Film Review “Furious 7”

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Jason Statham
Directed By: James Wan
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 137 minutes
Universal Pictures

Our Score: 3.5 out 5 Stars

You know what? You really don’t need to any of the other movies in “The Fast and The Furious” franchise. This a series that’s gone from being about petty street racing thieves to illegal street racers globetrotting and fighting villain’s born from the military’s disenfranchised. If your idea of fun is watching cars parachute out of a plane and attack like a swarm of Navy SEALS or a car driving through three skyscrapers, then “Furious 7” is going to make your pants explode.

So what’s the story? A die hard “Furious” fan could probably lay out the little intricate details better than I can because I haven’t watched all of them. But it’s not a deep story that requires cliff notes. It’s a fairly simple story that anyone can acquaint themselves with quickly. The crew, Dominic (Diesel), Brian (Walker), Luke (Dwayne Johnson), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Chris Bridges) are all back in the states, trying to maintain normal lives. However, hunting them one by one is the baddie of the film, Deckard (Statham). He’s a highly trained, professional, killer. The crew needs to get back together once again to turned become the hunters. But they’ll need to get a computer program that will track down the illusive Deckard.

There’s more to it than that, but I mean, who cares? Sure there are some blasé subplots, but you didn’t pay for a movie ticket to watch Dominic and Letty rekindle their romance or Brian attempting to live the suburbanite lifestyle. Hell no. You came to watch a camera follow wet hot, dripping girls, do things in slow motion, and watch cars whiz by at stupid high speeds, with stupid big explosions, and other stupid action that will leave you looking thunderstruck. “Furious 7” delivers that and more.

The problem with a movie that’s so exciting in terms of its action, is that it makes the emotional or dramatic scenes that much more stodgy. Obviously this is Paul Walker’s last film and it was important for the franchise, the actors, and everyone involved to send him off in a respectable way. But it really does nothing for me. This is a movie that has a predator drone fly around L.A and unblinkingly fires off missiles and blast it’s machine guns wildly, possibly killing numerous off-screen civilians. I’m not too concerned that Brian’s character gets to walk off peacefully into the sun with a catastrophic body count taking place.

What “Furious 7” needs to do is trim some story fat so that we have nothing, but the prime cut. But is “Furious 7” the action movie of the year? That’s yet to be seen with “Mad Max: Fury Road” coming out on the horizon. “Furious 7” will probably be the most profitable. Since watching the first “The Fast and the Furious” movie back in 2001, it’s definitely transitioned away from the somewhat respectable street racing movie that set the trend for others that followed it. It’s been a slow transition to the insane ride of “Furious 7” that attempts to one up every outlandish stunt. What we have after 14 years of treading through frivolous story is an insanely cartoonish movie. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Complimentary Passes to an Orlando, FL Screening of “Furious 7” [ENDED]

©2015 Universal


If you would like to enter for a chance to win tickets to the following advance screening below, please leave a comment below with who is your favorite character in the Fast and Furious franchise? Winners will be chosen on a RANDOM BASIS on Friday March 27th. Five winners will be awarded an ADMIT TWO passes and will be notified via email. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Only one entry per person/per household. Must be 13 years or older to enter to win. Employees of all promotional partner and their agencies are not eligible.

Theater: AMC Universal IMAX
Date: Wednesday April 1st, 2015
Time: 7:30 PM

Continuing the global exploits in the unstoppable franchise built on speed, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson lead the returning cast of Furious 7. James Wan directs this chapter of the hugely successful series that also welcomes back favorites Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Elsa Pataky and Lucas Black. They are joined by international action stars new to the franchise including Jason Statham, Djimon Hounsou, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey, Nathalie Emmanuel and Kurt Russell. Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel and Michael Fottrell return to produce the film written by Chris Morgan.

