We begin our sequel where we always begin: on the streets. Our protagonists, a ragtag group bound by fierce loyalty and a slick, colorful obsession, are back. One is struggling with the routine of new parenthood, and another is having communication issues with their spouse. Tensions are high after an unexpected bit of home redecoration, leading the gang to a swanky resort in the United Arab Emirates. When their racy behavior gets them thrown off the premises and an old flame threatens their internal stability, they jet back to the city they left behind.
Fast and the City 2 — scratch that, Furious 7 — is not supposed to be my kind of movie. I haven’t seen 1-6, can’t stand most big-budget action franchises, and I barely know how my car works, let alone care to fetishize it alongside dudes in wife-beaters and Now That’s What I Call Bro pump up jams. But I had an absolute blast with this one.
Is it stupid? I don’t know. Is a karate fight on a bus that’s about to topple off a cliff stupid? Is The Rock flexing out of an arm cast and shouting “Woman, I /am/ the Calvary [sic]” stupid? Is jumping a car out of a building and into another building so you can steal a device to locate the guy you’re currently driving away from, stupid? These are questions to be wrestled with in fear and trembling.
Reality holds little traction in the Furious universe, but what’s remarkable is how deftly it steers into the skid. Diesel and Walker (the Carrie and Charlotte of the group, respectively) routinely forego obvious weapons for quippy hand-to-hand combat, because…furious? Villains are ludicrous, Ludacris is a genius, Kurt Russell shills Belgian ale but Diesel insists on Corona. There are no laws here. Cars fall out of planes, tumble down mountains, skid under buses, and soar into helicopters. “God’s Eye” surveys the planet because Eagle Eye was trademarked. Everyone knows how to do a backflip, and sometimes the camera does one too: wanna fight about it? Josh Larsen described it best as a state of “Zen chaos”: the world is crumbling at breakneck pace, but everything feels just right.
At the end of all the mindless action is a tribute to the late Paul Walker. As with any “serious” scene, the dialogue is terribly clunky. But there’s very real emotion behind it and, like a heartfelt wedding speech from your boneheaded friend, it’s made all the more touching for its clunkiness. Subtlety is not this movie’s game, and it wasn’t mine watching it. When the car jumped out of a plane I cheered, when The Rock flexed out of a cast I laughed, and when that final Wiz Khalifa song came on I got a bit misty in spite of myself. There’s nothing more to it: Furious 7 an immensely fun ride, well worth seeing and forgetting.