Being genuine is an increasingly ballsy undertaking. When a story lays it out on the line and shoots straight rather than burying its intentions in subtext and nuance it risks inducing eye rolls and coming off like an after school special. But Furious Seven (yes, Furious Seven, sequel to Furious 6. Read the title cards sheeple) has the balls to wear its massive, muscular, exploding, nonsensical heart on its sleeve and it absolutely pays off.
If the emotional nuance of a True Detective or a Boyhood can be equated to sitcoms ditching laugh tracks in favor of subtle quips left to be noticed upon a second viewing, then Furious Seven blasts a laugh track through a subwoofer so loudly your ears have to recalibrate and establish a new aural status quo.
It’s a soap opera, the next chapter in an epic saga in which big personalities feel big emotions and express them through muscle cars and yet rather than melodramatic, Furious Seven feels undeniably sincere, sometimes heartbreakingly so.
What’s sincere about a muscle car parachuting out of a cargo plane, you ask? The unadulterated fun of it all. Furious Seven launches cars off of every conceivable precipice it can find with the giddy excitement of suburban kids launching themselves off of a skateboard ramp for the whole neighborhood to see. If there is a thesis presented by Furious Seven, an intellectual argument made by its sawed-off shotguns and armored cars and 1998 music video editing, it’s that you want to have fun. And it’s a damn compelling argument.
There’s a close up of Vin Diesel’s face as he revs his engine and stares down Jason Statham, a man who is both actively hunting down Diesel’s family and also antagonistically revving his own engine in rebuttal. Diesel is out for blood. He’s ready to charge head first into a battle to the death for the sake of those he loves most in the world. He’s staring Statham down like a rabid animal about to lash out after being cattle prodded into a corner. And yet, there’s a glint in his eye. A glint that shines past critical analysis and detractors, smirks excitedly right as Diesel floors the gas pedal and says “if you had a crush on Furious 6 you’re going to marry this.” And then the skateboard is launched off of the ramp again and the impromptu block party screams and cheers and smiles, cervezas held high.
More than anything else, Furious Seven made me happy.