I didn’t know Paul Walker, at least not personally. Like most of us, I was introduced to him through his movies, where everyone seems larger than life and generally awesome. I have been a fan of his since I saw him in Varsity Blues, and was stunned like the rest of the world to hear of his sudden passing.
Then we started to really get to know who the man behind the brilliant blue eyes and magnetic smile was. We learned about his humanitarian work and his charity, about his devotion to his daughter, and the family he created with his Fast and Furious cast mates. It was through these friends that we realized what we truly lost-not just a fun actor, but an amazing human being.
I start this review with this observation because I wanted this movie to be everything they have been saying it would be. Not just action and adventure with beautiful people in gorgeous locations, but a tribute to person they themselves taught us to love. Fast 7 did not disappoint.
The movie is fun to watch and filmed well. The action scenes are frequent and ridiculous in the best ways possible. Not one fight scene or car chase felt out of place, which makes the quiet moments even more impressive. There are exchanges between Dom and Letty that remind us that Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez can actually act, simple interactions with Paul Walker’s Brian and Jordana Brewster’s Mia that make us feel their love and fear for the safety of their family, along with lighter moments provided mostly by Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris that never take you out of the movie. Mix in the new additions of Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell and Jason Statham and you get a crazy good, well rounded cast that makes every over the top moment believable.
While watching the movie you may notice the moments where one of Paul Walker’s brothers stepped in to help complete this movie for him. I thought that it may be distracting, but it was quite the opposite. The movie is almost completely seamless in its efforts to give us as much Brian as possible, and on the rare moment that you find yourself wondering if that scene was Paul Walker or one of his brothers, you realize that it doesn’t matter. The dedication it took to bring this movie to the big screen makes those few moments fade into the background. I truly believe that if we didn’t know of Paul Walker’s passing we wouldn’t have a clue that it wasn’t him in every scene.
At the end of all the crazy action adventure is a tribute to both the character Brian, who is retiring in the movie universe, and the actor who portrayed him for over a decade. Vin Diesel says good bye to both in a moving voice over that will make you cry. Or at least swallow a lump in your throat. It is intimate and beautiful and reminds us that to the cast and crew of this franchise, they were more than friends, they were family.
Go see this movie. Go see it if you like action, adventure, beautiful people or epic fight scenes. Go see it if you want to pay tribute to someone who touched the lives of so many people through his generosity and his acting. Or go see it just because it is the best movie out right now.
Just bring some tissues.