Brian (Paul Walker) and Dom (Vin Diesel) meet with a high-level government operative (Kurt Russel) in Furious 7. Photo courtesy of Scott Garfield, Universal Studios

Furious 7 is a family’s tribute to Paul Walker

By  Augustine Ng, Youth Speak News
  • April 10, 2015

I went into the theatre expecting explosions, fast cars and over-the-top action; I got all of that and then some in Furious 7.
Furious 7 is the latest instalment in the Fast and Furious film series. The series has built itself around street racing and daring heists and Furious 7 has it all.

What makes this film different is that during its filming, cast member Paul Walker died in a tragic car accident in 2013. The world was shocked, it all happened so fast.

Tributes poured in on social media, including posts from Walker’s co-star and good friend Vin Diesel. Diesel posted a picture of him and Walker together saying, “Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. RIP.” The death was difficult for the cast to deal with but with the help of Walker’s two brothers and CGI, the film was completed.

This movie is a touching tribute to Walker and his character. When they announced Walker’s brothers would be filling in, the Fast and Furious Facebook page posted, “The Fast and Furious saga is about family. The characters are connected by the bond of family, and it is how all of us who have worked together for more than 13 years feel about each other.” Family definitely plays a huge role in this movie. They aren’t blood related but they are as close as a family.

In Furious 7, the family is reunited. This time Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner, has a family of his own. O’Conner is shown adjusting to the suburban lifestyle, with his wife and son, in a funny scene at the start of the film.

When Diesel’s character, Dominic Toretto, sets out on another mission, O’Conner and the crew reunite for one last ride. The entire movie is action packed with one-liners so goofy, they are hilarious.

What really stood out to me was the importance of family presented throughout the movie. I was expecting to be just entertained, but Furious 7 also taught me about the value of family.

Pope Francis told families in the Philippines during his visit in January that the world “needs good and strong families” to overcome threats of poverty, materialism and destructive lifestyles. I agree with the Pope and I think a strong family can overcome any obstacle. In Furious 7, the crew is the family. They work together to complete the mission knowing that they can rely on each other for help.

Pope Francis also said, “Resting in prayer is especially important for families. It is in the family that we first learn how to pray. And don’t forget when the family prays together, it remains together.” This theme is similar in the film, but instead of praying (which they also do) they ride together.

Since Walker passed away, this is the final film his character will appear in. At the end of the movie, after the job is complete, O’Conner is shown retiring from the life of action to live with his wife and child. After O’Conner and Toretto share one last goodbye Toretto says, “‘No matter where you are... You’ll always be with me. And you’ll always be my brother.’’ When I heard these lines it felt as if Diesel was actually talking to Walker.

While it is tragic that Walker died, no matter how many sequels end up being created and no matter what happens to Toretto and the rest of the crew, O’Conner will always be out there somewhere, happy and with his family.

This movie was entertaining from start to finish but what really stuck with me was the theme of family. Furious 7 affirmed that family bonds are the strongest and no matter where you are or who you are, your family will always love you and be there for you.

(Ng, 17, is a first-year journalism student at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ont.)

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