Thursday, November 5, 2015

Furious Road

We were in a hurry to watch Furious 7 (2015) so we could listen to the How Did This Get Made podcast, but we were going to watch it as soon as it came out anyway.

This installment opens with Jason Statham talking to his comatose brother in the hospital, vowing vengeance on Torreto and the Fast and Furious gang. Yes, the Transporter is going to be the bad guy. And The Rock is after him, of course, and then KURT RUSSELL shows up as the Agent Coulson guy, and we are so on board. (OK, we were on board starting around Tokyo Drift and never got off.)

It seems Djimon Hounsou has kidnapped the world's greatest hacker and her Eye of God track-anyone McGuffin (so much like the ARGUS in TV's Arrow). If the F&F gang get her back, Kurt Russell promises to let them use it to track down Statham.

Which is pointless, because he is following them around. They don't need to find him, they just need to stand in one place for a minute. Heck, why am I bothering you with plot? They drive a sports car out of one skyscraper and into the next. Then they do it again to the next skyscraper. They run their cars straight into each other head on, or off a cliff and just shake it off. Stunt after stunt, explosions, fights, bigger and better, over two hours of it.

Along with Russell and Statham, they squeeze in Ronda Rousey and Tony Jaa, but only for one fight each. Still, this series is getting to be like The Expendables - let's get as many action stars in as possible. On the other hand, they killed off Han (Sung Kang) and his girl Giselle (Gal Gadot), which is a shame, because they are great.

Of course, Paul Walker died during the filming of this movie. They do a good job covering this up with Shemps and CGI - I don't think I ever noticed it. But there was a lot about him retiring to be a family man, most of it kind of silly ("he misses the bullets" - as long as they miss you, dude).

The other emotional arc is Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who still has amnesia and, you know, likes Dom and all, but doesn't remember being in love with him. This is not handled all that well, in addition to which, she doesn't get much to do. This is the worst waste in the movie.

And it all ends up with Walker and Diesel saying goodbye in a way that made no sense to me - Dom leaves everybody at a beach party, including Letty, and Paul comes after him. Why? Who knows, I guess it seemed iconic. Then there is a farewell to Paul Walker song that didn't really do much for me and roll the credits.

I guess they'll do the next one without Walker - at least I hope they don't scrape up any old footage to recycle. He will be missed and it won't be the same. But with enough explosions, I will barely notice.


mr. schprock said...

I have always found it hard to watch these movies - the damaged but beautiful people who need daddy Vin Diesel to make this group of misfits work. Also, I'm worried that, under the film's influence, I might hurt myself trying some of their stunts in my Honda Odyssey.

Yes, I heard they "Shemped" (good one!) Paul Walker with his brothers and CGI. That might be my only reason to watch it.

Beveridge D. Spenser said...

For the record, "Shemp" is a term used by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, meaning a stand-in for an actor who is incapacitated or, to be blunt, dead. When Shemp dies, the other Stooges had to use a double to finish his movies to fulfill a contract. But I think the most famous Shemp was the Ed Wood's use of his dentist as a double for Bela Lugosi in Plan 9 from Outer Space.