HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Furious 7
HTS Overall Score:90
Who would have thunk that the little street racing movie “The Fast & The Furious” would have spawned 6 sequels, 4 of which after the series was presumed dead, and raked in several BILLION dollars’ worth of revenue for Universal? After Tokyo drift the series was spinning its wheels with no gas in the tank after getting rid of all the stars that made the first one fun in the first place. Years later “Fast & Furious” was born with a reuniting of 95% of the original cast. Sparking a resurgence in popularity the powers that be retooled the series from a bunch of street racers, to adding in heists and military combat to make the franchise into legendary heroes capable of leaping tall building in a single bound (if within a car that is). “Furious 7” amps up the odds and the ludicrous stunts to unheard of heights and while it isn’t the greatest of the new retooled films, it most certainly is a lot of fun to watch.
Last time we left Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker), they had moved back into their Los Angeles home from the first films and Brian was getting used to being retired with kids. Unfortunately, their actions in the last film taking down Owen Shaw had some unforeseen consequences. His big bad brother, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is NOT happy that his little brother has basically been crippled by the team. The film opens with Deckard sitting over his brother’s hospital bed, vowing to destroy those responsible. As the camera opens up we see Shaw walking out of a LITERALLY demolished military hospital, with a body count that would rival most military excursions (this scene right here sets the ludicrous level of the film right off the bat). Almost taking out Brian, Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Dom, Shaw attracts the attention of the now sleeping beasts. After Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is injured in the assault, the group teams up with CIA spook “Mr. Nobody”, played deliciously by Kurt Russell, to try and take out big bad Deckard Shaw.
Things are never as easy as just tracking somebody down the old fashioned way and shooting it out. Shaw is a veritable black ops ghost, impossible to find, even by the U.S. government. Well, not IMPOSSIBLE. It seems that a rogue hacker has created a coding algorithm much like “the machine” in “Person of Interest”, capable of hacking every networked device on the planet and auto tracking down a target in hours. The only problem with this is that this hacker, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) is in the custody of rogue mercenary agents who are in transit with her in an effort to gain the technology for themselves. That means Dom, Brian and the rest of the crew have to break Ramsey out, get ahold of the tech from her (which is another job in and of itself), then use it to track down Shaw, KILL Shaw and then get out. When you have a 2 hour and 20 minute film, you’re pretty much assured that none of this is going to be easy, and it most certainly isn’t. the nitrous infused team has to take out a military transport, invade an Oil Billionaire’s private estate, track down Shaw, and then of course have to deal with a city wide car chase where Hobbs uses an ambulance to take down a drone (you read that right), Ramsey has to play a game of hot potato with moving cars, AND hack the mercs who have her program, all while Dom and Shaw duck it out with 20 lb wrenches on top of a parking garage.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=53417[/img]Each one of the “Fast & The Furious” movies have had something that makes you roll your eyes and chuckle within them. Each one has also gotten progressively MORE of those moments as the series evolves. “Fast 5” had the famous heist scene with a giant thousand odd pound safe being drug through the city. “Fast & Furious 6” had the 30+ mile runway scene, and a dozen other crazy stunts, but “Furious 7” pretty much confirms that the main characters are superheroes by amping up the ludicrous to level 11. It’s like they said “let’s take ALL the crazy, over the top stuff that we can think of, and make the entire movie those moments”. We open the film with Deckard Shaw taking out an entire group of military personnel guarding a hospital, while demolishing the entire interior, then we have Shaw and Dom playing a game of chicken where they run noses first into each other with their vehicles and just dust themselves off from the crash (of course with no air bags either). Fast forwards a few minutes later and they’re parachuting out of a carrier plane IN THEIR CARS onto a highway to rescue Ramsey. Not only do these cars have the best suspension systems in the world, but they are made bulletproof enough to withstand multiple turret mounted 50 caliber guns with armor piercing rounds (while the enemy vehicles get shredded by them). By the way, this is less than halfway through the film. The second half has them jumping between 30 story buildings with a super powered sports car, the Rock taking out a military drone with an ambulance, a grenade toss scene that rivals “The Transporter 2” when Statham strips the bomb off the under carriage of his car, and a fight scene where Dom takes a 20 lb car wrench to the JAW and just shakes it off (I almost fell out of my seat laughing at that one). At this point we can only assume that Dom, Brian, Letty and the rest are all going to be in “the Avengers” movies at some point, because face it, you HAVE to be super powered to do the stuff they pulled in there! Had their cars turned into transformers and Deckard Shaw started shooting laser beams out of his eyes, I would have been "yeah, I can totally see that in context of the story".
These over the top moments are what make it the worst of the new “Fast & Furious” films, as I felt it got so over the top as to be rather face palm worthy. That’s not to say that I didn’t have a blast with the series, but that it was a bit TOO MUCH at times. There’s always some sort of unrealistic situation in these films, but it was if they took all of those moments and cut out everything else and left in the craziness.
