BY: OLIVIA VARNSON
(Gainesville, Ga.)—It is a film franchise whose success has befuddled many. To outsiders, the “Fast and Furious” films seem too distracting with unrealistic stunts and special effects to be enjoyable films. But to the fans that have been watching since 2001, the films have provided an entertaining escape and a comforting message about found families. The true selling point of these films is the ensemble cast of close-knit friends who clearly have fun doing their job.
The most recent film, “Furious 7,” became the highest-selling April release of all time, with an opening weekend earning of $146.3 million in the United States. The film begins with the crew adjusting to quieter lives upon their return to the U.S. Brian O’Conner, played by the late Paul Walker, and his wife Mia, played by Jordana Brewster, focus on raising their son while Dom Toretto, played by Vin Diesel, helps Letty Ortiz, played by Michelle Rodriguez, slowly regain her lost memories. The quiet life does not last for long, of course. Dom and his crew have a new enemy in the form of a brother of a defeated nemesis. They team up again and perform trademark stunts, such as parachuting their cars out of helicopters, and driving off of one building to the next. There are also memorable fight scenes, including a brawl between Letty and professional martial artist Ronda Rousey.
The film was dedicated to the memory of Walker, who died in a car accident on Nov. 30, 2013. “Furious 7” was in mid-production at the time, and Walker’s brothers Caleb and Cody stood in as body doubles for his remaining scenes. As the final credits rolled for “Furious 7,” a tribute video played with a message from Diesel about the bond they shared.