Furious 7: A Respectful Goodbye to Paul Walker

By Marissa Wetterau, Sports Editor

The latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise has been making an impact on the world/entertainment industry and it pays tribute to the late great Paul Walker, who tragically passed away in a fiery car crash on November 30th, 2013 in Valencia, California. Since it’s release, Furious 7 has been speeding through one box-office record after another, and it doesn’t seem that the film is not going to stop anytime soon.

On April 17th, Universal Pictures announced that the seventh film in the franchise had already reached the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box-office…only 17 days after the release of the film. This feat puts Furious 7 among the biggest blockbuster films of the modern era and it makes this adrenaline filled series one of the most successful movie franchises of all time.

The only other films that have reached the $1 billion mark in recent years were The Avengers and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2…which required 19 days to reach the billion dollar mark at the box-office. Furious 7 achieved this feat faster.

Furious 7 features guest appearances by UFC Women Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey and Jaa who is featured in Thai action films. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also makes an appearance in the film with his reoccurring role as Hobbs. The trailer for Furious 7 can be seen here.

Now I have to admit that after Fast & Furious 6, I thought that the world did not really need another installment of the movie but another part of me was excited to find out that there was going to be a 7th installment. Once the announcement was broke that production on Furious 7 was underway, I became super excited and I’m pretty sure that the rest of the fans of this franchise was as well.

Halfway through the filming, Paul Walker who played Brian O’Connor in this movie franchise, died in a horrific and fiery car crash in California. After Paul’s death, production of the film was put to a temporary stop so the cast/crew, Paul’s family, and the world could mourn the loss of a great actor, father, and friend.

When it was announced that the cast, crew, directors and producers would be continuing the process of filming Furious 7, the news felt great but also bittersweet. Paul Walker’s character had a very huge part in all of the previous films and the world wondered how they were going to finish the film. Without giving away too much for those who have not seen the film yet, directors and producers decided to use CGI (Computer-Generated Imagry) and Paul Walker’s brothers as stand-ins to finish the film. The CGI of Paul’s face was placed on one of his brothers bodies. The side-by-side comparison of the CGI and Paul’s real face can be seen here.

The ending of the film will pull at the heartstrings and even make the strongest man cry. When I saw the movie on opening weekend, all of the grown men in the theater were crying as the tribute to Paul Walker was shown during the last five minutes or so of the movie. Paul Walker’s final scene, created by CGI was featured in Wiz Khalifa’s music video for the song “See You Again” and can be seen here and a tribute that was made by the Fast and Furious franchise youtube channel shortly after Paul’s death can be seen here.

While Universal Studios has yet to officially announce an eighth film, Universal chairwoman Donna Langley stated in 2014 that a total of 10 films were likely to be made. On April 9, 2015, producer Neal H. Moritz told The Hollywood Reporter that the filmmakers would meet to discuss the sequel in a week’s time. Neither a director, nor a writer have been finalized for the eighth film. Moritz said, ” is going to have to be something enticing for all of us It has to be as good as or better.”

In regards to Fast & Furious 8 going to New York, Vin Diesel said, “Well, I was trying to keep it close to the vest throughout the release. Paul used to say that eight was guaranteed. And in some ways, when your brother guarantees something, you sometimes feel like you have to make sure it comes to pass.”

Diesel added, “So if fate has it, F8…if fate has it, then you’ll get this when you hear about it. Seven was for Paul, eight is from Paul.”

It remains to be seen if there is even going to be a Fast & Furious 8 and if that film does come to theaters, will it be as great as Furious 7? I recommend that everyone who is a fan of the Fast & Furious franchise must see Furious 7. People that aren’t even fans of the franchise should see this film because it teaches amazing values about family and keeping them close. I do want to put out a warning, the ending and touching tribute to Paul Walker that is featured at the end of the film will bring men, women and children alike to tears.