Director: James Wan
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jason Statham, Djimon Hounson, Kurt Russell
Rated: PG-13 (prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language)
Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for his comatose brother.
By Cole Schneider
I’m all for suspension of disbelief when I walk into a theater. I love the idea of sitting with a bag of popcorn and watching crazy stuff happen on a big screen, but maybe “Furious 7” was just too much for me.
Perhaps it’s that the movie is determined to write the worst dialogue imaginable. Perhaps it’s the extreme willingness to forsake real emotion for overwrought, platitudinous sentimentalism. Perhaps it’s the nauseating formula of girls, guns, and product placement in which the movie hangs all its charm. Perhaps it’s the complete lack of plot feasibility–“The Expendables” seems not only plausible now, but no doubt based on a true story.
All of this contributes to the utter failure that “7” embodies, but ultimately the deterioration is a lack of humanity. For all its pithy talk of family and love, every character in “7” is inhuman. Many superheroes are normal guys in a suit, while these are real, invincible superheroes without tights. They don’t have the Avengers dialogue. Neither do they have Bruce Wayne’s longing. Nor do any possess Tony Stark’s charisma. These Supermen and Wonderwomen don’t have any Kryptonite whatsoever. There are quite literally no stakes.
“Kingsman” (still in theaters) showed us that a film can be both smart and fun. The posturing, less-than-ambitious “7” aims for dumb and fun and somehow falls below the bar of the former, never allowing us to approach the latter. To call it style over substance is a ridiculous underestimation. A bunch of bikinis at 180 mph hardly make a good movie and just because a movie is aware of its stupidity doesn’t change its fundamentally stupid state of being.
Rating: .5 out of 5 stars
By Matt Greene
The 6-film “Fast & Furious” series began 14 years ago, and I’ve somehow managed to never see a single one. For some, this could disqualify my opinion of Furious 7, the latest in the most unlikely of gigantic franchises. While it’s clearly not devoid of entertainment value, especially in the action and the outright silliness, it is devoid of one important thing: a brain. Mocking laughter was often as prevalent as the edge-of-your-seat thrills in what should be titled Furious 7: Cliché City.
Not that it isn’t oddly refreshing to see a movie that’s so unashamedly dumb. The formulaic setup provides some space for sound design and action set-pieces that are engaging and good-looking. However, the script is terrible, and the actors are hit-and-miss at best. Imagine the cast of The Expendables circa 2035 being threatened by a charisma-less Statham villain, and you’ve got the gist. Rodriguez is annoying and Diesel is nothing more than a walking/talking piece of beef whose incessant mumbling is beyond tedious. On the other hand, Gibson and Johnson have some fun moments, and Walker’s lack of acting range is bolstered by some general likability and a tasteful handling of his death.
Director Wan does have a nice touch, specifically handling Walker’s passing and in managing the giant scope of the appropriately ridiculous combat scenes. But you know everything you hate about living in Panama City during spring break? It’s all glorified here. Like an SNL sketch about American-action-movie excess, Furious 7 spends as much time un-ironically worshipping guns, fast cars, UFC stars, bad dialogue and objectified women as it does being simple dumb fun.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars