Sunday, April 12, 2015

9 Honest Questions I Have About FURIOUS 7

I do not own the above image.  Copyright Universal Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

What is the purpose of Djimon Hounsou?
            Hounsou, a two-time Academy Award winning actor who would act circles around the rest of the cast combined, plays Mose Jakande. He has no backstory.  He exists for the sole purpose of chasing the God’s Eye.  Mose supposedly teams up with Statham’s Deckard Shaw but only once are they possibly in the same room together.  Hounsou’s role is a thankless task that involves making faces & screaming commands at his nameless minions.  During the final action sequence, he’s in the passenger seat of a helicopter blown up by a backpack full of hand grenades.
Is there a term for a character who does nothing but chase the MacGuffin?  The FitzMacGuffin?  The Egg McMuffin?  The character-in-need-of-a-serious-rewrite?  What a waste of acting talent.

What is the purpose of Jason Statham?
            Statham plays Deckard Shaw, brother of FAST 6 villain Owen Shaw, looking to avenge his brother’s serious injuries.  He begins the movie by simultaneously killing Han & blowing up Dom’s house.  Shaw spends the rest of the movie chasing or trapping Dom & “family”.  There are moments where I was sure there were two flash drives with the God’s Eye technology and Shaw has one of them.  He’s everywhere.
            During the final action sequence, Statham gets into a much anticipated mano-a-mano with Diesel.  Unfortunately, they have to split time with the helicopter trying to kill the hacker & Dom’s crew and whatever the f*ck the body double of Paul Walker was doing.  The third act of FURIOUS 7 is a mess, pure & simple.

Where did Kurt Russell go?
            Seriously!  How am I not hearing anything about this anywhere?  Russell plays “Mr. Nobody”, a government agent hell bent on getting Mose Jakande anyway possible.  He sees Dom & “family” as the perfect opportunity to do so.  “Nobody” supplies the team with the necessary equipment & travel arrangements.  During an attempted warehouse ambush of Shaw, he is wounded by one of Jakande’s minions.  In the car ride back to the airfield home at about the halfway point, “Nobody” asks to be placed on the side of the road so his helicopter can come & take care of him.  Then…
            Nothing.  We don’t see, hear from nor hear about “Nobody” for the rest of the movie.  A pivotal character during the first half of the movie disappears without a trace.  As he was sitting against a guard rail, there was an inkling that maybe he died waiting for the helicopter in the distance.  But with news that Russell may return for the eighth installment in the series, that’s not the case.  So how do you explain “Nobody’s” disappearance?  A terribly written script.

Why was Dwayne Johnson in a hospital bed for most of the movie?
            I said it to myself since he was introduced: The most interesting character in the series is DEA Agent Hobbs, played by Johnson.  If there is anything in this series that has the joy others see in this series, it’s The Rock.  In FIVE, he chases the “family” through Brazil before earning mutual respect.  In SIX, Johnson uses that respect to incentivize the “family” into stopping former British Special Agent Owen Shaw by offering amnesty.  In FURIOUS 7, Johnson gets to fight Statham in his office. 
Exciting right?  Well, I hope you enjoyed it because Hobbs spends the next 90ish minutes in a hospital bed after being blasted out of the building and onto an SUV.  That’s right: the best remaining character in the series is given nothing to do while the increasingly uninteresting “family” gets to have all the “fun”.  Hobbs, whose daughter is visiting him and adds nothing to the movie, eventually has enough of this lying around crap and ends up ending the final battle with a machine gun stolen from a drone (not a typo).  But this one moment does not save the third act nor the movie. 
There is no such thing as too much Dwayne Johnson in this series.  But too little can sink it.  FURIOUS 7 sunk & stunk because of it.

Why was Han buried in LA?
            Just asking.  I found it interesting that the somewhat mysterious figure who was basically blown up in Tokyo was transported to Los Angeles for burial.  Does he have family there?  If not, was it Dom’s doing?  Is Han buried next to Gisele?  Is the funeral used as a shameless transition to a standoff between Dom & Deckard?  Ding ding!  We have a winner!

