Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Fast & Furious 7: It's Never Goodbye 

     “See You Again” (Featuring Charlie Ruth) Wiz Khalifa created for “Furious 7” earns a 5 star rating as it masterfully pays tribute to Paul Walker, a true life fallen hero who played the role of Brian O’Conner in the action/adventure “Fast and Furious” series. Walker died in a car crash while the latest installment “Furious 7” was still in production. This created a lot of turmoil. Should the film be completed? Would the character Brian O’Conner also meet a tragic end? How were the producers going to change the story line, and was it even possible to retain the pedal to the medal signature fans had come to expect while still honoring Paul’s life. These were difficult issues that had to be resolved. This is when there was a call out for a song that could tie everything together.

     For the diehard fan, “Furious 7” did not disappoint. The non-stop action made this movie, as good as or possibly better than all of the other movies. What was captivating is that Brian O’Conner was put in situations through the movie where he was on the razor’s edge facing sure death. Everyone expected him to meet his fate and be written out of the movie but that did not happen. As the team finally captured and locked up the villain, the screen faded out signifying the end of the movie only to open up another scene on a deserted beach where the crew had gathered to decompress from the intensity of their now finalized adventure.
     This last scene and “See You Again” tied everything all together, transcending a mere movie. Brian O’Conner and real life Paul Walker were too monumental to write them out of the scene. It is a combination of the song lyrics, the thin high pitched somewhat haunting voice of Charlie Ruth, and the rhythmic cadence and smooth cool of Wiz Khalifa delivering his powerful message. This was enhanced by the powerful visuals of Dom in his Charger, sitting alone at an intersection lost in his thoughts only to have Brian pull up beside him revving his engine and asking “Were you going to leave without saying Goodbye?” Dom’s double take when this occurred was like a jolt of reality. Driving side by side on a mountainous road like they had done dozens of times, when the two came to a fork in the road, Brian and Dom went their separate ways. This symbolized Brian/Paul’s departure and a simple “For Paul” remained on the screen.
     “Emotional appeals (appeals to pathos) are powerful tools for influencing what people think and believe” (Argument). In analyzing the song and the last scene, this was the predominant argument and it was highly effective. As an example, one lyric says “How can we not talk about family when family’s all that we got? Everything I went through you were standing there by my side. And now you gon’ be with me for the last ride. That pulls at your emotions, understanding that Paul Walker will never return.

     At a loss to be able to put their arms around Paul’s tragic departure, the last scene relied on an ethos argument, as well. According to “Everything’s an Argument”, authority and credibility are essential for this argument. An audience needs to trust the information they are given. Each core member of the furious family both on screen and real life knew Brian/Paul like a brother and were the most credible people to eulogize him. “Small turn to a friendship a friendship Turn into a bond and that bond will never Be broke and the love will never get lost.” Paul Walker was not only a colleague, he was family.

Click here to see the scene

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