Ride or die: ‘Furious Seven’ brings it home

Photo courtesy of justkillinti.me Paul Walker starred in his last film before his tragic death, “Furious Seven,” which premiered in theaters April 3.
Photo courtesy of justkillinti.me Paul Walker starred in his last film before his tragic death, “Furious Seven,” which premiered in theaters April 3.

Photo courtesy of justkillinti.me
Paul Walker starred in his last film before his tragic death, “Furious Seven,” which premiered in theaters April 3.

In 2001, the world was introduced to the film, “The Fast and the Furious” and its main characters, Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Connor, played by up-and-coming actors at the time, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker.

From their performances in this pulse-pounding and thrilling action flick, we have been granted a whole series of films that not only address the title of both being fast and furious, but find a way to escalate things even further.

With the newest addition to the series, “Furious Seven,” we are given what is said to be one last ride. If that is true, then this one was definitely worth it.

After the events in London, Toretto and his family find themselves being hunted by a dangerous man named Deckard Shaw who desperately wants revenge for his brother, Owen.

In an attempt to survive, Dom, along with help from Hobbs, must take the crew on one last ride, which will take them across the globe and could prove to be their craziest adventure yet.

“Furious Seven” stars Diesel, Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Djimon Hounsou, Ronda Rousey, Tony Jaa and Kurt Russell.

First off, let us address the death of Walker. In November 2013, after production began on this film, Walker died in a car accident. For a few months as production on the film was halted, it was unclear whether or not this film would ever see the light of day.

Alas, here we are with Walker’s final performance in a series that has really shown his true skill as an actor.

This series will live on for years to come not only as a reminder of what a good, no-holds-barred, adrenaline-pumping action film looks like, but also as a reminder of an actor’s performance and dedication to a film series that defined a generation. Rest in peace, Paul.

It is really hard to say anything about the main cast of these films that hasn’t already been said.

In a scene from the film, the new character, Ramsey, played by the lovely Emmanuel really categorizes each of them in their own perspective roles. Diesel is the Alpha, Walker is the Ex-Cop, Rodriguez is Mrs. Alpha, Ludacris is the Tech Guy and Gibson is the Joker aka Double Alpha.

The reason I bring this up is not only because this is the first time we have had their roles clearly defined, but also because with these characters, these actors are able to recapture these roles each time and somehow make them even better than before.

However, even with great performances from a group of series regulars, you have to add new characters to spice it up and make it original and more exciting. Just like the series did with the addition of Johnson’s character, Hobbs, in 2011’s “Fast Five,” this series brings in some new faces. We have the ultimate badass, Statham, as the revenge-seeking, dangerous operative Shaw, Russell as the highly intriguing government official aptly called Mr. Nobody, Hounsou as the terrorist Jakande, martial arts superstar Tony Jaa as one of Jakande’s ruthless officers, Kiet and one of the world’s most breathtaking and deadly ladies around, Rousey as Kara.

Each one of these new faces not only makes the story more intense and electrifying, but have their own little gems to contribute.

You could say that director James Wan had one of the hardest challenges of any director in a series like this.

What do I do when one of my leading actors dies without finishing the film and how do I bring new blood into a long-running series? The answer is you hire James Wan.

Let’s be honest. At times, it is noticeable that CGI is being used, but it does not take away from the performance. With the help of Walker’s brothers, Wan brings us one of the best and most passion-filled films in the series. Well done.

Besides the film’s story having some plot elements that deal with advancements in technology that I do not believe exist, the death-defying action stunts and performances make up for it all.

If you have not already seen this film, I recommend that you make your way to the cinema now and do so.

Story by John GruccioContributing writer