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Furious 7 (2015)

Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw, who audiences know by this point is the person who murders Han (Sung Kang)--and is the brother of former antagonist, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), is reintroduced, for the first time as more than a cameo, with a serious bang--this was also a clever way of connecting The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift to the rest of the series.. He is shown having destroyed a hospital and single-handedly taken down multiple UK Police Special Ops agents. It is made clear from the getgo that this Shaw would be a force to be reckoned with and that he would pose more issues for Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his team than they had ever dealt with. For the first time, in a long time, someone other than Justin Lin runs the show and it truly shows. It appeared that James Wan (Saw) attempted to compete with the ferocity that Lin brought to the table in the previous installments. He looked to extend the already large Fast and Furious universe by taking the characters across the globe at a pace that was detrimental to the film. From Abu Dahbi to Los Angeles and the Dominican Republic to Azerbaijan, Wan, and the writers, made it difficult for audiences to keep up with everything that was happening. Wan introduced new characters that would make their mark on the series as it progressed. Nathalie Emmanuel’s Ramsey and Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody make huge entrances in this film and it quickly becomes clear that their characters and their stories would play a role in not only this film but the future installments. Household names like Michelle Rodruiguez are explored deeper and become prominent through most of the film. The journey that Rodruiguez’s Letty Ortiz goes through throughout the course of the series is interesting. From being believed to be dead to being, in many ways, resurrected, and finding her way back to her family, she has had a roller coaster of a journey that most fans very much enjoyed. The way that her story was presented in this film (her repeatedly finding it difficult to stay with Dom--Vin Diesel) and then, at the most opportune moment, she remembers their journey together. It came back to her “like a flood” when Dom’s life was hanging in the balance. While it was nice to see their stories align again and the couple that everyone had fallen in love with hold strong through the most difficult time in their relationship, the timing was nothing short of forced and even a bit too dramatic (even for Hollywood). The characters and the action are what holds this film together when the direction, the dialogue and somewhat fractured storyline work towards making this the least attractive film in the franchise. Even with the many issues the film had, these characters, particularly Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor, did enough to make this film enjoyable. Due to Paul Walker’s untimely death on November 30, 2013 (right in the middle of filming) production was stalled, extras were brought in and his storyline was effectively changed. This film saw the end of Brian’s story in the Fast and Furious franchise. With the help of his two brothers, Caleb and Cody, and CGI, Brian was able to be brought to life for audiences one final time. This, more than anything else, is what Wan did incredibly well. The film sees each character saying their goodbyes not only to Brian but to their friend, Paul, as well. As the film closes and the audience sees Brian and Dom drive off in different directions, every teary-eyed viewer understands that this was perfectly done and that it was the best possible way to see Walker end his stint with The Fast and the Furious.



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