Big stunts, bigger biceps, and at least one world-class badass catfight
AUSTIN - One of the things that impresses me most about the team that throws the SXSW Film Festival in Austin every year is how adaptable they are. I've seen them roll with all sorts of things, and they seem to me to be open to all sorts of ideas in terms of programming. There was nothing originally scheduled for the Sunday night midnight slot at the Paramount, but when I woke up on Sunday morning, the festival had announced a very special treat for anyone who had a badge for the festival, and anticipation was running high because of which title it was.
This coming weekend, I'll be attending the junket for "Furious 7," so I was already scheduled to see the film. But seeing it tonight at the Paramount Theater, completely packed with lunatic movie fans who were all crazy excited to be there was better than any junket screening possibly could be. It was emotional, it was exciting, and it was genuinely moving at times. Before the screening began, producer Neal Moritz asked the assembled audience to protect one piece of information from the film, the ultimate fate of Paul Walker's character. When Walker died last year, it was devastating to this entire cast and crew, and they had to take a step back to figure out if they could finish it and how. What I find most impressive about how they finished it is that the seams don't show, at least not at first glance. This feels like the film they set out to make, and it is as satisfying as any entry in the series.