For what it’s worth, I have to offer an apology to a franchise I could have done without few years ago. So much so that I completely skipped over TOKOYO DRIFT and have yet to catch up with it. The last confession might be a little more troubling to die hard fans with the sixth installment and where the film leaves us with its “shortly after the credits start” sequence. Still though the second film I found borderline unbearable and FAST & FURIOUS (the fourth installment) I barely even remember. The fact of the matter is that for me, the “story” these films are trying to tell are 100% inconsequential and really only lend to give the audience something to root for in the spectacular action sequences- at least when it comes to the last two films specifically.
The FAST & FURIOUS franchise has become the poster child for ridiculous action set ups and melodramatic characters in addition to be a black hole of logic. FAST & FURIOUS 6 (FURIOUS 6 according to the title card) picks up as Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is tracking down an international terrorist, Shaw (Luke Evans aka poor man’s Joseph Gordon Levitt) and his crew before they can boost an essential military component that could potentially be a global threat. Obviously Hobbs only option to stop the threat is a group of criminals he vowed to hunt down and bring to justice- and hire them he does. Toretto (Vin Diesel) has a bit more incentive than the impending pardons to complete the job, as he’s made aware that his former flame, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), happens to be working for the highly skilled international terrorists/thieves and he intends get her back- cue vehicular warfare.
I realize my rundown of the plot might sound a bit disingenuous especially if I were to tell you that I really like this movie. Honestly, if not for all the incredible action sequences I would be reporting the exact opposite- then again if you strip any action movie of its action then what the hell am I even talking about? The fact if the matter is that with FAST FIVE and FAST & FURIOUS 6 Justin Lin has embraced a winning formula for a franchise that should have been snuffed out long ago.
The script at least in terms of dialogue is more or less terrible- there are some decent jokes here and there and some semi clever moments unrelated to action, but let’s just generalize conservatively and say that the script is passively mediocre. With the exception of Sung Kang as Han, I don’t really care about any of these people in these movies and Han is underused at best. The star of these movies is the action and the action alone- granted having a parade of hot chicks and buff dudes isn’t bad from a marketing perspective.
The talking heads deliver their lines serviceably enough to set up each action sequence and from there Lin really gets to show off. The action itself is ludacris, but it just looks so damn cool- and at the base level are just exciting to watch. The key here is to just know what you’re getting into and if you’ve jumped ship before heading to see this, but still bought a ticket and didn’t like it then I’m sorry, but you got what you deserve. I can’t buy into anyone who willingly walks into this and expects a movie like FAST & FURIOUS 6 to make sense- the previous film alone sets these characters up as straight up superheroes now and this film takes that idea to a whole new level. I mean come on, one character’s phone literally refers to Hobbs as ‘Samoan Thor’ when he is calling on a cell phone- I don’t think you need any additional proof that these characters are essentially a bizzaro version of The Avengers.
FAST & FURIOUS 6 has an abundance of incredible action sequences that are as preposterous as they are epic. The climactic plane takedown depicted in the trailer is worth the price of admission and is also the prime example of the ridiculous nature of the action. The characters continue to deliver their soap opera-esque garbage on screen with the exception of Johnson who I have to admit has been a highlight for me in the last two flicks- Kang also is a highlight, but isn’t utilized as often as Johnson’s hulk-like body mass. FAST & FURIOUS 6 is the type of film that you show up to for the action, stay for the action while the rest is essentially tasteless empty calories chewing up screen time. Justin Lin’s film is the type of brainless popcorn action I can get behind because it knows how ridiculous it is and revels in it- the icing on the cake, is that it looks fantastic while doing so.
Written By: Luke (@CrummyLuke on Twitter)