Given that experiencing the bonkers action setpieces is Furious 7’s greatest pleasure, it seems callous to go into detail about them in the main review, so I invite people who have seen the film to use this space to highlight the various stunts, explosions, and gags that made them squeal and clap their hands with childlike glee. I’ll start things off:
- The skydiving-cars sequence that was so prominently featured in the film’s trailers occurs in Furious 7’s first act, which speaks to the movie’s ever-escalating approach to action. The drop itself isn’t that exciting, which is saying something. But the drawn-out chase and fight sequence that follows is superb, particularly Brian’s heart-stopping run up the side of a bus that’s plummeting off a mountainside. (He’s caught just in time by Letty, in what feels like a callback to Dom’s mid-air catch of her in the last film.) It also establishes Dom’s new penchant for straight-up driving off a cliff, a penchant that culminates in…
- My absolute favorite moment of the film, when Brian and Dom drive a $3.2 million Lykan Hypersport through not one, not two, but three skyscrapers. The sight of the car flying from one tower to another was in the trailers, but what makes this stunt truly spectacular is how it doubles down on the ridiculousness of that visual by crashing the car through a third skyscraper. It’s like the movie jumped the shark, then did a triumphant backflip back over the shark. This moment got the biggest cheer by far in my screening of the film.
- Pretty much every one of the main crew gets a major hand-to-hand battle sequence (even Ludacris!), but Michelle Rodriguez’s evening-gown fight with MMA star Ronda Rousey in Abu Dhabi is a standout. (More like formal and furious, right?) If two women grunting at and punching each other can be considered a conversation, that fight earns Furious 7 a passing grade on the Bechdel Test.
- Relegating the endlessly charismatic Dwayne Johnson to a hospital bed for most of the movie seems like a waste—probably required by his other film obligations, which he has more of at this point than anyone else in the cast—though he does kick off the action with a great fight against Statham, who looks positively tiny by comparison. But Hobbs’ return during the climactic L.A. street battle more than makes up for his protracted time away from the action. If everyone in your theater doesn’t cheer and clap at the moment when he straight-up flexes out of his arm cast, you may want to start checking for pulses.