Justin Lin was the architect of the most dramatic film franchise turnarounds in my lifetime. When he signed on to make a third Fast & Furious movie the franchise was a laughing stock (I heard more jokes about the name 2 Fast 2 Furious than any movie before or since). He would, over the course of four films, turn the franchise in to the best original action movie franchise of the modern era. Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6 are the best action films of this decade and it isn’t particularly close. The mid-credits scene of Fast & Furious 6 revealing Jason Statham as the villain for the next installment was one of the happiest moments I’ve ever had in a movie theater. If I knew anything in the world of cinema I knew Furious 7 would be a fantastic movie and that I needed to wait on the edge of my seat for it to come and deliver another transcendent action movie experience.
Then Paul Walker died.