Lucas Vidal talks about scoring “Fast & Furious 6”

If you are a fan of film scores, then you are going to want to keep an eye out for Lucas Vidal. At the young age of 28, Lucas is taking over Hollywood with his fantastic talent. Last year, he scored the film “The Raven” with John Cusack and this year he took on the score for one of the biggest films of the year “Fast & Furious 6”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Lucas about taking over this franchise and his work on the film.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how you got attached to score “Fast & Furious 6”?
Lucas Vidal: Universal called me and said they wanted me to meet for the film. So I went for the meeting and sent them a couple of tracks from my other films and they really liked them. So that was how it started. This was going back to last year about eight months ago.

MG: How much time does it take for you to prepare for a film of this scale?
LV: Oh, a lot of time. I had to watch all the previous films, analyze them and also their scores. I had to study the sound of the franchise. It took me about a month at least just to make sure that I was ready.

MG: You became one of the youngest composer to ever score a major studio picture of this scale; how does that feel and does it compare with its own pressures?
LV: There is a little pressure yes, since now people are looking closely at my career. But I am good and I am very happy with it. The most important thing is to stay focused and keep working. The best thing is that I am learning from some really talented people, like the best orchestrators, music editors etc in the business. So that is the best part. Yes,  am young but I am learning a lot in the process.

MG: How was it following great artists like Brian Tyler, David Arnold and BT?
LV: They are all really good composers. I just tried to do my best, while also respecting their work as well. I was very fortunate to be able to be a part of this franchise. I respect them a lot and for me it was like a privilege. It was an honor.

MG: How do you feel that “Fast & Furious 6” differs from the past films in the series?
LV: It is similar to the others, yet still different. This one has a certain European feel to it. There is also a lot of electronic music.

MG: Tell us about your biggest challenge on this score?
LV: I had to also respect the theme song from the past films, as well. So that to me was the biggest challenge. I was doing something new but at the same time respecting the franchise.

MG: What was the timeline on this project from beginning to end?
LV: I think it was at least six months. It was pretty intense. There were five film editors involved, so there was a lot of people working on the film and the picture was constantly changing.

MG: After “Fast & Furious 6”, what do you have planned next?
LV: I am scoring a film called “Mindscape” and I have a project for the Boston Ballet. Then I have about three or four other films coming up as well. So I am going to be busy, man!

Film Review “Fast & Furious 6”

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson
Directed by: Justin Lin
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

When we last saw Dom (Diesel), Brian (Walker) and company they had just dragged a bank vault through the streets of Rio de Janero before heading off to a wealthy retirement. The film ended with Agent Hobbs (Johnson) being shown a photo of Dom’s girlfriend Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) thought to be dead, taken recently. Bum! Bum! Bum!

At least a half-hour too long, “Fast and Furious 6” is not fast, which made my backside furious. Both Dom and Brian have settled down (Brian and his woman have just had a baby), declaring the old life over. But they are soon back in business when they are asked to track down another group of fast-drivers who have been targeting military hardware. Hobbs gets Dom to help out by showing him the photograph of Lettie. But things don’t go as planned when he first locates her. Unless he planned on her putting a bullet in him. Darn that amnesia…..some people can’t remember anything.

Packed with action that goes on F O R E V E R, “FF6” seems to have been made with the motto “anything worth doing is worth doing long.” I like cool car chases and epic stunts but not as the only reason to see a film. Of course the “FF” series has really been built on cool car chases and epic stunts, but this time it all seems so formulaic that it downright disappoints.

After this many films the roles have got to be getting boring to the cast. At least that is how they seem here. Even Diesel, who has always made Dom interesting, seems to be walking through the film. Surprisingly only Rodriguez shows any spark – perhaps missing the last film charged her batteries.

A film that’s all flash and no substance, only true fans of the series will truly enjoy it. And stay around for a sneak peak at “FF7.” To me it was the best part of the evening.

Luke Evans talks about his roles in “No One Lives” and “Fast & Furious 6”

Luke Evans is a name that might sound familiar but you may not be able to put a face to the name…yet. This guy was the star of last years “Immortals”, which he played the role of Zeus. Since then he has taken on the lead villain role in “Fast & Furious 6”, worked with Peter Jackson on “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” and recently become attached to the remake of “The Crow”. But before all those films, he did a gritty horror film called “No One Lives from WWE Studios. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Luke about his role in that film and comparing it to his upcoming larger scale projects.

