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Movie Night – “Furious 7' best of franchise (April 15, 2015 issue)

“Furious 7” is loud, over-the-top, explosive, insane, outrageous, and unbelievable. It’s also one heck of a good time at the movies. Most of the “Fast and Furious” gang return for what is surely the final installment in the series after the death of star Paul Walker.
At the conclusion of “Fast and Furious” Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and their team defeated international criminal Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). After the arrest of Owen Shaw the crew had been granted amnesty for any crimes they had committed in the past and they had mostly gone their separate ways.
Brian is trying to acclimate himself to the life of a family man with his wife, Mia (Jordana Brewster), and their son. But Brian is restless, he misses the bullets from his days as an undercover cop and part of Dom’s crew. Meanwhile, Dom is busy helping Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) recover her memories and recall the love she and Dom shared.
Their simple life is blow to pieces by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Deckard is the older brother of Owen Shaw and is out for revenge. Deckard wants Dom’s entire crew dead and as a former British Special Forces soldier he has the skills to take them down. Deckard kills a member of Dom’s team in Tokyo and seriously injures Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) at the Diplomatic Security Service while stealing the names and locations of the rest of Dom’s team.
As Dom is hunting Deckard Shaw Frank Petty (Kurt Russell) enters the story. Petty is the leader of a covert strike force who asks Dom to help him free a computer hacker being held hostage by a band of mercenaries. The hacker has a program called God’s Eye that allows you to locate any person on the planet at any time. Petty tells Dom that if he and his team can rescue the hacker then he will not only let Dom use God’s Eye to track Deckard Shaw, but that Dom will have the full use of Petty’s covert strike force to finish the job. Dom can’t help but wonder if Petty can be trusted? On the other hand, what other option does Dom have?
If you like the other “Fast and Furious” movies you will love “Furious 7.” The movie is essentially one elaborate action scene after another. Each movie in the franchise has attempted to outdo the previous movie with increasingly outrageous action scenes and stunts that aren’t possible in the real world, and “Furious 7” is no different. But, if you head into the theater armed with the knowledge that the stunts in the movie are impossible, you can sit back and enjoy the movie for what it is, a rip-roaring good time.
Most of the cast returned for the final installment, providing some much-needed continuity between the films. Jason Statham is the new antagonist and he is good at being bad. Tyrese Gibson provides the humor as Roman, the most reluctant member of Dom’s crew. While Paul Walker died in an automobile accident during the filming of the movie and his two brothers helped film the rest of the movie after the script was re-written, it’s difficult to tell which scenes involve Paul and which scenes are his brothers.
The final battle takes place on three or four fronts all occurring simultaneously and it’s one of the best scenes of the franchise. In fact, all of the action scenes in the movie are so well done that most of them would be considered better than any scenes in the other “Fast and Furious” movies. It’s not big on drama or dialogue or suspense. Instead, “Furious 7” is a movie that should be seen for the races, chases, fights, and explosions, because these scenes are fantastic. A tribute at the end of the movie to Paul Walker, their fallen brother, is executed to perfection.
While my wife didn’t like the movie as much as I did (it really is a guy movie), “Furious 7” is easily the best of the franchise and one of the best action films in many years. The final “Fast and Furious” movie is a fitting tribute to Paul Walker and is not to be missed by fans of the franchise or action movie fans in general.
Grade: A
Rated PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content, and brief strong language.