“Furious 7” delivers for its audience

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First Posted: 4/6/2015

“The thing about street fights is, the streets always win”, notes Vin Diesel during the climax of “Furious 7.”

What this actually means, I don’t know. It seems to imply that Diesel’s character is so dumb he thinks a street fight is someone punching the street until they collapse from a combination of exhaustion and broken fists.

Even though it’s unintentionally surreal and unapologetically stupid, it sounds cool. It represents “Furious 7” in a nutshell. It’s dumb. Almost brain-achingly dumb but so ridiculous and ridiculously entertaining you can’t help but clap your hands along with barely concealed excitement.

Like any good porno, “The Fast and Furious” series knows its audience. Nobody is there to watch an intricate, nuanced storyline. Nor are they there to see what crazy misadventures Jordana Brewster’s character gets into (what Justin Bartha was to “The Hangover” series, Brewster is to the “Fast and Furious” franchise. Why is she here? To keep the homoerotic tensions between the late Paul Walker and Diesel a little less overt? If that’s the case, she failed. Miserably). They’re there to watch electric, highly unlikely and heavily CGI-ed car stunts crafted by people whose working knowledge of automobiles doesn’t extend beyond the fact that cars run on gasoline and go vroom.

“Furious 7” flails toward a storyline involving something called a God’s eye that causes Djimon Hounsou to do the only thing he does in every movie now (laugh bitterly and yell the words, “Shoot him”) and Jason Statham who is attempting to murder Diesel and his band of illegal street racers turned secret agents for – I’m guessing – dropping a house on Statham’s brother? I didn’t see part six but I wouldn’t be surprised if a car pushed a house off a cliff at one point and it landed on whoever played Statham’s brother. It just seems right to me.

The plot is disposable and only presented in five-minute increments that exist between the film’s various automotive pop-shots. But, if this film was nothing but automotive pop-shots, you’d never be able to go to the bathroom and the world of “Furious 7” needs to be entered with a bladder that is as empty as humanly possible.

This is a world where oily pork mounds in provocative muscle shirts repeatedly get into head-on collisions, shamble out of the wreckage without a scratch and inanely tough-talk each other in locations that simultaneously function as highway underpasses and abandoned factories. This is a world where The Rock flexes his way out of an arm cast, steals an ambulance and somehow launches it into a drone. This is world where Iggy Azalea is merely a bad street racer instead of a terrible rapper and the muscle car equivalent to 9/11 is occurring in downtown Los Angeles but only The Rock seems to notice. This is the world of “Furious 7” and it is beautiful.

There are lots of unbelievable things in “Furious 7,” but I can suspend my disbelief long enough to accept that maybe Diesel can drive a sports car through three skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi. I can even buy the fact that Diesel could possibly drive a car off of a mountain and somehow survive. But the one thing I simply cannot buy is the idea that Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez are a couple who are very attracted to one another. The closest comparison I can make to their onscreen chemistry is if you painted a frowny face on a pair of cinder blocks and then smashed them against each other for an undetermined amount of time.

Actually, that’s unfair because whatever sexual chemistry that could be mined from smashing frowny-faced cinder blocks against each other could still generate more heat than the sight of Diesel awkwardly kissing Rodriguez with his wet, gaping Vin Diesel mouth.

Of course, I’m being way too hard on “Furious 7” because I loved every stupid minute of this film. I loved the fact that something this moronic remained pure in an age where everything needs to wink at you and convince you they were in on the joke the entire time. Even better, the series still has the potential to get even dumber! Could Walker’s character be replaced by three guys named Hoagie? Could Diesel and his crew go on to travel through time, fight Bigfoot or team up with the Transformers? Who can say? As long as it’s mind-roastingly stupid, the possibilities are endless.