Mike Gencarelli: What was the drawing factor for you to play “Driver” in “No One Lives”?
Luke Evans: When I read the script, I couldn’t help but really get behind this character. He had such a great switch from being the typical guy to this crazy psycho. I thought it would be fun to be able to tackle both of those aspects of him. He really does some sick things in the film but was real blast to play.

MG: How did you prepare for the role to get into mind of the crazy son-bitch?
LE: Well to be honest, I tried more not to stay in the mind of this “crazy son-bitch”, as you say. I am an actor, so I would get into the character and do my scenes and then flipped the switch back. Some of the things he does in this film are pretty crazy like hiding inside of a body. So I didn’t want to spent too much time inside Driver’s head [laughs].

MG: What was you biggest challenge working on the film?
LE: I would have to say it would have to be some of physical things that Driver has to do in the film. I was literally covered in blood throughout. I even remember that my fingernails had a permanent red coating for the entire shoot. So that took some getting used to.

MG: I’m a big fan of “Versus”.. How was it working with the director Ryuhei Kitamura on his only second U.S. film?
LE: It was great actually. When we met we really hit it off and we really understood each other. I liked his ideas for the character and he liked the way I was planned to execute it. We had a very symbotic relationship and it made things easier during the shoot.

MG: Sticking with playing the bad guy, we go to your role of Owen Shaw in “Fast & Furious 6”. What do you enjoy most about taking on these villanious roles?
LE: It is great to play the bad guy. Owen Shaw in this film is just such a great villain. This guy never wants to go down and fights really hard. Also there is a lot that you can do with roles like this that gives you as an actor a lot of room to grow and develop.

MG: How was it going from going from a low budget film like “No One Lives” to two gigantic epic films like “Fast & Furious 6” and the two upcoming “The Hobbit” films?
LE: It is quite different. But I really enjoyed doing both kinds of film. When we were shooting “No One Lives”, it was in the middle of the blistering Summer in Louisiana and it was extremely hot. Literally when I finished that shoot I went straight to New Zealand to start working on “The Hobbit” films, so it was a real transition. I do not mind if I do not have a large trailer with catering service while working on a film. I just enjoyed though the change and being able to switch between the two very different types of production.

MG: You have been on every news page I’ve seen this week about you becoming attached to the remake of “The Crow”; are you excited about taking on this role?
LE: Yes, I am very excited for this film. It is going to be great and I can’t wait to start shooting. I hope the fans of the original are going to enjoy it as well.

Complimentary Passes to the Orlando, FL Advance Screening for “Fast & Furious 6” [ENDED]


© 2013 Universal

If you would like to enter for a chance to win passes to the following advance screening, please leave a comment below with what is your dream car? Winners will be chosen on a RANDOM BASIS on May 17th. ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON PLEASE! OTHERWISE ALL ENTRIES WILL BE DISREGARDED. The winners will be will notified via email. Good luck and hope to see you at the screening!

Tuesday May 21st at 7:30pm
AMC Universal Cineplex – Orlando, FL

Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson lead the returning cast of all-stars as the global blockbuster franchise built on speed races to its next continent in Fast & Furious 6. Reuniting for their most high-stakes adventure yet, fan favorites Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Elsa Pataky are joined by badass series newcomers Luke Evans and Gina Carano.

Since Dom (Diesel) and Brian’s (Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete.

Meanwhile, Hobbs (Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind (Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead, Letty (Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again.

Building on the worldwide blockbuster success of Fast Five and taking the action, stunts and narrative to even greater heights, Fast & Furious 6 sees director Justin Lin back behind the camera for the fourth time. He is supported by longtime producers Neal H. Moritz and Vin Diesel, who welcome producer Clayton Townsend back to the series.

Release Date: May 24, 2013
Genre: Action-Thriller
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Gina Carano
Based on Characters Created by: Gary Scott Thompson
Written by: Chris Morgan
Directed by: Justin Lin
Produced by: Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Clayton Townsend
Executive Producers: Justin Lin, Samantha Vincent, Chris Morgan, Amanda Lewis

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