Fast & Furious 6

Posted: May 31, 2013 in Film reviews

Directed by Justin Lin. Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson.

And so the sixth instalment of the franchise rolls into town. The Fast and the Furious started life as a thriller about undercover cops and street racing but has morphed into an action blockbuster franchise, with the fifth instalment taking the series into overdrive and making a ton of money into the process, whilst bringing together disparate characters from the previous films, as well as introducing new ones such as Johnson’s secret service agent, Hobbs. For someone like me, who’d only ever seen the first film, the fifth proved a revelation, some dodgy cgi aside it was a fun, exciting action film, and so I was looking forward to the sixth.

Question is does it fire on all cylinders or stall at the first junction?

The film picks up from the end of the fifth, and Dominic (Diesel) Toretto’s gang of high speed criminals are living the high life on the proceeds of the mammoth heist they pulled at the end of the last film. They don’t get much time to relax however, because all too soon Hobbs is asking for Toretto’s help in taking down a British mercenary named Shaw who has his own crew of drivers and who is stealing the components of a bomb (or some other dangerous device, I can’t quite remember the details!) Hobbs is pretty sure Toretto will agree, especially once he shows him evidence that one of Shaw’s team is Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) who was Toretto’s girl, and who (supposedly)died in Fast and furious 4. Toretto is surprised at this, unlike those of us who saw Fast Five as this fact was revealed in the post credits sequence!

Hobbs’ hunch was spot on, and Toretto has no hesitation in joining Hobbs’ hunt for Shaw, and though he says he doesn’t want the others to join him, well they aren’t about to let him do this alone, not when they’re a family (albeit a dysfunctional, criminal family) and not when the script demands it.

Next thing you know the entire crew have decamped to London, but can they take down Shaw and rescue Letty, and does Letty even want to be rescued?

Ok, cards on the table time here. Fast and Furious 6 is not going to be winning many best picture awards but, if you’re in the right frame of mind it’s a very enjoyable film. Yes it’s somewhat predictable, and yes the formula is fairly obvious. Hunky guys + sexy girls+ fast cars + explosions + witty banter = $$$, but breaking it down to those terms does the film a disservice, because frankly plenty of films in the last few years have had the same ingredients and produced flat, tasteless soufflés. Fast and Furious 6 may be mere candy floss, but it’s quite tasty candy floss, and is certainly the most enjoyable non-super hero action film I’ve seen this year, way better than Die Hard 5 or Olympus has Fallen.

None of the cast are great actors, but then they don’t need to be for a film like this; Diesel, and especially Johnson, have the kind of screen presence plenty of ‘real’ actors would probably kill for, even if the man formally known as The Rock does seem a bit too pumped up. The rest of the cast are solid, although Rodriguez’s conflicted expression that she wears for much of the film gets a little tiresome, still she and newcomer Gina Carano prove they’re more than just pretty faces, with a couple of bone crunching fights every bit as exciting as those between the male characters. Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges again form an amusing double act, and given the large number of characters everyone gets their moment or two in the spotlight, although Shaw is a fairly generic villain with a curiously oblique agenda.

Because much of the action is set in London, the film may annoy a lot of British viewers with a somewhat skewed portrayal of life in the capital. Apparently you can drive around the city at 100mph, all the CCTV cameras in the city are run from one office, and though British gun laws are very strict apparently the average pawnshop is still licensed to sell firearms!

The other downside to the film is the fact that we’d already seen so much of it. The trailer features part of the climax, and I’d already seen the bit on the Spanish motorway where they race with a…(well just in case you haven’t seen it I won’t spoil it) before another film just a few weeks before. It is a shame Hollywood are stooping to such tactics, there’s plenty of exciting scenes they could have shown that wouldn’t give so much away.

But despite this I liked the film. It won’t appeal to everyone, but like the A-Team a likeable cast and a fast pace cover a multitude of sins, aside from a few leaden ‘contemplative’ scenes in the middle where Diesel and co struggle to expand their range. Plus either their cgi has got better, or this film featured more real driving, which is to be applauded either way.

Oh, and don’t leave when the credits start to roll, because just as with Fast Five there’s a sneak peek at what FF7 will involve, and crikey it’s a heck of a reveal, which means FF7 might even end up more exciting than this one…

So, my final Top Gear review; FF6 is like an American muscle car, not built for long comfortable journeys, and with lousy fuel economy, but boy it looks cool…

  1. Gor-dan says:

    Fack yeah, don’t leave when the credits start to roll!

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