Thursday, April 16, 2015

Furious 7 (Part 2 of 2)

  Furious 7 (Part 2 of 2)
I guess the big elephant in the room is the death of Paul Walker. It sort of loomed over the production after his death. There were many questions into how the producers and writers were going to finish the movie. And, it actually delayed the movie for about a year. It was supposed to come out in 2014, but they had to delay it for re-shoots. Given that Walker was a key character in the series, some things had to be reshuffled and re-shot. You can tell too.
Walker clearly had a much bigger part in this movie, but he takes a back seat somewhat in this new version. Vin Diesel takes up most of the missing role that Walker was supposed to play, but Vin is probably the weaker part of this production though. While Walker wasn't a good actor, he was pretty good at the one-liners. With Groot, I mean Vin, they come across pretty lame and blunt. I rolled my eyes every time he said something he thought was clever. Stop, Vin.
Even as you watch the movie, Walker's death does effect the way you view movie. I read how he was a nice guy and pretty much the entire cast loved being around. And, it has always showed on screen. He seemed to really enjoy his time on these movies. So, there is a sense of sadness to all his scenes, knowing he won't be making movies anymore.
Now, the studio actually handled his death really well. Spoiler: They didn't kill him off, which would have been in poor taste. And, they had a way out with the revenge story early on, but they didn't kill him off. They used really good CGI to replace his brothers' faces with Walker's face. And, I believe there was some added VO work there too. Instead, we get a story about Walker willing to retire for his new family instead. This subplot really only comes into play in the final moments of the third act. And, it works brilliantly.
Even I got a little misty-eyed at the final moments and I hate married and family shit in stories, and I really hate when they introduce babies and toddlers to a franchise. However, it works here. It was also a nice visual cue to see Walker drive away in a white car going a different path than Vin's car. Nice one, people.
So, where does this leave the FF franchise? Well, the movie does wrap up things pretty well. But, there are two things left open for another sequel if they want to go forward. One of open threads is pretty big.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie for being a silly action/spy/heist movie. Throw in a bunch of hot women with close up shots of their lower bits, you got the dude/bro crowd. The movie isn't as entertaining as the last two movies, but I'm sure we would have gotten a better movie if certain things didn't happen. Walker's death was unfortunate and they did the best they could with a fitting tribute. Dwayne Johnson was underused. All his scenes were freaking great and shows he is a better actor than Vin could ever be. I wish we would have seen more him. You'll like the movie for its over the top stunts and the nice tribute to one of their fallen actors. This is one of those rare occasions where the series has gotten better over time than the first few movies.
Grade: B

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