Furious 7

Furious 7:  How a franchise fueled by fast cars, NOS, and biceps created one of the most emotional scenes on film.

I remember watching The Fast and the Furious back in the day and wrote it off as that car flick with one pretty well done action scene and a douche vibe layered on top. This was shit that you watched while wearing your Affliction shirt, drinking Miller, and smacking your girl's ass in front of your friends. It wasn't until three days ago that a decision to watch ALL of the films prior to the seventh had been decided. Delving into one of the worst named series in the history of cinema closely followed by Step It Up and Friday, it turned into a strange journey.

The Fast and the Furious introduced us to Paul Walker, Vin Deisel's biceps, and oh yeah, there were cars in it too. Next was 2 Fast 2 Furious, which had a script so shitty, Vin Deisel walked on it. It did, however, give us Ludacris and Tyrese who manage to make the film fucking hilarious. Tokyo Drift was next, and while on the surface it seemed like a spin-off piece of shit, it managed to be one of the best in the series even with Kid Rock and some horribly dressed Yakuza. The forth addition, Fast and Furious, reunited Paul and Vin with the writers trying to figure out if Paul should be a cop or not and Vin Deisel saying, “Stay out of my way.” a lot. It was around this time I knew I was slowly getting addicted. I wanted to mainline NOS and drive an import really fast. Fast Five turned out to be one of the best of the series and one of the most enjoyable action films made. It was like Ocean's 11 with fast cars and the testosterone hard-ons between the Rock and Diesel bleeding through the screen. Fast and Furious 6 was more of the same having the team square off against their evil twins and the longest runway in film history. Now, Furious 7 is here and with the recent loss of Paul Walker, his inclusion into the film seemed to put people off. After watching it, I can say with a sigh of relief that this should not be the case at all. Furious 7 is pretty good (if over the top) for an action film and a includes a heartfelt farewell to a friend even if that farewell has Tony Jaa kicking you in the face with shit blowing up all around you.

There's never enough chainguns in action films. There should be a petition or something.

Furious 7 continues the story where the sixth film left off after the team defeats Shaw. Replacing the underwhelming Shaw is his relentless brother in the form of Jason Statham who is some sort of super black ops guy. Naturally, he's pissed off that someone would put his brother in a hospital so he takes his revenge by killing the super cool Tokyo Drift veteran Han, putting Hobbs (the Rock) in a hospital, and blowing up the Torettos’s home. This puts Toretto and friends up against the wall since they are being hunted, so they eventually align with the shadowy Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) for a chance at payback. This naturally leads to skydiving with cars, wrecking buildings in Dubai, and turning LA into a violent vehicular playground. This is also the last movie Paul Walker will star in since his death forced production to ask his brothers to step in to fill the gaps. While this may seem off and even tasteless to some, it fit well and they gave Paul a send off that rivals anything done on the screen.

They do keep wrecking the best car in the movie. Not enough Honda Civics get wrecked.

On a strictly standalone level, Furious 7 is in a purely stupid movie territory. Cars falling from C-130's, hot chicks in bikinis in the Middle East, and people surviving a punch from the Rock all fall into the realm of redonkulous. This is not the same for the series as a whole. In each movie, there's always a reference to an event from a past movie or a commitment to the characters that is expanded on with each movie. Take Michelle Rodriguez's character for example. She dies, but then not really, then has amnesia, then remembers it all in the span of three movies. Instead of throwing it out with some ten-second nonsensical explanation to try to get the audience to move on, they commit to it and make it a core plot point. References to past films keep building on top of each other whether you agree with them or not. They even refused to dismiss what many consider the worst of the series and incorporated its events as absolute fact. The entire crew to include the actors, writers, and producers committing to this make the series as a whole stronger and almost fan service for followers of the franchise.

Seven step program for ridonkulous. Paul Walker gets a classy send off that rivals dramas.

The central theme they keep hammering in to your head is that these guys are family. These actors are not the greatest in the world, but I say this with good intentions. When these guys are on the screen, you can easily tell they are having a great time and are giving you a window into their actual friendships. Their commitment to the story, no matter how nonsensical and retarded it becomes, and their character's history throughout is nothing short of commendable. With the death of Paul Walker, their friend, they let you a little more into their world. You feel as if Toretto’s line in the first film was right. While this film has a ton of over the top action and likeable characters, it’s really all about family. Look, on the surface, this film is just a stupid action film, but at it's heart, it was really just a bunch of friends making films they had a blast doing. When I go out, I can only hope that I will have friends like these to send me off as well as the family in this film does for their friend.