FAST & FURIOUS 6
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
MAY 23, 2013
Had you told me twelve years ago that “The Fast and the Furious” would be one of the highest-grossing action franchises, let alone still going, I may not have believed you? Not that I didn’t have faith in the future of the characters or the story, but it’s just such a surprise, and when “Fast Five” came out in 2011, even the studio was surprised at its success.
What’s keeping this franchise alive is reuniting the characters, who are all different in their ways, and play off each other’s chemistry impressively. Lose Vin Diesel or Paul Walker, and the films falter slightly. But bringing everyone back in an “Ocean’s 11” fashion is brilliant and can be attributed to most of the success of “Fast Five” and, now, “Fast & Furious 6”.
The team’s back together this time, reunited by Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), the man who hunted them in the last film. He needs them to take down a group of international terrorists, not much different than Dom (Diesel) and his crew. It’s even alluded to that this new group of criminals are the evil counterparts of Dom’s team. Why would Dom help Hobbs? Because, as we learned from the after-credits sequence in “Fast Five,” Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) has been photographed with this group… still alive and still living a life of crime. Dom reunites the team to stop this group from getting their hands on a powerful military weapon.
Several factors set this film apart from its predecessors. Brian is a father now, so there’s much more to lose, though you wouldn’t know it with all the action-packed stunts that he still partakes in. Luke Evans is a fantastic villain, with the look and feel of a genuine notorious mad man. He brings a different dynamic to his role that makes him dangerous and powerful, with no remorse. There are hardly any weak characters, with the supporting roles filled with well-known and established counterparts. The only new introduction is Hobbs’ recruit, played by Gina Carano (“Haywire”), who blends right in and has one of the best female throwdowns I’ve ever witnessed in an action film.
As much as I enjoyed this film, the entertainment value comes from being a brute and punchy action film that knows what it is and runs with it. It’s over-the-top, it’s sometimes ridiculous, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything that it’s not. The dialogue is exposition only, with the filler consisting of heavy one-liners and suggestions about honor and tactics. Some of the action sequences are entirely unbelievable, defying psychics and logic more so here than in any other film. These include Dom’s massive leap of faith to save Letty from a military tank crash and the immediate change of heart and the screwed-up motives of Hobbs in a make-or-break moment towards the end. The eventual bringing down of a significant aircraft, while a car bursts through the nose of the plane. However, you can forgive most of these death-defying and illogical instances by knowing what to expect stepping in.
With yet another post-credits sequence that finally catches this film up with “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” we are eventually led to Han’s future and treated to an introduction that changes our perception of this event. With this, I’m excited for “Fast & Furious 7” more than I have been for any other of the franchises, introducing a much bigger name and prevalent villain than any of the other series could imagine, as well as almost combining this franchise with a similar one. Also, with Han’s future explained more clearly, we are slightly less emotionally distraught about the loss we endure during “Fast & Furious 6”. There are very few moments in any action film where you feel the moment of perfection, but experiencing this during a post-credits sequence provides a rush twelve years in the making where you say, “it couldn’t get any better than this.”
Retroactively, my interest in this franchise has grown phenomenally, to the point where the latest two films have caused me to respect the original four much more immensely. Whether it’s aware of it or not, the “Fast and the Furious” franchise succeeds on the back of chemistry and relationships, with most of the success attributed to returning familiar characters. With the landscape changed for the next film, which promises to be completely different than anything we’ve expected yet, the success of these films will only continue to grow. How many other franchises can say that after six films in twelve years? Although we haven’t heard whether “Fast & Furious 7” will be the end of the series, I have a feeling that as long as the main cast is willing to return, even if this cast of characters takes a break, there is a long and hefty future in store for everyone involved.
May 24, 2013
by Gary Scott Thompson
(for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language)
Stephen F. Windon
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges
Neal H. Moritz