Fast & Furious 6 Directed by: Justin Lin Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Luke Evans, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Gina Carano Running Time: 2 hrs 12 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: May 24, 2013
PLOT: International fugitives Dom (Diesel) and Brian (Walker) are hired by a federal agent (Johnson) to help stop a slick European man (Evans) from producing a dangerous weapon.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you like great action movies, and/or are weary of popcorn spectacles created more with computers than real life, do not miss out on the insane fun you'll have watching Fast & Furious 6. And if you loved Fast Five, seeing this movie should be a no-brainer.
EXPECTATIONS: I really loved Fast Five, and the more I think about this franchise, the more I love it overall. Thus, this didn't mean I was going in ready to love Furious 6, but that it had massive expectations to live up to. How would director Lin and co. top the safe vault finale of Fast Five?
Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto: Looking as gorilla-esque as ever, Diesel continues to find a cozy home in the Fast and Furious franchise, where he doesn't have to exert himself too much. Even while talking, he seems to be challenging himself to move his mouth as least as possible. As for his action requirements, aside from sneaky editing in a sequence when he is roughs up guys in a pawn shop, Diesel proves to be worth many a solid punch or kick, and is also a believable lunkhead behind his all-American wheel. Score: 6
Paul Walker as Brian O'Connor: Like Diesel, it's cute what Walker is trying to pull off here as an action man, but it wouldn't work in another movie. Walker needs others to make his presence special, whether it is operating opposite the now-domesticated Jordana Brewster, or sharing a scene with John Ortiz. Most of all, Walker carries nostalgia more than he does bravura, and yes, he can look believable driving a car. His origins of frosted tips are forgotten with his new role in the franchise, which is no small feat. Score: 6
Luke Evans as Shaw: Carrying his malevolence with properness, Evans proves to be a striking villain, boosted by his character's own engineering creativity. Smaller than the muscle coming his way from Toretto, Hobbs and gang, he is not meant to be an extreme physical adversary (that's saved for Shaw's henchman who is nicknamed "the muscle"). In a story in which everyone is paired with their bizarro versions (as recognized by Chris Bridges and Tyrese) Evans becomes a compelling mental adversary of a different ideologies about family. Score: 7
Rest of Cast: This isn't Pain & Gain for Dwayne Johnson, but it is a good franchise role for him, with speedy jokes, visceral muscle, and hulking action moments. Michelle Rodriguez is fine as Letty, who suffers from amnesia, a fairly clever trick that is curiously not used in other franchises who want to toy around with past characters. Chris Bridges and Tyrese Gibson bring a strong amount of legitimately funny material to the movie's essential elements of comic relief, and Gina Carano, after a killer debut in Haywire, is at home in such a franchise that aptly uses her pure fighting skills. Score: 6
TALKING: Finding humor in scenes without turning the entire movie into a joke, Furious 6 has buoyant comedy, especially from the likes of Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, and Dwayne Johnson. It is a little disconcerting to hear an authoritative Johnson address Carano as "woman," and not get his arm twisted for it in eight places because of it. Can female ass-kickers still not avoid being treated like 1950s housewives? There's also an ugly sequence in which a London car salesman racially profiles Johnson and Bridges, for no other point than a cheap uncomfortable laugh. This Fast and Furious franchise may be better behaved than the films of Michael Bay, but there's still some ugliness to these films' mentality about gender and race. Score: 6
SIGHTS: The action sequences of director Justin Lin's Fast and Furious movies are gifts to multiplex audiences who have lost that lovin' feeling of when a large action sequence has a visceral, thrilling quality. Once again, after the fantastic moments in Fast Five, Furious 6 follows up with action servings that are equal in volume, but even larger in size. It remains to be seen over time if much of Furious 6 tops Fast Five in terms of having the overall best sequences, but it let be known that this movie is another masterpiece of stunt action; amazing visual moments that turn practical stunt work into an art form, and constantly exceed the expectations of an already ballooning franchise. The summer of 2013 is practically ended prematurely by the third act. Score: 9
SOUNDS: The Fast and Furious 6 soundtrack is stacked from top to bottom with various music to accurately feel like the party that it already is, using the likes of 2 Chainz, T.I., deadmau5, and The Crystal Method. Working with such complicated sequences, there is at least one moment where the sound design glaringly can't keep up with all of the cars that are being smashed second after second. This might sound like a small complaint, but it does show imperfection in a movie that constantly strives for overall aesthetic greatness, and often achieves it. Score: 8
BEST SCENE: After an already very exciting second act, Furious 6 confirmed my extreme love for this franchise with the sequence that followed. It caused me to remember the grand potential of imagination with action figures as a little boy, but caused me to guffaw out loud "This movie is f**king awesome" like a man.
ENDING: The nutty story arc of the Fast and Furious franchise is brought to a tighter circle with a scene that explains why Han's car blew up in the middle of Tokyo Drift. As much as this moment in Furious 6 doesn't seem to visually check with how it plays out Drift, it is nonetheless the opener to a sequel that I need immediately.
QUESTIONS: So, how did that car in the beginning get stuck in the side of a building? Is Statham really the best choice for the next villain?
REWATCHABILITY: Like Fast Five, Fast and Furious, and even Tokyo Drift, this movie is definitely worth a second viewing. Nothing will top the surprise of seeing this film unravel itself, but it will be a joy to see again. This is one movie that I'd see immediately in a repeat viewing.
A franchise that has now reached turbo speed proves itself to be a top dog with its fifth sequel, an Avengers-sized bonanza of magnificent action sequences that eschew CG while reminding audiences of the art form that is stunt performing. Even adding more characters to the mix doesn't harm this franchise focused on family, but allots director Lin more opportunities to stack up fight sequences.
Keeping in heart with Lin's daredevil-like mentality of continually pushing the spectacle while staying within the realm of a preset science, this is a beautiful movie that gets big, bigger, and then it's huge, all while keeping a mindful eye for a non-manipulative left turn. The second-to-last sequence of this movie, involving a tank, is usually when most franchises would call it a day. But Fast & Furious 6 proves its ambition is like no other franchise today, and goes for one more massive action sequence afterward that provides more action brilliance, and is unlike anything I've ever seen.
As if it wasn't clear from the previous Fast Five, this franchise has grown from its origins of car porn sponsored by NOS. Frosted tips are dead, no one still really cares what Paul Walker's character's name is, but the drive for thrills is more addictive than ever. We can now trust the Fast & Furious movies for the consistently monumental spectacle no one else dares to make a reality.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10