5/30/2013 - Vroom vroom, errrk, vroom vroom (higher gear), errk, flip, roll roll roll, crash! — in Fast & Furious 6, a movie in which “cars go fast and stuff blows up.”
That is essentially how my stepson described the movie and if you’ve seen even one of these movies you know that that is exactly what happens. That and a lot of Vin Diesel in muscle shirts — he is, perhaps, allergic to sleeves?
Dominic Toretto (Diesel), former L.A. car thief and street racer, and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), former FBI agent, are lying low in some tropical country after a heist in Rio in the last movie, which is memorable mostly for featuring The Rock as a federal agent and for a fight scene between The Rock and Diesel that could launch some pretty NSFW-y fan fiction. Though Brian’s wife Mia (Jordana Brewster) — who is also Dom’s sister — has just had a baby and Brian planned to forever give up the life, Brian agrees to join Dom in getting the gang back together when Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) comes asking them to do a job for him. Seems international criminal Shaw (Luke Evans) — who, helpfully to the plot, conducts most of his crime using various vehicles — is looking to put together some terrifying weapon (let’s call it the McGuffinator) and only top-tier car thieves like Dom and his crew can match their skills. Hobbs agrees to get the whole crew — including Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Han (Sung Kang), his girlfriend Gisele (Gal Gadot) and Tej (Chris Ludacris Bridges) — freshly cleaned records and total amnesty if they stop Shaw and help bring him to justice. Of course, that’s not the only reason Dom and Co. agree to help Hobbs; after all, in the last movie they walked away with millions of dollars each and they can enjoy a comfortable life in whatever country won’t extradite them. Hobbs also shows them photos that prove that Shaw’s crew includes Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Dom’s girlfriend who died in, I think, the fourth Fast & Furious movie (which was called just “Fast & Furious”). (Side note: the last movie was Fast 5 and the title cards of this movie lingered on Furious 6, which I kinda like and think they should have pushed. It captures the big, loud action comic book nature of this movie.) The Furious 6 head to London and then to Spain, hunting Shaw down with help from Hobbs and his partner Riley (Gina Carano — the MMA fighter who was so much fun in Haywire).
Fast & Furious 6 is two hours and 10 minutes long — probably 30 to 50 minutes longer than it needed to be. After the climactic battle there is another climactic battle, and while both were cool, I did feel that maybe they could have just worked elements from each into one big improbable, explosion-filled chase scene. (Or, if two big climactic battles, after a movie featuring at least two, maybe three, other big chases, are so important, I’m sure there are plenty of inaction scenes that could have been cut. In a movie like this, any scene where nobody gets punched and nothing explodes is pretty much filler.)
And that, for the most part, represents the total of my criticisms of this movie. What, am I supposed to nit-pick the dialogue? Were we expecting David Mamet? Sure, Diesel only occasionally delivers his lines in a way that would pass for normal speech, there isn’t really a noticeable difference between the intentionally funny and unintentionally funny parts of the screenplay and a lot of what people say feels like a place-holder for a catch phrase to be named later. But none of that really gets in the way of what you are there to see, which is cars going fast (and doing physics-defying things) and stuff exploding. And while Paul Walker might feel a bit like a poor man’s Channing Tatum and you get the sense that most of the stage direction for the female characters is something like “OK, in this scene you’re going to walk over there and be hot,” the explosions always hit their mark and the cars speed and zig-zag and fly with ballet-like precision.
The final scene of Fast & Furious 6 sets up the inevitable seventh entry in this loud, plucky franchise. Sure, it will be silly and very similar in plot to its predecessors, but I will very happily be there to see it. B
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language. Directed by Justin Lin and written by Chris Morgan, Fast & Furious 6 is two hours and 10 minutes long and distributed by Universal Pictures.