Surprise! As you may have seen when we retweeted it this afternoon, SXSW featured a midnight showing of Furious 7, the new entry into the Fast & Furious franchise. As director Justin Wan told the audience before the film started, the movie was only finished about a week ago, and this SXSW exhibition has only come together in the last few days. Along with Wan on hand for the premiere were both Tyrese Gibson and series producer Neal Moritz.
Maybe the most striking thing about Furious 7, aside from the constant stream of “no f***ing way is that actually happening” action, was the barrage of appearances. At this point, the series cast is quite large, and while Gal Gadot and Sun Hang were functionally absent from this episode, they were replaced by Nathalie Emmanuel as a talented computer hacker and Kurt Russell as a government black ops agent; Jason Statham, of course, stepped into the villain role as the older brother of FF6‘s Sebastian Shaw. But aside from that, there were appearances by Ronda Rousey, Iggy Azalea, Lucas Black, Djimon Hounsou, and Tony Jaa.
But the big question on everyone’s mind going in is, What happens to Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker)? Well…I can’t tell you. Before the screening Neal Moritz implored all in the theater to let audiences across the country experience the movie just as we did tonight – not knowing what happens. I’ll respect his wishes and not tell you how the production coped with the death of one of its stars.
I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts to share as we get closer to release. You can expect a full review at that time. For now, let’s just say that this is a series that specializes in having fun with self-indulgent, over the top action, and this installment absolutely delivers on that front.