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‘Furious 7’ Finishes Series With a Bang

In 2001, “The Fast and the Furious” franchise was born. Six films later, it seems as though Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) have taken every journey possible together. They’ve fought, raced and traveled the world. Through every movie, the importance of family is emphasized. As Dom states in “Furious 7,” “I don’t have friends, I got family.” As the franchise comes to a close, it never once strayed away from this concept. Dom, Brian, Mia (Jordana Brewster), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) have shared an unbreakable bond both on screen and off. Although “Furious 7” is an exhilarating ride, it shows the love these actors have for each other, and gives a heartfelt farewell to the late Paul Walker.

In the aftermath of “Fast & Furious 6,” Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) is hospitalized, and now his vengeful older brother Deckard (Jason Statham) is targeting the crew. But Deckard made the mistake of killing Han (Sung Kang) in “Fast & Furious 6” and when someone messes with one member of Dom’s family, it means they mess with all of them. As the crew seeks revenge, they encounter some old faces as well as some fresh ones. Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) returns from “Fast Five” and “Fast & Furious 6.” Both Sean (Lucas Black) and Twinkie (Bow Wow) from “Tokyo Drift” also make appearances. New to the table are (Jakande (Djimon Hounsou), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell). Mr. Nobody, a government agent, offers the crew a deal: if they retrieve “God’s Eye,” a device that can infiltrate any form of technology to track an individual, then they can use it to track down Deckard Shaw. The concept is a bit flawed, considering Deckard Shaw follows the crew and attempts to kill them wherever they go, but in the grand scheme of things they need it to be one step ahead of him. Also, plot mistakes are never really scrutinized in these films. A car just smashing through three buildings in midair is enough to distract anyone from being overly critical. “Cars don’t fly,” Paul Walker repeatedly reminds those around him. Apparently, they do.

Each of these films beat out their predecessors in the stunt department and “Furious 7” definitely sticks to that pattern. Cars parachute from the sky, an ambulance collides with a drone, and Brian runs up a bus as it falls from a cliff and grasps to Letty’s spoiler for dear life. This doesn’t even scratch the surface, considering the countless explosions. It’s like Deckard is Oprah with his grenades. “You get a grenade! And you get a grenade! And you, there, you get a grenade!” Auto-admirers are going to despise how many exceptional cars get smashed, scratched, and crushed. The choreography for the fight scenes along with the quick edits and sound effects make for spectacular battles. Letty’s tough demeanor gives her quite the say in the franchise. At this point, Letty’s fight scenes overpower brawny bald men punching each other. Just like in “Fast & Furious 6,” Letty is up against yet another MMA women’s fighter, this time instead of Gina Carano, she is in the ring with Ronda Rousey. It’s a spectacular matchup.

“Furious 7” travels around the world in 137 minutes. Throughout the film, the locations include England, UAE, Dominican Republic, Japan, and California. Each one is shown with an establishing wide shot, portraying the picturesque portions of the countries as the city location is written on the bottom of the screen. Needless to say, each site has beautiful women and fast cars.

In 2001, Brian O’Conner chose family over the force. Because of that decision, Dom and Brian’s bond has been portrayed over the span of 14 years. Through thick and thin, the two were inseparable, and even when they fought, they always came home. Paul Walker had filmed the majority of his scenes for “Furious 7” before his death in November of 2013. His brothers, Caleb and Cody Walker, filled in for the rest. Paul’s face was CGIed onto theirs. In the film, however, it is impossible to tell. The ending scene is a loving tribute to Paul. He lives on through the impact he has made on others. Gone, but never forgotten.

4/5 stars

Sammi Brennan can be reached at

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