Why can’t Roman shut up?
            Tyrese’s character is one of the most annoying characters I have ever witnessed on the silver screen.  I understand that there has to be comic relief in these kinds of movies.  But Roman is less Simon Pegg’s Benji Dunn from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and way more Justin Bartha’s Riley Poole in NATIONAL TREASURE where every single word out of his mouth is intended for a laugh but rarely do his words move the plot forward.  And speaking of that one time in the entire series they do…

What was Roman’s original role in the Caucasus Mountains heist?
            So the “family” parachutes out of a cargo plane in Azerbaijan with their cars.  The plan was conceived by Roman to get the “God’s Eye”.  But when it’s Roman’s turn to exit the plane, he doesn’t until Tej remotely deploys Roman’s parachute.  This sequence of events puts Roman behind everyone else, unable to assist in the main plot.  But later, Roman reappears very late in the plan, mostly as a decoy.
            Based upon how the plan played out, I really never saw an opening for Roman’s “expertise”.  Maybe he would have been additional muscle in the bus alongside Brian.  But based upon how difficult it was for Brian to get in the bus, I don’t see how he would have got on.  This just goes to show that Roman, since his first scene in 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, is a useless, brainless, humorless modern black caricature.  And he looks so much worse when compared to Ludacris’ Tej.

What actually happened to Brian O’Connor?
            As we all know, Paul Walker died tragically on Thanksgiving weekend 2013 in a car accident in the middle of filming the movie.  After a lengthy delay, the cast & crew were decided to alter the script but had to get creative to finish the film.  Using Paul’s brothers as body doubles, stock footage & $50 million to the wizards at Weta Digital, the movie was completed as best it could without Walker.  But was Brian’s story actually finished?
            I’d argue no.  On a story level, Brian’s conclusion is open-ended at best, but closer to incomplete, to put it nicely.  So after finishing the final battle & jailing Shaw, we see the entire crew on a beach with Brian & Mia playing with their son.  I completely understand that Walker & Diesel couldn’t have a conversation about leaving the group behind and that the fact that a major subplot of the movie revolves around Brian’s inner-conflict about potentially settling down with Mia.  But the ending does not equal the sum of its parts.  The fact remains: Brian O’Connor is still alive and there is no concrete closure to his story.  Plus, if Brian is still alive, how can the group interact with Mia?  Can Jordana Brewster just be written out through no fault of her own?  As Brad Brevet of Rope of Silicon joked, can Mia’s excuse be that Brian is at the grocery store?

How can I review this movie so seriously?
            I have been asked many times by family, friends & co-workers why I can't have fun watching movies.  The answer is simple: I do, sometimes more than them.
            Their argument is to turn your brain off as you step into the theatre or as the lights go down.  A nice, flawed argument they have there.  With your brain off at the start, how can you decipher how much fun you can have during the movie?  You need to think about IF a movie is worthy enough to turn your brain off.  For instance, in the first PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN movie, Capt. Jack Sparrow is introduced by comically disembarking his boat while it is sinking.  In last year’s GODZILLA, the movie builds the tension (despite the human story’s lack of quality) to the point where when the monsters are brought together, you are free to sit back & enjoy.
            FURIOUS 7, despite being told by review after review that the movie (and series as a whole ) is dumb fun, there is not one moment, not one stunt, not one line of dialogue that flips the brain’s switch to off.  Some would argue that the cars parachuting out of the plane in the Caucasus Mountains as that moment.  I would counter with how that sequence was set up: Roman’s big unfunny mouth.  Needless to say, I wasn’t amused. 
Two decent action scenes, two unsatisfying villains, one underused hero, one baffling mysterious character and one pathetic third act does not a fun movie make.  I guess I just don’t get the series’ popularity and never will.  And I’m perfectly fine with that.



  1. I totally support your views. My brain was so tired in middle of the movie trying to link the characters and deciphering the scenes. It had so many loose ends. All they wanted to do with the film was put in as much action time as they can. Making it tasteless. I enjoyed the previous movies of the franchisee but this one was the worst of the lot. I thought after the movie that this is where they will shutdown the franchisee as it has raked in the moolah even with a terrible movie. But, with date finalizing of 8th one I am wondering what would they do with it? Loose all the money they made with this one? Well, I thought the same after the 4th franchise but then they brought 'The incredible Rock' and a tank then a plane and then a drone. Have to give them a point for that. What's next?

  2. They haven't gone to the moon, yet.