Furious 7 has been one of the most anticipated films of 2015. With the Fast & Furious franchise earning over $2.3 billion worldwide at the box office since the original film was released in 2001, the franchise has proven to grow even stronger and gain even more fans in these last few years.
When Paul Walker tragically died in a car crash on November 30, 2013, in Valencia, CA, James Wan (2013’s The Conjuring) was about halfway through production of Furious 7. Production was halted for a few months while the cast and crew mourned the death of their friend, but then Universal Pictures and Wan had to figure out how to finish the film, if they were even going to finish it.
Walker had filmed about 80 percent of his scenes, and his two brothers Cody and Caleb Walker stepped in to help finish filming. Wan used footage of Walker from past Fast & Furious films and CGI to complete his role in the film after his death. The results are nothing less than extraordinary. It’s barely noticeable during the scenes when his brothers stepped in, and Wan was able to finish the film and make it sentimental to fans and the cast with a beautiful and subtle tribute to the late Paul Walker.
Furious 7 picks up a year or so after Fast & Furious 6, where Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), his best friend and ex-cop Brian (Paul Walker), along with the help of special agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), have just taken down mercenary Shaw (Luke Evans) and his team. Dom was recently reunited with girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who was presumed dead years ago, while Brian is settling into family life with his wife Mia (Jordana Brewster) and their young son Jack.
As the two attempt to get back into a “normal life,” Shaw’s older brother Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is out for blood, looking for Dom and the rest of his family who put his younger brother in a coma. Shaw has already killed Han (Sung Kang) in Tokyo, sending a message to Dom, Brian, and friends Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson). Coming together for what they hope will be the final time, our favorite group of car enthusiasts will work together in order to take down Shaw and protect their family.
It’s a bittersweet feeling to see Paul Walker on the big screen for the final time. The Fast & Furious franchise has been such a massive part of his career, and it’s clear when he is on screen that he enjoyed making these films. Walker has always been the heart of these films for me, and he has always been such a joy to watch on screen; he will certainly be missed in the sequels to come in this franchise.
The rest of the cast reprise their roles well: we have Dwayne Johnson rocking it as our badass special agent, Tyrese Gibson is funny as the silly and goofy Roman, while Michelle Rodriguez dives back into her character fully and gets more screen time than she did in the last film.
The cars are insanely cool, the action sequences defy gravity in the best way possible, and the fight scenes are choreographed to perfection. This is exactly what we want out of a Fast & Furious movie, and screenwriter Chris Morgan gives the fans what they want with these daring car chases and wickedly entertaining stunts.
Though the film was not shot using IMAX cameras, I am still recommending seeing it in IMAX. The visuals are incredible and the sound mixing alone is worth seeing this film on the biggest screen you can find.
Director James Wan was able to do a marvelous thing here in the wake of a horrific tragedy. He was still able to complete a film when one of its stars unexpectedly died midway through production and turn it into one of the most memorable films in the Fast & Furious franchise that features a touching tribute to Paul Walker.