, you would’ve had time to go help your team, you know, those people who you keep insistently reminding everyone are your FAMILY. Yeah, the whole time you’re busy measuring dicks with Jason Statham, your family is frantically dodging death by leaping from car to car and a bunch of other ridiculous shit.
And then, AND THEN, Dom has the audacity to try and take credit for a helicopter destabilizing the whole parking garage with a missile? No. Fuck you, Dom. A foreign terrorist flying around shooting up shit in a helicopter is absolutely not street. Your street pun is BS. You’re just being an asshole right now.
10. Finally, some random notes:
10A. There was a moment near the beginning where I was sure Elena was going to die, like, it had Tragic Surprise Car Bomb Death written all over it, and I was fully prepared to angry tweet, too, because I had praised her survival in the last film. Thankfully, this ended up not being the case. (Of course, this makes sense, as Elena had absolutely nothing to do with Owen Shaw’s comatose state, but seriously, this scene. A lifetime of watching shitty action movies gives you an idea when someone’s about to bite it via car bomb, and this just seemed like That Moment. She even got a letter of recommendation, for Christ’s sake. I mean, why not just announce her retirement or look at a photo of her kids?)
10B. Hey, Tony Jaa is in this! He doesn’t have a particularly big role, but he’s fun to watch. Although. No disrespect intended to the late Paul Walker, but it was really, really hard for me to take the idea that Brian defeats Tony Jaa even remotely seriously.
10C. Djimon Hounsou has the most thankless role in this movie, where he mostly just screams “WHAT?!” at his subordinates a lot. This is disappointing. I’m always happy to see Djimon Hounsou, and am so often bummed by how little movies actually give him to work with.
10D. Holy shit, I almost forgot to mention that hilarious part where Hobbs is in the hospital with his badge and his giant ass GUN just casually resting out in the open beside his Jell-O cup.
Oh my God, I was dying. Like, what? WHAT?
10E. Finally, I don’t know why I haven’t watched these movies as Drinking Game Movies yet, but obviously I need to; I mean, I’m sure everyone else has. There would definitely be sips for use of the word “family,” as well as for moments that should absolutely kill a character. Sips, not shots. I don’t want to die.
I’m trying to think of other good drinking game rules for this movie. You could sip for every time the camera focuses on a skinny girl in skimpy clothing/bathing suit, but that pretty much means that you’ll be straight up chugging whatever you’re drinking for at least one scene per film. Same if you sip for whenever glass breaks: seriously, re-watch that fight scene between Deckard and Hobbs and just feel the impending brutal hangover.
If anyone has any drinking game suggestions, I’d like to hear them. (I’m too lazy to Google right now, and besides, I like hearing what people come up with, anyway.)
Brian: “Thought you could leave without saying goodbye?”
Ramsey (looking at Dom and Letty while describing the role of everyone on the team): “Alpha. Mrs. Alpha.”
Safar: “You drove a car through two buildings.”
Brian: “Actually, I think it was three.”
Letty: “Did you bring the cavalry?”
Hobbs: “Woman, I am the cavalry.”
Dom: “You just let him get away.”
Mr. Nobody: “I think I might have just saved your ass there, Dom.”
Mr. Nobody: “Listen, you think you could let go of my guy there? He’s, uh, he’s beginning to turn a little blue.”
Deckard (watching Dom about to intentionally drive off a cliff): “Interesting.”
Samantha Hobbs: “Dominic Toretto, right? My dad said he kicked your ass once.”
Hobbs: “Young lady, watch your mouth.”
Dom: “Your dad’s on heavy pain meds. I can understand if his history is a little hazy.”
Samantha Hobbs: “I doubt it.”
Mr. Nobody: “Well, well, well. I have to say, you have an interesting interpretation there of low key.”
Successfully more bonkers than the last film.
Hm, difficult. I think I’ll give this one to Statham.
When up against a seemingly unstoppable opponent, go back to your roots. Your roots will save your ass. That, and a timely assist by a dude in a helicopter.