Furious 7 – Part Deux Vroom Vroom

Furious 7 is currently playing in theaters.

Furious 7

 

Furious 7 (2015) – Rated PG-13

Dominic Torretto and his crew thought they left the criminal mercenary life behind. They defeated an international terrorist named Owen Shaw and went their seperate ways. But now, Shaw’s brother, Deckard Shaw is out killing the crew one by one for revenge. Worse, a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde, and a shady government official called “Mr. Nobody” are both competing to steal a computer terrorism program called God’s Eye, that can turn any technological device into a weapon. Torretto must reconvene with his team to stop Shaw and retrieve the God’s Eye program while caught in a power struggle between terrorist and the United States government.”

Well I spent yesterday detailing how atrocious the script for Furious 7 was. The thing is there’s another movie here. The other Furious 7 is all about the casting and that film is knocked out of the park.

All of the previous crew return in Furious 7 although Sung Kang as Han only appears in the scene repeated from the end of Fast & Furious 6. The multi-ethnic portion is a good sell for the international market. Obviously there is a lot of sentiment for Paul Walker’s final performance. Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson are given star roles but there are plenty of good moments for Tej (Ludacris), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and Mia (Jordana Brewster).

Jason Statham is a great tough guy and it’s a wonderful coup that Furious 7 was able to convince him to play a villain. While not a great actor, he oozes danger. Unfortunately, they go overboard with this and make him unstoppable. He is a former special forces assassin with obvious psychic abilities.

Kurt Russell is brought out of retirement to play the enigmatic Mr. Nobody. I honestly thought that the next time I would see him would be in The Expendables 4 (or 5). He is suitably cool and appeals to older audiences. They also give him a kick-butt action sequence.

In smaller henchmen roles, they have wisely cast MMA champion Ronda Rousey and martial arts master Tony Jaa. Naturally, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Kara (Ronda Rousey) have a rousing good fight that is a highlight of the film. Kiet (Tony Jaa) has several scenes but his inside the bus fight with Brian (Paul Walker) is one of the other highlights.

Unfortunately, while director James Wan has a fantastic stunt team on his hands, he still resorts to the now standard shaky cam and fast editing of action sequences. The sequences aren’t ruined but most of them aren’t allowed proper room to breathe. Wan often seems more interested in various camera tricks than in the mutlimillion dollar stunts.

While the cast is excellent, the movie is not. It is quite watchable however. If all you want is to see some good fights, pretty people, and fast cars then Furious 7 will take care of you. It is also a loving homage to Paul Walker, that is one part they did get right.

Furious 7 – Brain Dead or Brain Deader?

Furious 7 is currently playing in theaters.

Furious 7

 

Furious 7 (2015) – Rated PG-13

Dominic Torretto and his crew thought they left the criminal mercenary life behind. They defeated an international terrorist named Owen Shaw and went their seperate ways. But now, Shaw’s brother, Deckard Shaw is out killing the crew one by one for revenge. Worse, a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde, and a shady government official called “Mr. Nobody” are both competing to steal a computer terrorism program called God’s Eye, that can turn any technological device into a weapon. Torretto must reconvene with his team to stop Shaw and retrieve the God’s Eye program while caught in a power struggle between terrorist and the United States government.

I want to talk about two movies. Back in 2013, I spent some time ragging on the aggressively stupid Fast & Furious 6. I would not have thought it possible for the franchise to get stupider but I was so wrong. Furious 7 easily has the dumbest, most poorly plotted, cliched excuse for a script since the last Transformers fiasco.

Although I am certain that much of this is by committee, blame must be laid at the feet of scribe Chris Morgan. He has written the script for five of the Fast & Furious movies and, if he was trying before, he certainly isn’t now.

I congratulate Morgan on coming up with the single most irrelevant MacGuffin in the history of cinema. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the F&F gang join a not-so-clandestine organization to recover an item that would tell them where Deckard Shaw is. The thing is that the group is unable to go ANYWHERE without Deckard Shaw being there.

Seriously, I mean ANYWHERE. They literally parachute onto an obscure highway in Azerbaijan and *SURPRISE* Deckard Shaw shows up on that highway. They crash a party in Abu Dhabi and *SURPRISE* who steps off the elevator but Deckard Shaw. Morgan doesn’t even bother with a reason why he would be there. They jaunt off to Los Angeles and, well, you get the picture.

