Fast & Furious 6 Movie Review
When you heard there would be a sixth (that’s right, there are SIX of them) installment of the franchise launched by Vin Diesel and Paul Walker back in 2001, what did you think? Having seen FAST FIVE for the first time only a few months ago, I was actually excited in spite of myself. While part of me wants this series to go away, there is a bigger part that actually enjoys the mindless entertainment of fast cars, crazy stunts, unbelievable action, and great action stars at the foundation of this series’ ongoing popularity. I’m happy to say, for those of you who enjoyed FAST FIVE, this movie carries on that film’s frantic pace and ups the ante to new heights.
FAST & FURIOUS 6 finds the gang spread out around the globe. Having walked away from their last job with plenty of money to retire, they are living the good life. But there is something missing. As international fugitives, they will never be able to return to the United States – their home. So, when agent Hobbs comes to Dominic with a proposition and an opportunity to find out if the love of Dom’s life, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is still alive, Dom (Diesel) and Brian (Walker) round up the crew to bring them back into action. All they have to do is stop one of the most deadly, ruthless, brilliant ex-military criminal minds in history. In return for their efforts, Hobbs will give them their pardons, and they can go home.
They take the job but quickly realize they may be outmatched. Not only is Letty alive, but she’s the second in command of the criminal operation. Their leader, Shaw (Luke Evans of IMMORTALS, 2011), carries out each robbery with a cunning mastery. To stop this crew Dom, Brian, and Hobbs not only have to work together, they are going to have to be on their best game – and this is one of the best parts of FAST & FURIOUS 6: Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) takes more of a central role in this film than in FAST FIVE. His relationship with Dom and Brian is one of the great parts of this action thriller. Hobbs is a lawman and he could never understand why Brian chose to leave law enforcement to work with criminals, but he slowly warms to this family. Additionally, Dom and Brian’s relationship, now cemented as brothers-in-arms, is another joy to watch. Walker and Diesel both clearly enjoy each working with each other and it translates well to the screen.
FAST & FURIOUS 6 delivers action from start to finish with only a few lulls in between. Sadly, these lulls are way too long and don’t feel in line with the tone of the film. The first problem is how serious this film takes itself. The opening credits show scenes from each of the first five films as though to remind us that we are watching cinema history… but instead the montage served to remind me of all the pieces I didn’t like. Another problem can be found in Roman (Tyrese Gibson) who’s character is tired. I know he provides some of the comic relief for some audiences but there were few moments where I was happy he was on screen. Finally, filmmaker Justin Lin (who has helmed the franchise since THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT) uses several foot chases to expand the action and they are shot so poorly and shakily that they made me nauseous.
Ultimately though, even with some deficiencies, FAST & FURIOUS 6 is a great ride. Due to some poor choices (or perhaps poor studio efforts) Diesel never really became the action star he could have become. This movie is a reminder of his talent and charisma. But the real star of the film, besides the cars themselves, is The Rock. No, not Alcatraz, I’m talking about Dwayne Johnson, who has now formally dropped his pseudonym from his wrestling days. Johnson is ripped and terrifying but his delivery belies any who would call him a muscle-head. If you enjoyed the previous films in this series, this one should be a no-brainer. Likewise, if you’re a fan of great action flicks, this one may be the best of the series thus far.