As part of a high-octane, action franchise six sequels deep, it would be easy to assume that critics would write off Furious 7 as predictable, at best. Despite the relative ease of falling into common action blockbuster tropes, Furious 7 has emerged as a critical darling with over an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and as an audience pleaser, already reeling in almost $140 million domestically in its opening weekend alone. The franchise which began 14 years ago with the comparatively toned down The Fast and the Furious centers around a ragtag crew of street racers turned globe-trotting vigilantes, who occasionally use their skills in service of the U.S. government.
Though the franchise is by turns outlandish and sincere, the improbability of its stunts generally works in its favor. As E Online put it:
Not that we’re even mad about it, because who cares about logic when someone is jumping off a truck that is stuck on the side of a speeding train onto a car going full speed toward a cliff?!”
Compared to almost any other large-scale, big-studio enterprise, the Furious brand practices a slick, no-big-deal multiculturalism, and nods to both feminism and domestic traditionalism. “I don’t have friends. I have family,” Dom says, and there is something beautiful and downright utopian about the idea that the bonds among his gear heads and speed demons transcend race and nationality. Gasoline is thicker than blood.
Furious 7 is the fuel-injected fusion of all that is and ever has been good in The Fast and the Furious saga that began in 2001 with souped-up cars and a stripped-down story about a tightknit East L.A. street racing crew…While it will never win that best picture Oscar, as Diesel has suggested, the film does hit on all the franchise cylinders — high-stakes action, unbreakable friendships, absolute loyalty, self-deprecating humor, a high-energy hip-hop and rock score and an endless string of high-speed chases between muscle-bound cars just made for crashing.
Furious 7 is basically a string of action set pieces involving heists and car chases, each more elaborate and ridiculous than the last. There are two connecting threads that turn it all into a single storyline, but they exist merely to get us from one sequence to the next with barely enough time to catch our breath before the adrenaline kicks in like nitro again. It doesn’t need to do much more than that, so long as the action and stunt work are as over-the-top excellent as they are. But it does actually do more, by creating personal narratives for a few characters to add extra heart and personal drama to the festivities. Read more…