FAST & FURIOUS 6
By Gary 'Speed Racer' Murray
Starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson
Written by Chris Morgan
Directed by Justin Lin
Running time 130 min
MPAA Rating PG-13
Selig Film Rating Matinee
It is shocking that Fast & Furious has made it through six incarnations. A film series just does not survive that many adventures. The original 2001 film was a major US box office hit that also did massive business in both overseas markets and on video. Each installment has had different flourishes but they all kept the same basic formula.
That formula is simple, sexy cars and sexy women. After the misfire of Tokyo Drift, the series truly found its footing back with Fast 5, easily the best thrill ride of the series. It stuck to the formula in the most basic terms. It was a simple series of stunts that was tied together on a threadbare plot. Fast and Furious 6 keeps that same genre excitement while adding to the mythology of the characters.
The story takes place not long after the events from the last flick. All the guys are spread around the world living the high life and enjoying fast cars. It seems that they have settled down with Brian (Paul Walker) in a villa with his bride and young son. Dominic (Vin Diesel) has hooked up with a stunner but still his heart pines for his lost love Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). She was left for dead in an earlier installment.
On the other side of the plot, a giant heist happens in Russia. Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is tasked with bringing down the criminals and all signs point to Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). He is a former Special Ops guy who has assembled his own fast racing crew of gangsters. Call it a mirror world of the Fast & Furious gang. While Hobbs is looking at the crime footage, he can see that Letty is a part of the gang.
Dominic must find out what is going on with the ‘thought to be dead’ Letty and decides to get the gang back together. The enticement for the others is a full pardon. The good gang figures out that the bad gang is in London. The bad gang is after a military device that can disable power. But, truly it is a McGuffin—the thing the spies are after. The entire story is just an excuse to have fast moving stunt sequences. There are twists and turns that keep the plot going but the entire film is more like laundry drying in the dryer. It is just element tossed around and around.
The real stars of Fast & Furious are the cars. This episode is full of speeding wheels and scantly clad girls dancing around the turbo-charged machines. The true characters in these movies have four wheels and massive horsepower. There are some major chase sequences throughout Fast & Furious 6 that builds to a major action sequence between military vehicles. Eventually, the cars are on chase in what may be the longest airplane runway in recorded history. The entire film is over the top and asinine but in a fun way.
It does not require much acting prowess to make a film of this kind but the principles are comfortable with their roles, especially Vin Diesel. He has made a career using his brawn over any acting talents. He looks cool behind a car and that is basically all the role requires. The less he tries to act, the better he looks. Paul Walker is in the movie to smile and not do much more.
Dwayne Johnson seems to be in about every movie in 2013. The former WWE star has a good half dozen roles this year. Here he is required more to be a solid wall of flesh than a character. He is a good fit with the rest of the cast bringing his patented smirk to the proceedings.
Fast & Furious 6 is a decent installment but not a ground breaking motion picture experience but it is a fine time at the movies. It is definitely for a particular audience and delivers on that ‘popcorn chewing’ silly level.
If I had to rank this episode, I’d put Fast & Furious 6 the third best episode of the series. The original film is the best of the series and Fast 5 a solid runner-up. But, the teaser at the end of the film lets everyone know there will be a Fast 7. The surprise tag ending had everyone in the audience cheering.