Runtime: 2 HR 10 MIN
Director: Justin Lin
Writers: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Ludacris, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Gina Carano, Shea Whigham, John Ortiz, Jason Statham
Who would have thought that twelve years after the release of The Fast and the Furious there would be a sixth film and that the franchise would change from a street racing version of Point Break to something more in line with Ocean’s 11 in cars? I never would have especially after some early sequel missteps. Nevertheless here we are and the results are just as mixed as usual but that’s not entirely a bad thing.
Upon learning that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) may still be alive Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner get their team back to together to take down a dangerous new team of drivers attacking military convoys. With the assistance of DSS agent Hobbs and a lot of fast cars they aim to rescue Letty and stop a valuable piece of military technology from falling into the wrong hands.
For better or worse Fast and Furious 6 is business usual when compared to the fourth and fifth films. The street racing aspect of the franchise is barely touched upon anymore as the focus has shifted to a more heist driven team format. That change has taken the series that was cemented in a somewhat douchebag filled culture to something equally preposterous but all together more tolerable if not enjoyable. There’s just not as much shame and stigma attached to liking today’s Fast and Furious films as there was in the early 2000’s.
If you’ve disliked the previous films nothing about Fast and Furious 6 is likely to change your opinion. In fact, this film may drive your opinion even lower for a number of different reasons including it being even more sensationalized to the point of becoming really silly. For instance, there’s a laugh out loud moment when you might be tempted to double check your ticket stub to make sure you’re not in a Superman movie and then there’s the finale that makes Die Hard 2: Die Harder seem completely plausible.
Dialogue is playful yet still wooden but it never feels out of place. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne Johnson all seem comfortable with sharing the limelight. The rest of the cast appears to be equally comfortable with the breadcrumbs their given and make the most of the remaining screentime they almost always are forced to share. Luke Evans is a more engaging villain than Fast Five’s Joaquim de Almeida but that doesn’t keep him from coming off as a second rate James Bond villain at times.
Justin Lin returns to the director’s chair for the fourth straight installment and while he’s not a household name he’s a competent action director who knows the franchise and audience well. Fast 6’s problems stem more from its writing than its direction. Like Lin, screenwriter Chris Morgan returns for his fourth film but seems to have forgotten that while the Fast and Furious audience may be gullible it’s not completely stupid. He manages to write Michelle Rodriguez back into the story in a predictable but semi-believable way (by this franchise’s standards) but whiffs several times on not writing completely laughable actions set pieces. I can’t deny enjoying the complete ludicrousness of Fast 6 at times but it wasn’t always enjoyed in the manner I imagine it was intended.
Even with five or six action sequences the film feels a sequence short. Two of the aforementioned set pieces flirted if not completely went to bed with outrageousness and while I laughably enjoyed both scenes perhaps they could have added an additional action sequence in lieu of the craziness they decided to shoot. It’s not a major quibble but it’s one of the bigger issues keeping this film from eclipsing its predecessor.
Fast and Furious 6 isn’t a thinking man’s film, it’s quite the opposite in fact. That however shouldn’t stop anyone that enjoys a little bit of mindless summer entertainment filled with car chases, awesomely bad dialogue and an overload of testosterone from having a hell of a good time. With that said I wouldn’t mind if the screenwriter of the upcoming seventh film took a small reality pill before putting pen to paper.