Fast & Furious 6

Fast & Furious 6 photo starrating-3stars.jpgIf Fast & Furious 6 could be encapsulated by a song title it would be Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” Well better than parts 2-4 anyway. We’re a long way from the simple charm of the 2001 original. No longer content to limit the vehicles to just automobiles, this installment has got planes, tanks and yes cars too. The Fast and the Furious franchise is about raising the stakes. The series’ somewhat stale preoccupation with street racing was re-invented into a heist film in installment 5. The latter Fast and the Furious sequels have morphed into the Ocean’s Eleven of chase movies. Fast 6 continues that camaraderie by re-assembling Dom and his crew of experts to do another “job,” the takedown of a rogue team of drivers led by a British (natch) Special Forces soldier.

The old gang is back including expanded roles for more recent additions to the party. The cast has grown exponentially since the first installment. The script takes for granted you know these characters so it doesn’t waste time trying to define them. You are expected to have seen parts 1-5 and adore these people the moment they appear. An overused narrative shortcut is the obligatory European as the bad guy, Luke Evans as a generic terrorist named Owen Shaw. I guess Mark Strong was busy. Dwayne Johnson shows up wearing a t-shirt purchased at BabyGap. He’s Luke Hobbs, the preening CIA operative who apparently has a lot of free time to spend working out at the gym. How else to account for his absolutely ridiculous pumped up physical frame? Johnson is so seriously inflated he looks as if he were punctured by a pin, he’d just pop. He only recently became part of this franchise with Fast Five, but has since become a key component. Conversely Paul Walker (remember him?) blandly fades further into the background. Oops I almost forgot to mention this boasts the return of Michelle Rodriguez as Letty who died in Part 4. If that sounds impossible, please read on.

Fast & Furious 6 is not a movie to think about. It’s for people who want familiar characters, lots of cool stunts, and a few jokes tossed in for good measure. On that front, this delivers. The WTF quotient is incredibly high. But that’s par for the course. This series has never involved sense. Fast Five‘s dragging a cumbersome bank vault through the streets of Rio at high speed is more an affront to physics than anything in this production. Still 6 pushes the envelope once again and tries to outdo that ridiculousness. The most explosive spectacle has our team zooming down an airplane runway on a jeep chasing an Antonov An-124, a massive Russian airplane, at over 100mph for about 15 minutes. don’t think too hard, but yeah that would make the runway at least 25 miles long. Of course none of this will matter to steadfast fans. It’s one of those films whose adherents decry such critiques with “Quiet! Your intellectualization is my buzzkill!!”

The narrative has been structured in such a way that the action sequences are the film. In between we get a lot of blah-blah-blah that is a comparative bore to endure until the next assault, These vehicular feats have continued to explode with each successive entry in a seemingly never-ending pursuit to top the last. Physics be damned! Applying logic or sense to any of these pictures is kind of irrelevant but the characters should at least involve our concern. Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) cannot die. We’re never even remotely worried our hero could be finished. At one point Letty is flung off a tank, Dom leaps, no FLIES through the sky, catches her in mid air then travels to the safety of a second moving car. It’s a display that looks more like CGI than actual stunt work but it also creates a problem. His ability to cheat death kind of removes any tension you might feel. We should be on the on the edge of our seat but we’re no longer concerned. It just feels like routine now. A formula that eschews sophistication in the name of “mindless entertainment.” Should we cheer? My theater did. Most loudly at the end when the entire production builds to the reveal of yet another character – a certain shaved head action star. It’s as if to say, this was all just a tease to the real movie. Now go watch Fast & Furious 7…in 3D no doubt.

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35 Responses to “Fast & Furious 6”

  1. Fast and Furious 6…The movie where the heroes walk away from life-ending car crashes without a scratch. Very entertaining though. Nice review.

  2. Think you’re being a little harsh on the movie, but overall accurate that it’s more like a place-holder for Fast & Furious 7. Not as good as Fast Five, which was the peak of this series so far, but one that, as a fan of this series since the first one was released, I enjoyed as much nonetheless, even if it is the most convenience fill episode in the series. My review: http://wp.me/p1LZxf-18E

    • You think I’m being harsh because you enjoyed it more but I actually think I was being overly generous. It’s not a film I will remember at the end of the year. I can barely remember Fast 5 for example. Acceptable action fare, nothing more nothing less.

      • Possibly, but saying that, i hugely enjoyed Fast Five and consider it the jewel of this series. It was the movie that made a lot of people who dismissed the series altogether reconsider. While the sixth doesn’t do that, it is a fun follow up.

