Furious 7
Paul Walker (left) and Vin Diesel (right) in "Furious 7" (Photo by Scott Garfield, Universal Pictures)

by Mike Reistetter

Students of Mount Saint Mary College will often travel to the local movie theaters, Showtime Cinemas in Newburgh and Destintas Theater in New Winsdor, for sources of entertainment.

Following Easter break and with a month left in the semester, what movie can most on campus look forward to seeing in the area with their friends?

Universal’s “Furious 7” came out on April 3, to worldwide public and critical acclaim. Not only did it break the box office record for highest grossing film with an April Release, but according to RelishMix, it also surpassed The Hunger Games as the most social film in the history of social media.

“Furious 7” is the seventh installment of the speed-racing franchise that launched the acting careers of its lead stars Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, and further added to the celebrity of some of their supporting stars, rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and WWE-wrestler turned actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

On Nov. 30, 2013, Paul Walker, who plays FBI-Agent turned wanted fugitive Brian O’Conner in the majority of the films, died in a single-car accident in Los Angeles. He had completed 85 percent of his scenes at the time of his death, and after a delay in production, scripts were revised to include a proper, conclusive tribute to the series’ late protagonist.

In 2014, Universal revealed the franchise would not have Walker’s character killed off, and instead would retire the Brian O’Conner character. To pull this off, Walker’s younger brothers Caleb and Cody, who both resemble Paul, were used as stand-ins. The final film includes a combination of CGI and the use of carefully chosen camera angles and lighting using Walker’s brothers to simulate his appearance.

“I consider all of the Fast and Furious films to be great, but think the seventh one might arguably be the best,” said freshman Jake Kosack. “The tribute this movie made to Paul Walker was perfect. They honored his legacy while also both honoring his character Brian O’Conner, and highlighting the most important attributes of the franchise which are family and the brotherhood between Brian and Vin Diesel’s character Dom.”

Sophomore Marissa Pino, who claimed this was the first film in the franchise she has seen, said she was “surprised at how emotional a film about cars and criminal activity was” and that the amount of “grown men crying in the theater during the ending scene was extremely impactful.”

Pino added “although I have yet to see another film in the Fast and Furious franchise, this seemed like a perfect way to end the series, paying tribute to its beloved main character.”

Unknown to Pino, actor and producer of the film, Vin Diesel, reported that an eighth film is coming, and more sequels are planned for the future.

“No other film we be able to top this one, and I would not like to see them continuing the series,” said Kosack. “There is not much more they can do, and the series means NOTHING without Walker.”

Despite what many fans of the series believe, the series will continue its attempt to add upon its 15-year long success at grossing the top dollars at the box-office.

“Regardless of whether or not the series ends here, I’ll take my friends to Destinta both this month and in a couple of years to see Furious 8, if I’m still in college when it comes out,” said Kosack.

Pino suggested she is going to have to do some convincing.

“My friends think that this series is just for boys and that they won’t be interested at all,” said Pino. “But Furious 7 is much more than meets the eye. One way or another, I’m going to get some of my friends to come out and see it one weekend, at either Showtime or Destintas before this semester ends. It’s too good of a movie to wait until it’s released on TV. You have to see it in theaters!”