I am not a big fan of this franchise. I think the first film is watchable, but nothing special, and I hate films two through four. Those 3 were unbearably painful to sit through. Then, all of a sudden, Fast Five gets released, The Rock is cast and the series took an unexpected turn into awesome-ville. It was an insanely awesome film that didn't take itself too seriously. Then Fast & Furious 6 came along and it was a film that required no thinking whatsoever, although I must admit that it's a rather entertaining, if not lengthy, time. Now we have Furious 7, and it's most certainly the best Fast & Furious movie to date, as well as the perfect send off for Paul Walker.
Then my other concern was how they would approach Paul Walker's saddening and unexpected passing, which occurred less than halfway through production. It was announced that his brothers would come in to fill the role, and that CGI would be applied so it looks convincing, but I remained skeptical. I'm pleased to announce that you can hardly tell which scenes were filmed when. With the exception of the ending, which I will get into soon, and a fight scene in which you can't see Paul Walker's face for the entire fight, it's nearly impossible to notice which scenes were him and which were his brothers. It's convincing, it flows well and it just works. So kudos to James Wan and the entire cast and crew for actually getting this movie to happen, and making it awesome too.
This film seriously has everything. It goes from cars jumping out of planes to cars flying between skyscrapers. It's a jaw dropping, blood pumping good time that you can never believe if really happening, but you can't help but scream "HELL YEAH," which, as a matter of fact, one guy did twice during my screening of this film. Normally I'm against people yelling in movies, but come on. We were all thinking it.
I don't wish to delve into spoiler territory, but I must discuss the ending quite briefly. Sure, you can tell it was filmed after the death of Paul Walker, but other than that, dare I say that it's a perfect ending? It's sincere, heartfelt and endearing, and at one point it nearly brought a tear to my eye. They couldn't have given Walker a better send off, finishing on an ariel shot that's all sorts of brilliant. This film isn't perfect, I know that. It's got the odd cheesy line here and there, The Rock is very underused and it occasionally feels like its in a rush to get to as many locations as it can, but for what it is and what happened during production, it's the best film they could've made.