The characters are pretty much the same as we’ve known for several films. Roman (Tyrese Gibson) is still the joker, Tej (Ludacris) is the smooth talking genius, Letty is Michelle Rodriguez doing her hot tough girl act and Brian and Dom as the same brothers in arms as ever. It’s interesting to look back over the films and see the actor’s as they age. I just rewatched the first movie a little while ago and I was floored at how young they all looked. I know people age, but it’s amazing to watch them age and fill out over the series. Jordana Brewster is lovely as ever (although she looks like she’s undergone some plastic surgery) and it was heart wrenching to see Paul Walker in his final film. Since they had to use CGI over his brother’s face to fill in a few scenes that weren’t done before his untimely death, those moments only served as a reminder to me that Paul was taken before his prime. Speaking of witch, through all the jokes and craziness of the film, that part that stood out the most was the last 5 minutes of the movie. From all accounts, Paul was more than an actor buddy to the rest of the crew. They had made anywhere from 5 or more movies together and supposedly were as close as the characters in the film (just without the real life bullets). The sendoff scene with Paul on the beach and Vin Diesel narrating was less a goodbye to Brian O’Conner, and more of a personal sendoff to Paul Walker himself. The emotion that ran through Vin’s voice during that scene was heart breaking and probably the most real part of the movie. So many people worried that with “Furious 7” coming out so soon after his death that Universal was just capitalizing on that sadness to promote the movie. Thankfully it was handled very tastefully, and allowed the cast to give him a memorial on screen, one that will be seen by many more people than just the words the cast themselves spoke over Paul at his own funeral.
Rated PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=53425[/img]“Furious 7” comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p 2.40:1 AVC encode that is nothing short of flawless. Shot digitally, it almost looks filmic, without any of that glossy sheen and flatness that is associate with digital film making. Blacks are DEEEEP and inky, with incredible depth and flawless shadow detail. Colors look fairly natural for the most part, but there is a distinct teal and yellow shift that is indicative of modern tastes in film design. The detail levels are through the roof, with long shots and close ups being incredibly precise and razor sharp at every turn. The sheen of the black beauty and the individual nicks and dings on vehicles during the bus “breakout” sequence will have your jaws on the floor and every line on the actor’s faces are just simply…perfect. Ironically that means you can see the flaws in the digital bits where Paul Walker’s face had to be CGI’d over the top of his brother acting as a standin for those moments that had to be filmed after Walker’s untimely demise. They are INCREDIBLY well done bits of CGI, but once you see those little bits you can start picking them out of the rest of the movie with ease. A+ encode all the way, and one of my favorite demo discs of the year.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=53433[/img]I was only slightly disappointed that “Furious 7” didn’t get an Atmos track for home video, but the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track included here is nothing to sneer at. The “Fast & Furious” movies have always been what I like to call “frenetic” in the audio department, and this installment in the series amps it up to level 11. The movie is basically one big battle from beginning to end, mixing in the roar of engines during the car races and the staccato of bullet fire raining down all around the drivers. Hip Hop music pulses from every crack and fiber of the sound track acting as the pulse of the movie, and raw energy of the entire experience is wonderfully infectious. Surrounds are ALWAYS active with tons of material to keep them busy. Those same bits of gunfire, car engines and explosions make them really work for their supper, creating an immersive and intense 360 degree sound field. LFE is pulsing and powerful, constantly keeping my amp’s lights lit up throughout the film. My ONLY complaint in the whole film is that there should have been a bit MORE punch to the bass. After listening to “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Fast & Furious 6” the LFE just didn’t have the depth or raw intensity that those two entries had. Every throb of the engine has MASSIVE weight to them, but here it just was present. Don’t get me wrong, the LFE is strong and definitely active the entire time, but it felt a tad lighter than I was expecting.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=53441[/img]• Deleted Scenes
• Talking "Fast"
• Back to the Starting Line
• Flying Cars
• Snatch and Grab
• Tower Jumps
• Inside the Fight
• The Cars of "Furious"
• Race Wars
• Music Video
• Making of "Fast & Furious" Supercharged Ride
I’m still amazed at how far the “Fast & Furious” franchise has gone. Back in the early 2000’s with the fizzle that was “2 Fast 2 Furious” and the modestly entertaining hit that was “Tokyo Drift” I honestly expected the trilogy to be all there was. Now, almost 15 years from its inception, “Furious 7” has blasted it’s way to over $1.5 Billion worldwide and hailed as one of the biggest money makers that Universal Studios has ever seen (that is until “Jurassic World” barely slipped on by, beating it in the overall box office). “Furious 7” is just plain insane, with balls to the walls action, guns, knives, cars, and hot women littering every piece of the scenery. It’s gone from criminals vs. cops in race cars, to full on heist and military combat, and the audience seems to be loving every minute of it. The sheer lunacy of this installment kept from enjoying it as much as “Fast 5” and “Fast & Furious 6”, but the series is so infectiously fun that you can’t help but enjoy the ride. Recommended.
Starring: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Ludacris, Michelle Rodriguez
Directed by: James Wan
Written by: Gary Scott Thompson, Chris Morgan
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish, French DTS 5.1
Runtime: 138 minutes / 140 minutes (extended)
Blu-ray Release Date: September 15th 2015
Buy Furious 7 On Blu-ray at Amazon
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