Meathead action redux. Fast & Furious 6 has a few giddy and bummer surprises for those who have followed the series. But the first thing that comes to the mind are the most ridiculous, aerodynamically impossible action sequences I have ever seen. I say that in praise. The audience erupted in a crescendo of disbelieving laughs when it happened. In one, two characters are catapulted out of their cars and catch each other in midair while dodging a tank. The other one features a 15-minute jumbo jet scene with an endless, endless runway. “Fast & Furious” aren’t good movies, and yet my little boy id is revved up by them. Not all the action sequences work (jumbled jackhammer editing). I preferred the hand-to-hand combat in the London Underground train station over some of the street racing. At best, I liked The Rock and newcomer to the franchise Gina Carano who outside of movies is a mixed martial arts champion, and a babe.
Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel, primo boss) promises to Brian (Paul Walker) that they are going to stick to straight retirement. “After you go into that room, our old life is done,” Toretto tells Brian, while his wife is in labor with their first child. Two scenes later the crew is back (!), including Ludacris, Sung Kang and Gal Gadot. But eyes on the headliner. This used to be as much Paul Walker’s series as it was Vin Diesel’s series. Barely relevant, Walker is now taking a backseat in this series.
This time Diesel & Company has been summoned by The Rock’s FBI agent and colleague Carano to take down the gnarliest larceny crew in London. In return, these expatriates will receive pardons by the U.S. government for past illegal deeds. The bad guy of London is Shaw (Luke Evans, because I assume Vincent Cassell was busy). Letty (Michelle Rodriguez, pic right), presumed dead in the fourth “F&F,” is alive and working for Shaw. She has amnesia (!), tapping a heartfelt subplot of Toretto trying to retrigger memories for the life they once shared together. If you can’t come up with the right words, then ahem, do a drag race to express your feelings.
Tyrese Gibson has a great line that sums up the good crew versus bad crew, saying, “It’s like we’re hunting our evil twins.” What makes Shaw slimy is his dismissive attitude towards his fallen crew members. Shaw speaks in an elitist snob-British accent, but otherwise, he’s not that intriguing of a villain, not even as intriguing as some of the crew members (Shaw’s most badass accessory though is his Batmobile-like “flip car”). But you know which villain is most intriguing? The villain for the upcoming “Fast & Furious 7,” because he gets a teaser at the end credits. It already looks like the best “Fast & Furious” movie ever.
For mindless fun, this franchise cranks out enough cheap laughter and over-the-top action uninhibitedly. I wish its director, the capable Justin Lin, would cease with the excess razor-sharp cutting. He took over the series with “Tokyo Drift” which had some smooth editing and camera-gliding action (That time, the cast of characters stunk. Otherwise good craftsmanship). Now that “Part VII” is guaranteed a great villain (count on a capricious Limey accent), all it needs is tighter craftsmanship and comprehensible lighting to one-up the standard of this junky, but boisterous franchise.
130 Minutes. Rated PG-13.
Film Cousins: “The Fast and the Furious” (2001); “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” (2006); “Fast & Furious” (2009); “Fast Five” (2011).