      • I love how people forget how much they loved the first one. Now it’s like they write off the entire series until 5. The 2001 original, which is still my favorite, was a huge hit for its time.

      • True, and I do love the first one, but it’s dated poorly, and at the time it was a complete rip-off of Point Break.

      • I have a very special place in my heart for Point Break. Ah memories!

      • Same here, among my favourite movies.

  3. Great review Mark! The climax of the action was so insane I even spaced out a few moments myself and simply marveled at how long it was taking the giant cargo plane to gain any altitude whatsoever. . . . how convenient. 🙂 Still, having missed a good chunk of the recent F&F movies (I think the last one I saw was 2Fast, 2Furious) this one was quite acceptable to me and remained fairly riveting despite the characters still being predictable as all hell. You’ve covered a lot of good points here. No idea how I’m going to review this now lol

    • I’d agree if you divide each chapter into best and worst , this is is in the better half. I guess a certain amount of series fatigue sets in by the sixth entry. For fans of the series.

  4. People think I’m crazy for not having seen a single Fast & Furious movie lol. I might at some point, it’s just not a priority for me, and your review confirms that. Thanks.

    • If you do, start with the original first. It lays the groundwork for everything that follows.

      • Okay thanks. I’ll do so. I’m pretty OCD about doing that with movies anyway hahah.

        Was Fast and Furious originally a 1950s Steve McQueen flick, or is that one similar only in name? (and that it has cars)

      • Steve Mc Queen raced cars as a hobby. He was in Bullitt that had a very famous car chase in it. There’s Le Mans which was about car racing and then there’s The Getaway. Other than that, I’m not sure to what you could mean.

      • Huh. I thought he’d done a whole career of car chase-type movies. But what I meant was, I thought I came across a 1950s “Fast and Furious” movie in either the Leonard Maltin or Videohound movie guide. I’ll look it up on Wikipedia.

      • Aha!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fast_and_the_Furious_(1955_film)

        1955, The Fast and the Furious. No Steve McQueen, but it is a Roger Corman film, so I guess that should be more than obvious to me.

        Wikipedia says:
        “The plot of the film was used again in The Chase starring Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson.
        The rights to the film’s title (but not the story rights) were purchased and became the title of the 2001 film The Fast and the Furious.”

      • Interesting. How odd that Roger Corman was able to trademark an idiom “fast and furious” that existed well before 1955. Like trademarking the phrase “happy go lucky” so anyone wanting to use that phrase would have to pay Mike Leigh for the rights.

      • Well he is Roger Corman. 🙂

  5. LOL the whole thing is absolutely ludicrous. but i just can’t turn away.

  6. You get what you get with these types of movies. All characters have superpowers. If you can accept that, then the story doesn’t really matter. I just enjoyed it for the fun. And yes, after the final scene, I will be seeing part 7. 4 stars.

  7. Good review! It is not the best Fast and Furious movie but still fun! Everything you want from the series. I am not sure about the next one though. ( the last 3 minutes spoiled it for me. I was shocked…..)

  8. Although I really enjoyed the film, I couldn’t help but wonder why Vin Diesel wasn’t in a wheelchair for the rest of the movie after a certain…part..that I can’t say due to spoilers 😀

    (for anyone interested, here’s a link to my review of F&F6: http://papakennmedia.com/2013/05/fast-furious-6-mini-movie-review/)

    • Even before I watched your review I was thinking the same thing about The Rock and his ability to put his arms at his sides. Buddy! There’s a limit to working out. You went too far!! LOL

  9. I had such a great time watching this, just when I thought it couldn’t get more crazier it did. And that final scene in Tokyo? It brought a big smile on my face knowing “he” will be in the next movie!

  10. I’d probably give it the same rating as you. It was ridiculous, but a lot of fun.

  11. Just brash, dumb, but highly entertaining fun. I’ve found something to like in them all, but the last two stand as some of the best actions in recent years imo, for better and worse.

    But like you said, even though they have cast a wider audience net with the shift, a viewer won’t feel attached to some of the more heartfelt moments if substantial time wasn’t spent with the series before. I like those moments a lot, but then again I enjoy the series as a whole and am familiar with the characters. Great review.

    • I am so impressed with how this series has gotten more popular with each successive entry. That usually isn’t the case with sequels. Fast & Furious 6 is the highest grossing one of all, even when adjusting for inflation. Incredible.

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