Furious 7, which opens in theaters this weekend, is a slam-bang, non-stop action flick with outrageous stunts, crowd-pleasing one-liners, and some deliriously over-the-top scenarios (a car drives through not one, but three buildings at one point). But don’t be surprised if you leave the car caper a little misty-eyed. Honestly, don’t be surprised if you leave in a full stream of tears. That’s because the film pays a touching, heartfelt tribute to one of the saga’s original family members, Paul Walker.
Walker — who tragically passed away at the all-too-young age of 40 in a car accident in 2013 — gets the send-off he so richly deserves in what marks his final film. Not only does Walker’s character Brian O’Connor get the full action hero treatment (he has more than a few jaw-dropping sequences that will bring fans to their feet), but the film is dedicated to the memory of the actor.
There’s no question that it’s hard to adjust to Walker’s presence at first. Walker’s stunning blue eyes and captivating smile light up the screen in Furious 7 and it’s still hard to believe he’s actually gone. Even in the midst of watching a silly, hyper-violent popcorn flick, you can’t help but feel the sting of his death. It’s particularly difficult watching Walker in the film’s many car crashes, but even more tough to watch him play a loving, doting father. Some of it just feels a little too close for comfort.
Still, Walker’s memory and legacy in the Fast and Furious franchise is, undoubtedly, in the right hands. The movie’s finale gives his Furious family the chance to say goodbye to him and pay their respects, but it’s one that allows fans of the popular series to say goodbye to the actor and the character alike. Walker’s on-screen departure — which features a montage of his work in the previous Furious films and an instantly classic exchange with co-star Vin Diesel (who named his newborn daughter after his late friend and co-star) — is handled in a lovely, appropriate manner. You’re pretty much made of stone if you don’t get even a little choked up at the moment.
While the actor’s brothers Cody Walker and Caleb Walker — who stepped in to film some of his remaining scenes — are undeniable to spot, it’s as bittersweet as it is fitting. After all, the Furious films have always been about family, both on and off screen.
The Gossip Table has more on Diesel’s tribute to Walker.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]