The summer movie season is upon us, so it's time for some summer blockbuster reviews. This marks the third year of this tradition.
I'm a huge Fast and Furious fan. I would hope that if you keep up with any of my comings and goings, you would know that. Especially since I just released a podcast about the series. I was going to wait to share my thoughts until Episode 7 of my podcast was released, but I can't keep them inside. Yesterday, on my Facebook page, I wrote a status predicting that Furious 7 was going to be the best in the series, and unfortunately, I was wrong.
I 100% believe that most of the problems with this movie are attributed to the very sudden and sad death of Paul Walker. The other problems I had with this movie could also be because it has a different director than the past 3 movies. From the beginning, it felt disjointed, choppy, and just messy in general. The movie focuses on so many tiny callbacks, that only an avid fan of the series can pick up on all that's laid out. The beauty of the past couple movies is that you can jump right in without knowing much about the rest of the series and still manage to have fun. If Furious 7 is your first Fast and Furious movie, you're going to be pretty lost.
The trailer laid out so many cool locations and action scenes, which is to be expected after the success of the insanely awesome Fast and Furious 6. The problem with the trailer was that it spoiled most, if not all of the best action scenes and globetrotting of our favorite street racing crew. The movie was laid out like the trailer, cutting to scene after scene in a way that felt like the writers just wanted to justify some creative action scenes. It truly felt like they came up with action scenes and locations first, then wrote the rest of the film around those ideas.
Everything about this movie was unsatisfying. Jason Stathem did not prove to be a great villain, but rather a cartoonish figure that would show up randomly while the gang was on another circular and pointless mission. They didn't even manage to tie up Walker's storyline in a satisfying way. Here's the part I absolutely hated: A huge plot point of the story was driven by a software and hacking. "Hacking" in movies is a recent trend that I hate, because I've never seen a movie pull it off well. The writers ended up even throwing a drone in the movie, which I feel is a cop-out and an extremely tired story element.
Ultimately, Furious 7 was not a great film. As an enormous fan of the series, I am very disappointed that this is the case. I understand that the film was deeply affected by Paul Walker's death, but I feel that the direction was also at fault. Knowing that Fast and Furious 8 is on it's way, I hope that Justin Lin (Fast and Furious, Fast Five, Fast and Furious 6) returns to direct the next one. We've watch the series reinvent itself into something great before, and I trust that it can happen again. That's not to say there's nothing fun about this movie; I thought it was still very fun to watch. I'm sure if you can make it through all of the obscure callbacks, you'll find something in it that you'll like. I greatly enjoyed myself, but it just didn't satisfy me like the past few films.
I am still a fan, and will always be a fan. Ride or Die.