Jan 24, 2020
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Brian (Paul Walker) makes his move in "Furious 7." Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures/TNS

‘Furious 7’ is a great ride – just tune out the dialogue

Before you enter a showing of “Furious 7,” do yourself a favor and bring a large glass bowl along. As the music and engine noises signal the opening credits, carefully remove your brain and place it in the bowl. You won’t be needing it; your senses and heart will take it from here.

Now that you’ve ridden yourself of the higher intelligence that made humans the dominant species on Earth, you can properly enjoy a terrific action film.

“Furious 7” brings the mindless action genre to a new level. It ratchets up the special effects to a level even more unbelievable than in the previous “Fast and Furious” installment, that its cast of muscle heads furiously struggles to keep up.

However, director James Wan’s fantastic high-speed camera work and his choice to shatter the fourth wall for a heartfelt, genuine tribute to star Paul Walker, who ironically died in a car crash in 2013, gives the film the substance necessary to compensate for some truly horrific dialogue.

And make no mistake: “Furious 7” is peppered with truly horrific dialogue.

I cringed at the barrage of one-liners lobbed at the audience, such as “someone just double-tapped our drone!” and “the thing about a street fight is that the street always wins.” And everything Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who plays the tank-like federal agent Luke Hobbs, is just – awful.

But this is par for the course. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Walker) and company have been racing around spewing cheese for 14 years.

The formula of cars, heavy punches and scantily clad women hasn’t always delivered a quality movie throughout the franchise’s past, but it works in “Furious 7.”

Wan, a newcomer to the series known for horror films like “The Conjuring,” brings a lightning fast camera style that suits the script and cast perfectly.

The dozens of fistfights, car chases and shootouts in “Furious 7” requires lightning fast takes, and Wan keeps the audience in the best position possible to catch every ounce of the blistering action. This lesson from the Michael Bay school of filmmaking allows the viewers’ rapidly beating hearts to drown out that pesky brain, which will want to count how many times the laws of physics are ignored (Hint: It’s in the triple digits).

Not to mention the fact that the last 20 minutes was filmed using CGI and stand-ins for Walker, who passed away before finishing the film. The scenes stand up remarkably to intense scrutiny, and the only true emotional moment in “Furious 7” survived a real-life tragedy thanks to Wan.

Jason Statham (“The Transporter”) also adds something missing in the previous “Fast and Furious” films: A believable, despicable bad guy. American audiences love to root against brooding British villains who cheat to get ahead, and Statham’s lone wolf character Deckard Shaw demands our attention – even when pitted against a half-dozen Fast and Furious mainstays.

Overall, I enjoyed “Furious 7.” The action movie kick started the tradition of summer blockbusters tuning audiences out from reality for a few hours, and I got exactly that.

Viewers’ experiences will depend on what they take with them into the theater. Do yourself a favor: Leave your critical thinking behind and enjoy the ride.

RATING: B

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