“Furious 7” has great action, little intelligence

New movie brings unexpected heart in regards to fallen star

Jillian Leiby, JagWire opinions editor

Viewers don’t usually watch a Fast and Furious franchise movie and expect much other than fantastic action. That’s not meaning to demean the franchise and its incredible improvement over the last 10 years, but the movies are not known for their wisdom or conceivable plotlines.

And “Furious 7” is not that different. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) still gives the same stony performance and Michelle Rodriguez still looks super angry all the time. The dialogue between the characters is still subpar. Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris still offer the same tired comedic relief that has become a staple for the series.

The story is basically an overblown revenge plot. Action star Jason Statham joins the cast as the new villain, with his own thin backstory and motive, who is basically an uninvited guest in every scene he enters. Veteran actor Kurt Russell fares slightly better, playing a possible (and valuable) ally to Dom and his team. “Furious 7,” instead of building a movie around a screenplay, builds it around car chases and fights.

That still does not make it a bad movie. Going in with the intentions stated above, “Furious 7” completely comes through in the action scenes. The car chases are fun and wild, usually ending in a crash that people miraculously seem to recover from. The fights are fast and abundant, managing to give almost every character some action.

I was apprehensive to watch the movie, actually. When star Paul Walker died in a car crash in the middle of shooting, I was thinking the car rides would be too fresh to actually enjoy. I was wrong. The movie deals with Walker’s death in a surprisingly poignant way, especially for a movie series surrounded around car chases.

In the end, “Furious 7” creates a movie that both commemorates Walker’s death and also makes something that he would be proud of. When Dom utters one of his last lines, “You’ll always be with me,” the audience truly feels that Walker will be forever immortalized thanks to these crazy, fun movies.

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