If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a Fast and Furious movie, I will use the beginning of this article to remind you again – don’t come to the series expecting cohesive plots, well acted roles, well-crafted dialogue, or anything of that nature. Being a member of the action film genre, F&F has rarely, if ever, been about that, and watching Fast Six – the latest in the series – with any of these things in mind will pretty much guarantee your disappointment.
Got that yet? Good.
What you can expect from these films, though, is a nitrous boost of adrenaline to your system, a myriad of fantastically unaffordable cars being totaled, and of course, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker as the wheels that drive the narrative. Having watched it at the first possible opportunity I got, I am happy to tell you that Fast Six meets all of these expectations entirely, even if the road is occasionally riddled by plot holes. It’s well worth your two hours, if you’re looking to spend them being mesmerized by car chases and things of that nature.
[Among those aforementioned plotholes, though: Who foots the bill for the destruction Diesel and company cause?! Why didn’t Fenix just kill Letty in Fast and Furious? And more importantly, none of these guys – except Paul Walker’s character – has even been seen on screen WITH Letty!! There’s no reason for us to believe that Sung Kang and the others care that much about her!! Granted, the pardons and the payment could serve as explanations for their reunion, but overall, the whole thing is mishandled, and turns into nothing more than a flaming wreck of character motivations. And finally, how does Dom Torretto walk – not limp, but WALK – away from some of these crashes!?! The world would be a lot safer if car frames were reinforced by whatever his body seems to be made of.]
Okay, let’s move on.
As the series has continued – and remember, this is now the sixth film, with more coming – the minds behind F&F have gotten progressively better at writing toward each star’s strengths, and Fast Six stands as the best example of this, placing everyone in a position to succeed within the film’s boundaries. By now, we are pretty familiar with the fact that Vin Diesel and Paul Walker have limited mobility as actors, and [thankfully] aren’t asked to shift any gears beyond looking menacing and giving speeches about the family. Still, they are serviceable in that capacity, as always – relatively generic action stars who are supposed to double as eye candy. I am considerably more impressed with Tyrese, Ludacris and The Rock, each of whom are quite funny and tow along the bulk of the film’s humor.
The Rock, in particular, shows well, that bulletproof vest wearing, poon-tang pie eating, one-liner spitting, son of a bitch. It has been written before, but it’s worth saying again – the F&F series has benefited immensely from signing on the People’s Champion, with its two best incarnations – Five and Six – coming after his addition. He just has an irresistable charismatic force about him, even when he plays straight-faced law enforcers like Hobbs. [Other note: he plays basically the same dude as in G.I. Joe, and while he too, is a limited actor, he is far more charming and funny than either Diesel or Walker. So there’s that.]
And yes, everything checks out visually, too. Like any well-maintained car, Fast Six is spotless and sparkling. It has a couple problems underneath the hood, to be sure, but you’ll be so caught up in the ride that you won’t catch them unless you’re looking.
I do also want to call mention to the fact that this is the first time in the F&F series that the crew has legitimately felt outmatched, a subtle move that pays dividends overall. Yes, in Tokyo Drift, Lucas Black’s character initially loses to DK, and yes, the Torretto clan has lost various members in firefights and things of that nature. This faceoff with former military man Owen Shaw kicks the threat level into overdrive – so much in contrast to previous Fasts that Tyrese feels the need to remind filmgoers and friends alike that “this is not what we do”. But the film really is better off for it – for too long, the crew was built up to be pretty much unbeatable, and with the series aiming for larger and larger stakes, it is good to know that they aren’t invincible. [Any successful action movie needs a credible threat, and unlike most of its brethren, Fast Six has that.]
In short, though, it’s fun. It’s fast. It’s furious. And if that’s what you’re looking for, then buckle up.
[Remember to stay after the credits, too.]