Picoreview: Fast & Furious 7

Picoreview: Fast & Furious 7: broke my heart.

I knew it was going to; the goddamn trailers were making me tear up even as I recognized that they were specifically choreographed to. I had no attachment at all to Paul Walker–I think the only thing I’ve seen him in is the F&F movies–but I was shocked by his death because, well. It was shocking. And so messed up, that he’s best known for these fast car movies and then died in a horrific car wreck. So FF7 was always going to break my heart.

And it did. And I’m…glad. Because it should have, because it broke the hearts of everybody making the film, and there are moments where you can see that. I mean, they’re moments where it’s in character and in-story and everything, but one of the underlying things about this franchise that I’ve always loved is how much *fun* they’re having with it.

But there are times in this movie when you can see they’re not having fun at all. Times when they shouldn’t be because of the story, but it also feels strongly like it’s because their friend is dead and it’s just awful. One of those times is one of the few places where I was certain it was one of Walker’s brothers standing in for him, and it made a mess of the scene. There was also one shot where it felt very obvious that there was CGI involved, but I’ve got to say that for the vast majority of the movie I really had no idea if it was Walker or not, and just accepted that it was. And I’m pretty sensitive to CGI, so they’ve done a good job in a dreadful situation.

Horrible coincidence of Walker’s death aside…it’s actually a pretty damn good movie. Too much frenetic music video camera work, but that’s part of the franchise. Arguably too long, but the easiest section to cut is one I can see why they didn’t want to, for purposes of spin-off movies (I do kind of wish Dwayne Johnson would lose some of his size. He’s starting to look bizarrely pin-headed to me.). But it moved quickly and I was, as usual, hanging on the edge of my seat and gnawing my knuckles over the extreme car scenes, and laughing at some clever moments.

Somewhat ironically, though, given how many characters there are in the franchise, I actively missed the ones who are no longer part of it, particularly Gal Godot as Giselle: this felt more like a boy’s club than the F&F movies usually do to me. And it turns out that Gadot and Sung Kang’s Han prevented too much time being spent on Tyrese Gibson’s Roman, who is beautiful but growing somewhat wearing as a character. OTOH, I kind of felt that Chris “Ludacris” Bridges kind of finally came into his own as Tej in FF7, which made up for some of Roman’s tediousness.

Dear God, if there is anything as sexy on this earth as Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel in formal wear, I don’t know what it is, except Michelle Rodriguez in formal wear slit to the thigh so you can see the hardware she’s packing on her way into an epic fight scene. And that’s another thing I love about this series, is that the ladies kick as much ass as the gents. They also introduced a new character (one I would not be surprised to see again) with whom I was *particularly* happy because it went 100% against stereotype–which is, of course, yet another thing I love about this franchise.

That said…I would like this to be the final film. It probably won’t be, but…I’d like it to be. I don’t mind spin-offs with The Rock (and Elena, please let us have more Elsa Pataky as Elena, and indeed, cameos from the original crew would be fine) but I…I’d like the actual F&F franchise to wrap. They’ve handled an awful change in their ranks as well as they possibly could; so well, in fact, that it *feels* final to me. Even though they left themselves an out it’s just…it’s season 5 Buffy or Supernatural. This is where the story ends, even if they don’t stop with it for a long time.

In the unlikely event you haven’t seen it already, you don’t need to stay through the final credits unless you’re like me and need the extra five minutes in the dark theatre to recover from the ugly sobbing. Five minutes wasn’t enough, in fact; I still looked a mess when I left.

I very much want to re-watch the whole series in chronological order now (as opposed to order of release), and then go see FF7 again.