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April 3rd, 2015

Movie Review - Furious 7

Furious 7



Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson, Lucas Black, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Tony Jaa, Elsa Pataky, Eden Estrella, and more.


Directed by: James Wan Written by: Chris Morgan Based on Characters Created by: Gary Scott Thompson Cinematography by: Marc Spicer and Stephen F. Windon Music by: Brian Tyler


Premise: The older brother of a defeated foe has decided to wreck vengeance on Dom's team. Hobbs sends Mr. Nobody to help them out, since their new enemy, Deckard Shaw, is a trained assassin and covert ops specialist. Bur help comes at a price - the group needs to rescue a missing programer for them. If they do, Mr. Nobody has permission to let the team use a highly classified program to track Shaw down as well as give support. Only problem is, Shaw doesn't seem to want to wait that long to play with them. (Rated PG-13)


Review:


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: The main members of the well known cast are back. Though Paul Walker passed before the film was finished, the filmmakers were able to used past footage and members of his family to fill in the gaps. Paul will definitely be missed, but for anyone not knowing of his passing, they won't realize anything is amiss in the film. So kudos to the actors for smoothing out any holes and doing some one sided conversations to cover for their lost comrade. Family is what the Fast and Furious crew have always been about.


Watching Statham go toe to toe with Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson will make many hearts (those with and without testosterone) flutter. Talk about looks that can kill and snappy comebacks. Nice work guys!


Not to worry, the girls don't allow themselves to be left behind, with some great work coming from Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, and newcomer, Nathalie Emmanuel.


Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody was great! Kept you just a little insecure on whether or not he might be up to something. He made his own pile of comments and jabs. It was great to see him back on the big screen!


2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: There were lots of awesome special effects, outstanding stunts, explosions, and car daring do! I sort of wish they'd not shown as many of them as they did in the previews, though. A couple of them would have had a lot more impact if they'd been left as a surprise - like the bus with the cliff and the car at Abu Dhabi.


I don't know if the airplane car drop scenes were a mixture of real and CGI, but dang they looked good! No idea how the heck you'd control or guide a car with chutes. All I know is it looked amazing!


3) Story/Plot - Thumbs Up: The plot on this one is one of those that you don't want to look at too closely or it won't make sense or quite add up.


The storyline about Letty and Dom and them trying to work through her lack of past memories and the kinks it puts in their relationship worked rather well. When added to Brian and Mia's own unexpected issues now that he's a father, they made a nice mix. Family has been at the core of most of the Fast and Furious films, and this one, as the ending/tribute shows, is no different.


Most of the problems come from the other places. (Do not read further if you want your action and testosterone fest to go unsullied! You've been warned!) The fact Shaw somehow always knows where the group is and what they're doing, yet no one seems to wonder how the heck he's doing it or even that he's doing it - and never a even a hint of how he knows! (And you don't think therefore he might be expecting you to find him after you get God's Eye? REALLY? And that he might set a trap for you? So you BRING the only copy of God's Eye with YOU?!?! Add to that a missile armed helicopter and drone being brought from overseas by terrorists, and no one seems to notice their obvious breach of US airspace, or the fact the air force takes twenty plus minutes to even make their presence slightly felt while major havoc is wreaked in a major US City. Mr. Nobody's assistance/support seeming to vanish like smoke, even though he's not dead. Though the worst one was probably (despite the fact it did make for a great entrance!) the one with Hobbs and how he took care of the drone - the timing, especially since he couldn't see it, would have been virtually impossible to sync. (Yes, I can be a party pooper. :P)


Again, with a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief, the story does move well. But in general, it paled, in my opinion, to that of FF6's, on several levels.


There were some unexpected fun bits. The biggest  was a couple of repeating villains! Dom had Shaw from the start, then Brian picked up Kiet, and then the group also got tagged by Jakande as he went after Ramsey and whoever was with her. It was rather unexpected and added a bit of flavor, and gave the audience multiple points of a "payoff".


Some in-jokes were sprinkled here and there as well - both for Statham and Kurt Russell - those were fun.


4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: The hand to hand combat scenes are definitely worthwhile - even though they decided to do funky things here and there with the camera. Tony Jaa brought a little "Jackie Chan" flavor to the film and had several nice combat scenes.


Like I mentioned in the Special Effects section, it was too bad they gave away so many of the big stunt/special effects moments in the previews. There were plenty of other shots they could have shared to get people excited to come see it and left these to surprise the audience, thus ramping the excitement level even more. The car drop scene and the Abu Dhabi flying car scenes were definitely awesome.


5) Locations/Cinematography - Thumbs Up: The film covered several fantastic locations for mayhem. Abu Dhabi was a definite treat on several levels.


The opening scene where Shaw is visiting his younger sibling in London pans into a giant revelation as Statham and the camera move back from the hospital bed and he strides on through the hospital - major kudos for how that was laid out.


This being said, however, some of the gimmicky techniques got taken a little too far. I don't mind new angles and ways of making things seem fresh, but too many of these repeated back and forth over a short span of time, do not work well. Early on there's a section where the camera zooms in and then way out then back in then way out again that almost ruined the chase. Some odd sweeping shots on closeups then turning to another character and sweeping the shot in the opposite direction, back to back to back, was too much. A lot of the driving, fights, and action would have been just fine straight forward. It almost made it seem as if they were trying too hard?


Conclusion: Ignoring the plot holes and going in with a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief, Furious 7 will definitely entertain. (Though I didn't feel it was as good as FF6). Tons of eye candy for the guys - both female and four wheeled and then some. Lots of stunts and hand-to-hand combat. Plus an ending that will leave your eyes moist.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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