‘Furious Seven’ speeds into theaters





Grade: A-

Verdict: For the courage to defy blockbuster conventions, present a well-written story and, finally, touch hearts in one beautiful tribute, “Furious Seven” is an outstanding achievement in its genre.

In terms of box office, “Furious Seven” is a smash: in two weekends, the film generated $800 million, surpassing Fast and Furious 6 in its entire run. The greatest surprise, however, comes in terms of quality. Here, “Furious Seven” goes beyond all blockbuster expectations.

“Furious Seven” is a good movie, regardless of the blockbuster title, which often means many explosions and weak plot, characters, and dialogue. “Furious Seven” is different because even though it remains a blockbuster at its core, it simply refuses to give the audience the exact same experience as the last 20 blockbusters they have seen.

It all begins with the title. “Seven,” written in long form, alludes to the classic Japanese film “The Seven Samurai”, where seven men must defend a village under attack by bandits. In “Furious Seven”, the crew of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) go into action when a dangerous spy (Jason Statham) kills a member of the crew and attacks Brian’s home. In order to get to this spy and execute revenge, the U.S. military offers Dom a deal: recover a secret agent from the hand of terrorists and, in exchange, gain access to all the technology available to make his hunt a success.

The classic call to adventure adds to the nostalgia of “Furious Seven” and as one watches on, there is a sensation that nothing will be the same again, which the dialogue reinforces every so often.

Dom and Brian form one of the greatest brotherhoods in film history, and it’s hard to imagine one without the other. Standing by themselves, their acting never excites. Everything is just better as soon as they share the screen: their chemistry is unbeatable. The two characters also have been well built over the last six films, adding the kind of depth that is often absent from blockbusters. While Dom deals with the drama of loving a woman who lost her memory, Brian struggles to adapt to being a family man, for he misses the action and the bullets.

Tyrese Gibson is another one who deserves a special mention here, as his clueless and good-spirited character of Roman delivers the best laughs in the film, such as when he attempts to lead the planning of the bus mission but fails in connecting his thoughts together.

“Furious Seven” is also the best directed movie of the franchise. The scene where Dom and the crew must rescue the secret agent from a well-protected bus on a winding mountain road contains not only action, but also tension. Tension comes not from the speed, but from the elements that drive these characters forward in a win all or lose all situation. The camera is shaky, jerky and agile. There are no perfect shots nor orchestrated cuts here, and this well-calculated mess thrusts the audience forward in a textbook example of what an action scene should look and feel like.

Everything else falls pale, however, in comparison to what the end offers. The tribute to Paul Walker, who died in 2013 before filming ended, is one of the most beautiful homages ever done in the big screen.

There are not many blockbusters that can touch one’s heart. “Furious Seven” speeds in the opposite way. It reminds us it is OK to be moved by a summer flick, and here it earns its high grade. It reminds us that there are people, on our screens as well as in our lives, that shine their light onto this world in a special way. And everything is just a bit darker when they are gone.