Deckard is also quite psychic in several other scenes. When he confronts Hobbs, he says “like I said…” and then proceeds with information that he never actually said or even hinted at. Deckard is able to, in the span of 36 hours per a news report, attack Hobbs, steal information about the crew, jet off to Tokyo, track down and kill Han, and mail a package containing a ‘smart’ bomb back to Toretto’s house. He also has some mystical knowledge that Toretto is right by the bomb, even though Deckard is in Tokyo.

I say smart bomb because, while it entirely destroys Toretto’s house, it does absolutely no damage to the house next door, even the windows. Moving on from the plotting, the dialogue is just dreadful. I would say that it’s a throwback to 80s action cinema but if so, it’s to bad 80s action cinema. The one-liners fall with dull thuds and there are no clever retorts.

You just earned yourself a dance with the devil, boy.”

“Did you bring the cavalry?” – “Woman, I am the cavalry” (although he actually says calvary)

“The thing about street fights… the street always wins.”

“Would you believe I knocked him out with my charm?” – “You’re not that charming, b*tch.

As per the norm, Furious 7 has no idea of what a hacker is or does. Unfortunately for a 2015 movie, Furious also has no idea how the internet works or for that matter cell phone service, towers in particular. Honestly, the ignorance on display here is embarrassing. Talk about setting the bar low.

More tomorrow – I have to go wipe the froth from my lips.

Disney’s Bears Build Brick Mansions

We splurged this weekend and took the kids to Disney’s Bears. Later I snuck off to Brick Mansions.

Disney's Bears

 

Disney’s BearsĀ (2014) – Rated G

A documentary that follows an Alaskan bear family as its young cubs are taught life’s most important lessons.”

Obviously this documentary is a bit whitewashed, being from Disney and rated G. The cinematography is wonderful and I can imagine this being a good film to run in the background on your high-definition television. There are fabulous timelapse shots of avalanches and the tide coming in and covering mud flats. There are incredible mountain vistas and wonderful wildlife shots. This is not limited to the titular Bears as a wolf, raven, gulls, deer, and many unfortunate salmon are also part of the picture.

Unfortunately, as is often the case with Disney Nature films, the movie is haphazardly narrated. The script varies wildly from adult perspective to teen approach to young child enticement. Bears attempts to be all things to all people and succeeds at none of them. This is not narrator John C. Reilly’s fault but rather the script which even tells us when to laugh at the bears’ antics.

Still it is very pretty, will entertain small children, and runs a very brief 77 minutes.

Brick Mansions

 

Brick Mansions (2014) – Rated PG-13

An undercover Detroit cop navigates a dangerous neighborhood that’s surrounded by a containment wall with the help of an ex-con in order to bring down a crime lord and his plot to devastate the entire city.

It’s not a surprise that this movie was dumped right before summer. Brick Mansions is just awful. It shouldn’t be but it is.

Brick Mansions is the American version of the futuristic thriller District B13. District B13 was a high energy action film that first brought parkour to film audiences back in 2004. Two years later, it would be popularized in Casino Royale. Now, ten years later, the American version comes out. Unfortunately for Brick Mansions, that ensuing decade has been filled with action movies that have used this martial art, including District 13: Ultimatum (2009).

David Belle, co-founder of parkour and star of District B13, repeats his role here as Lino (Leito in B13). Changing the setting of the script to Detroit seemed a no-brainer. David Belle is not a particularly good actor but his parkour skills are still amazing. His co-lead here is the late Paul Walker, who is engaging and has the physicality for his role.

What went wrong? I have to lay all blame at director Camille Delamarre’s feet. There are some amazing stunts here, particularly the parkour but Delamarre doesn’t capture any of their power. He jump cuts and slices his way through to make all the action incoherent. This is Delamarre’s first feature as a director but he was the editor on Transporter 3 (the bad one), Taken 2 (the bad one), Lockout (how do you make a prison in space movie boring?), and the equally awful Columbiana. Delamarre is set to direct Transporter 4 next. Ugh.

Also ruining Brick Mansions are a weak script (the original script is over a decade old and District B13 was not a strong script to begin with) and RZA. RZA plays our lead villain Tremaine and it feels like nails on a chalkboard every time he is onscreen.

Just avoid this. If you want a parkour fix, re-watch Casino Royale or check out District B13.