Furious 7 (2015)

Furious7Score = B+

(Action, Thriller, Crime)  PG-13

Review by: Kisho Wolfe

Logline: “Cars dont fly, Dom!”

Movie euphoria.  That’s the first thing that came to mind after watching Furious 7. By no means does it indicate a perfect movie, but it does mean you will not be bored watching it.

The movie kicks off its one hundred and thirty seven minutes with an adrenaline pumping fight between Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson).

Shaw and Hobbs dukin' it out.

Shaw and Hobbs dukin’ it out.

Talk about setting the stage.  If you watched the extra scenes at the end of the 6th movie, you know that Deckard was responsible for the death of Han (Sung Kang).  Of course, if you didn’t watch the 3rd Furious movie then you’re probably lost as to how Han ended up flipped upside down and trapped in the car in the first place, since Deckard had nothing to do with that part. Yup, the order of the movies is not exactly chronological, but the writers did a half way decent job of mashing them together.

Like many insane action flicks, the plot in this one is razor thin, but it is just enough to give us some foundation for checking out the movie in the “second” place. 🙂   Deckard is seeking revenge for the Furious team’s involvement in permanently crippling his brother Owen (a government agent gone bad) during their London antics in the 6th movie, which apparently takes place before the 3rd movie that is Tokyo Drift.  Again, you’ll have to watch them all to figure out the time lines.  I think 4,5 and 6 all happened prior to the 3rd one.  Most likely has something to do with having the original crew back together after the 2nd and 3rd movies had some…issues.  Deckard — who is also a European ghost assassin badass — is ultimately hunting down our Furious team and ends up in the states to take everyone out of commission.

There are a couple subplots so as not to make the movie too simple in delivery. The team ultimately looks to turn the tide and hunt down Deckard with a hacker device dubbed God’s Eye.  It has the ability to pretty much hack any digital device with a camera or microphone and locate anyone anywhere on the planet.  Of course retrieving this device is easier said than done, since it was stowed away in a hard drive and unwittingly sold to a trust fund chap out in Abu Dhabi. The pieces connected to this subplot seem more like time filler aspects than actual necessary elements, but the great action happening –flying cars– and other elements make up for it.

The remaining subplot dealing with Brian’s (Paul Walker) turmoil and life changes is more directly tied to the series and makes perfect sense.

Brian and Mia

Brian, Mia, baby Jack and Dom

His relationship with Dom’s sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster) and taking it to the next level with the family situation was a great set up to the end of the movie.  The writers were absolutely on point with Paul’s mental struggle to let go of his dodging bullet days and settle down with a wife and kids.  I also spent a nice portion of the movie wondering how they were going to end his character due to Mr. Walker’s untimely death, and I was pleasantly surprised at how they did it. There may have been a tear or two… Maybe.

flying car

Look ma! No wings!

The best part of a Fast and Furious movie is non other than the insane car chases and stunts.  This is ultimately the reason some of us adrenaline junkies watched the series, right?  Well that and to see some sweet rides grace the screen at 200mph. Some of the stunts like flinging a super car through penthouse windows (yes multiple) a few dozen stories up were pretty sick and reminded me of the old Knight Rider days.  Had to stow the excitement in the theater on that one.  Felt like a roller coaster!

There were a few cameos in the movie.  Some greatly welcome, others… not so much.  Iggy Azalea’s performance can be summed up in one word…”Why?”   Ronda Rousey’s two minutes of screen time wasn’t all bad.  She did well in the fighting scene.  Although her actual speaking parts were a tad rough (to put it nicely).  I also wasn’t too thrilled with the dress they put this otherwise lovely (when she smiles anyway) woman in.  The dress and the way they styled her hair made her look bloated and didn’t show that chiseled figure she has.  Didn’t do her justice at all.  And then there’s Kurt Russell. Freakin’ KURT RUSSELL!!  Damn I’ve missed this guy in movies.  Sure he’s gettin’ up there in years just like the rest of us, but once he puts on those sun glasses, he’s still got the swagger. Acting chops are still in tact as well!

Furious 7 delivers the high octane goodness that one expects from the series. Even though the acting and cheesy points — like everyone apparently having Teflon skin and walking away from these insane car crashes with nothing more than a scratch — are down right laughable at times, it’s good to know that the seventh installment still manages to not take itself too serious and keeps us entertained.

I give this one a B+.

And this hottie’s in the movie.

Nathalie Emmanuel

Nathalie Emmanuel

Just wanted to put her picture in, ‘cause she’s hot.  Chow!



Score = C+

(Action/Crime/Thriller) Rated-PG-13

Review by: Kisho Wolfe

Logline: There’s the law, and then, there’s Reacher’s law.

The movie kicks off as just another day for many folks taking a stroll in the park on a bright and sunny Pittsburgh afternoon. Things seem nice and cozy until a shot rings out, and strikes a man sitting on the bench.  Then, a second shot takes out a woman in a business suit.  Three, four, a total of five shots echo out over the park killing five random strangers.  The evidence leads back to a well-trained military sniper by the name of James Bar (Joseph Sikora).  James refuses to testify to the killings and instead, writes one name on the confession sheet:  Jack Reacher.

Jack Reacher is an ex-military force of sane-crazy.  Built up throughout the film as a violent, calculating, ghost-like individual, Reacher actually moves with one purpose; to set things right—law be damned.  Although this is familiar territory, Tom Cruise does a great job portraying our main character who coincidentally, ends up being the antagonist for the majority of the film.  This is where things differ from most stories.  Rather than wait for the bad guys to chase him, his investigative prowess sends him on the hunt for those that have done the wrong with the sole intent of making sure their wrong-doing comes to an end—permanently.

As the film moves on, the puzzle pieces start to connect quite nicely thanks to the director’s decision to keep the audience informed during the plot points.  The flash backs were a nice touch as well, but felt a tad over-done in a few segments of the bridge shooting and Bar’s other incident in the military.  There are laughs to be had in the movie as well thanks to Reacher’s blatant disregard to otherwise tension-filled moments.  In fact, these moments are where this murder-mystery shines, because truthfully, without them, the film did more struggling than entertaining.  Speaking of entertaining…

Maybe it was just me, but, the trailers for Jack Reacher had me anticipating gushing bouts of action packed tough guy’s stuff (“gorilla” grunts and all) with the possibility of a decent murder investigation to make things interesting.  Instead, the good stuff seemed to trickle out like a leaky faucet which created slow moments as we dealt with the “talking head” syndrome films use to flush out the story.

For the most part, this movie does well with an internationally eclectic cast from various parts of the globe.  Germany (Werner Herzog), Austrailia (Jai Courtney), UK (Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo), Canada (Alexia Fast).  Definitely a nice variety happening.  Oyelowo brought intensity and Cruise always does well in the “ass-hole” roles, but everyone else seemed a bit lack-luster performance wise.  As the main female co-star in a predominantly testosterone filled cast, I would’ve like to have seen stronger emotion from Pike to show us exactly why she was chosen for this role to begin with.  Jack Reacher gets a C+.  A bit slow in parts, but when the action does pick up, it does it well enough to pull you back into the movie…at least until the next “talking head” moment.