Yesterday, Universal unexpectedly announced the first ever public screening of Furious 7 at SXSW. It was a last minute decision by the studio to show the anticipated sequel, and fans and critics in attendance were not disappointed. Some publications have already launched their reviews, and we've pulled some of the best remarks together here in one place.
Furious 7 is set to kick summer off early, with an April 3rd release in theaters across the country. As you probably know, the film was originally set to open in summer 2014, but was delayed due to the unexpected death of franchise star Paul Walker. While his character gets a fond farewell in the movie, with Brian O'Conner walking off into the sunset as opposed to getting killed off, Universal asked those in attendance not to spoil the details of how this all plays out. Brian's swan song is not revealed here. But it is said that the film serves as a fitting tribute, and seems more like a complete series finale more than just another sequel.
Furious 7 picks up exactly where Fast & Furious 6 left off, with Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian and their loved ones being hunted down by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), brother of recently killed Owen Shaw. The events in the movie take place right after The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which was directed by Justin Lin, who has helmed parts 3-6. James Wan steps in for this latest sequel, and most of the reviews credit the creator of Saw for bringing in his own unique take on the material while keeping everything that is beloved about the series, especially the crazy car stunts, intact. Here's what some of the reviews have to say, as Furious 7 is called the 'biggest and craziest' sequel yet. We also have twitter reactions from fans in attendance:
: I can't even begin to untangle the continuity of this series, but thankfully, "Furious 7
" makes sure you know anything you need to know so you can jump in even if you've never seen one of these before. I count at least six or seven giant set pieces, any one of which might be enough for one film. All of them together is positively dizzying, and I salute James Wan for making a confident jump to big budget action filmmaking.
: The set pieces are bigger and crazier than ever, and it's hard to imagine anyone topping them. And before the chases really get rolling, the mood is often downright mournful. Even though Furious 7
delivers the franchise's requisite thrills, Walker's real-life fate is never too far from the surface. It's on the audience's mind when his character, Brian O'Conner, dangles off the edge of a cliff from a mangled bus, or when the camera begins to cut carefully around the actor's face in scenes that were clearly completed after his death.
: Furious 7
is more of a comic book movie than any other chapter in the series, with a few big set pieces and a lot of very repetitive action in between. It squeezes in one-liners, guest appearances and fluid camerawork wherever possible, but the returns are thin for anyone who isn't already invested in this series.
: This whole mission is extremely flimsy and really only winds up functioning as a reason for the characters to jet set to exotic locations, but it doesn't really matter. The Fast and Furious films are about two things, family and getting to watch a slew of explosive car stunts, and in that respect, Furious 7
delivers big, and perhaps even bigger than ever. James Wan
manages to strike the perfect balance between making Furious 7
feel like another Fast and Furious film while also giving it some personal flair. Furious 7
is everything you'd want in a new Fast and Furious film. The car chases are absolutely insane and take the action in the franchise to a new level.
: Any moviegoer who didn't know about the untimely death of Paul Walker would never guess it had occurred during production of Furious 7
, a film that is as stupendously stupid and stupidly diverting as it could have hoped to be had everything gone as planned. F&F fans don't come out to critique lines like "let's do this," they come to see a red sports car (one so expensive only seven were made) be stolen from a billionaire's Abu Dhabi penthouse; to watch it race through his windows, fly through the air, and crash into the skyscraper next door. And then to see that the brakes have gone out, and it will have to take to the skies again into a third building.