'Furious 7' is not a great movie, but it delivers what it promises
Furious 7 is a slick film in appearance, yet it doesn't have a brain in its head. It has some great chase scenes, and includes intricate and well built special effects, but that isn't enough to raise this movie above its perceived notions of being more of the same from the Fast and Furious franchise.
Built around macho silliness
What ultimately lets Furious 7 down is its lack of focus and heavy reliance on those nerve jangling moments of excitement. It's direction from James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious) is smooth and more than competent. Although he comes from a horror background, action films require the same sort of approach. Wan is a wise head and boasts a surety of understanding the intricacies required for such finely edited sequences that intend to leave audiences gasping, shocked or uncomfortable. But, its more than basic storyline is what makes Furious 7 a fairly subdued seventh movie. Being so far into the franchise, by now it should've developed into something a little worth our while. Rather, it has remained nothing more than a series of movies built around macho silliness that puts acting, dialogue, and formal storytelling in the backseat.
Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew thought they left the criminal mercenary life behind. They defeated an international terrorist named Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and went their separate ways. But now, Shaw's brother, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), is out killing the crew one by one for revenge. Worse, a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde (Djimon Hounsou), and a shady government official called Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) are both competing to steal a computer terrorism program called God's Eye, that can turn any technological device into a weapon. Torretto must reconvene with his team to stop Shaw and retrieve the God's Eye program while caught in a power struggle between terrorist and the United States government.
As this movie develops, you can't help but feel the slickness of its car chases, and general high spots have a Michael Bay "feel" to them. Within the film world Bay has the reputation of being a hack but he deserves credit for his ability to make such polished action scenes. He is one of the best for constructing them, but they're let down by his inability to tell a cohesive story that doesn't play out like an over thought television commercial jammed with product placement.
Suffers from CHAOTIC cinema
Whilst watching Furious 7, I couldn't help but feel Bay’s spirit emanate from it. This isn't Bay’s fault, far from it. His ability to create great action is replicated in a lot of modern action films. Furious 7 has most certainly drawn from his process, which is compiled from lots of frenzied camera coverage which is then spliced together in the cutting room from a ton of footage. It's a process called “Chaos Cinema” first coined by Matthias Stork. He believes classic cinematic notions of spatial lucidity and escalating momentum have been replaced by frantic editing and unruly camera movements. Furious 7 certainly suffers from chaotic cinema. Sound and imagery at times seems only somewhat related to the plot events being portrayed onscreen. Although plenty of impressive moments of action exist in Furious 7, they fall short in building a close relationship between the visuals, which can be blurry or imprecise, and the sound, which tends to be detailed and very exact.
Furious 7 is not a great movie, but it delivers what it promises. It knows what a chase scene is supposed to be about, and then more. Its dialogue and overall story premise is wacky, wild and overblown. But, are those elements why we watch Fast and Furious movies? Of course it's not. We watch these movies because they're thrill rides crammed with adrenaline fuelled action sequences that get the pulse racing. So, on that basis, Furious 7 works.