Paul Walker (1973-2013) was the prime reason I went to see “Furious 7”; my only indulgence with the “Furious Franchise; what is it about the death of the young and beautiful that haunts? The “Kennedy’s” father/son; Marilyn Monroe; Princess Diana; saved from the vestiges of age, clipped from the everyday; petrified in time; unrealized potential. Only the living can fill in the blanks, the “might-have-been’s”.
As a neophyte, it did not take more than a few minutes to understand the history of the protagonists, “iconically” stalwart (Paul Walker, Van Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriquez), their saudered brotherhood and feud against the unjust, maniacal antagonist, in this episode “Shaw” (menacing, marvelous Jason Statham). For devotees, the seventh film is a composite of rollicking, boisterous, reckless fun; cars, dumped from bomber planes on to a landscape imbued with Somalian terrorists, who have kidnapped the mastermind behind “God’s Eye”, an infallible computer, capable of sleuthing, tracing anyone from the mighty to the insignificant. The chase scenes, brilliantly coordinated, are the cornerstone of this action-packed derby, rife with hair-raising, improbable escapes; heroes, whose major skill and survivor tool is their genius, adaptability, dexterity behind the wheel.
Director James Wan grasps the idolatry of the automobile aesthete and squeezes for all its worth; even those who do not share their lust, understand the compelling allure of celerity; man’s mastery of the machine. Sadly ironic, Paul Walker’s career was defined by the “car”, as was his untimely, tragic demise. “Furious 7” is a remarkable homage to a man who “did not go gently” but quickly “into that good night.”
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!