WHAT’S IT ABOUT: The series’ crew of street racers, thieves, and hackers defend themselves from the relentless attacks of Deckard Shaw, the brother of the last film’s villain.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: B+). Furious 7 is too much movie, and I mean that as a compliment. The plot is beyond convoluted, with enormous gaps in logic and so many characters that many are relegated to only a few (memorable) minutes of screen time. Male and female bodies are shamelessly objectified (but not as much as the cars). There’s overripe melodrama galore that’s sure to elicit unintentional laughter. The action continues to defy physics and human survivability. Yet it’s so unabashedly fun, the cast affection so undeniably contagious, and the desire to entertain so transparently sincere, that one can’t help but have an enormously good time.
The fight scenes and car stunts are genuinely impressive (though please Hollywood, let’s have no more hand-held camerawork during fights) and the jokes mostly hit their marks. The cast is larger-than-life. The biggest and best surprise of the film, however, is its beating heart. After Paul Walker’s tragic death midway through shooting, many asked if they could go on without him while honoring his memory. They have, marvelously. He shot a lot of good stuff before his passing, and the technique of grafting his face onto his brothers’ bodies via CGI is (mostly) seamless. The ending is a perfect grace-note, sure to elicit tears in a way that feels sincere, not manipulative. The filmmakers and cast, who clearly loved the man, send him off with love and class. Bravo.
CONTENT OVERVIEW: Furious 7 is rated PG-13. If you’ve seen any other film in this franchise, you know what to expect. Vehicular mayhem, punishing hand-to-hand fistfights, and gunplay come with the territory, as does some moderate profanity and lingering camera shots on scantily-clad bodies (mostly female).
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: While thrill-seeking can be exciting, and work can be gratifying, never lose sight of this truth: the most important things in life are love, loyalty, and family.
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