Review

Speed freaks - Fast & Furious 6 review

Click on the 'Play' button above to watch the trailer for Fast & Furious 6.
 

By Simon Miraudo

June 6, 2013
(Republished October 1, 2013)
 

You don’t necessarily go to the sixth instalment of a franchise for originality, though it’s always appreciated when they throw in something new. The Fast and Furious saga has survived – and thrived! – thus far thanks to some purely cosmetic enhancements; adding a Tyrese or a Dwayne Johnson, subtracting all instances of ‘the’ from the title, et cetera.  It’s a marvel that it doesn’t more closely resemble a mangled mess as we reach the most recent entry. With this many face-lifts, it should be as unrecognisable and unreliable as Michael Jackson’s nose. (Too soon? Surely not.)

 

Instead, Fast & Furious 6 is unequivocally the best of the lot. Director Justin Lin has a firm understanding of what the fans want – nay, need - whilst also setting his feature on the right side of self-parody. I’ll also compliment it on delivering something that’s rare for any film, let alone the sixth in a series: it does things on screen that I’ve never seen before. Like I said, it’s appreciated.

 

When Fast Five drew to a close – following its only redeeming sequence: a nutso bank heist, resulting in a giant safe being dragged across the streets of Rio de Janeiro – our heroes were enjoying their riches around the globe. Furious 6 – as it shall hereupon be referred – begins with Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) raising their baby bub in the Canary Islands, with Uncle Dominic (Vin Diesel) close by. Yet, their restless hearts beat ever harder. (I’m trying very hard to make this sound poetic, and I’d like to apologise for that.)

 

Fast and Furious 6

Brian yearns to take his wife and son back to Los Angeles; Dom can’t stop chasing his late girlfriend Letty’s ghost (Michelle Rodriguez). It’s a godsend, then, when dogged federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) turns up on their doorstep, not with an arrest warrant, but a plea for help. For some reason, their crew is the only one that can stop international terrorist Shaw (Luke Evans) from doing something or other. Why should Dom and company risk their lives to help the man that tried to put them all behind bars? Well, you’ll never guess which not-so-dead ex of Dom’s is now part of Shaw’s team…

 

So that’s the plot, courtesy of series scripter Chris Morgan, and I suppose it gives our characters motivation enough to assemble once more. Just in case its logic should collapse upon itself, let us never speak of it again. Not so when it comes to the action sequences, the audaciousness of which should be shouted from the rooftops. Lin achieves numerous times throughout Furious 6’s – admittedly, overblown – running time the kind of logistical lunacy seen only in Fast Five’s cacophonous climax.

 

It’d be a shame to spoil the most outrageous set pieces. Words fail to do their ridiculousness justice. I was legitimately awed by some of his orchestrations, which not only involve fast cars and lots of them, but also a tank, a cargo plane, and MMA fighter Gina Carano (another welcome addition to this ever-expanding cast, carrying on her fine action work from Haywire).

 

Fast and Furious 6

Perhaps not all that much has changed from the previous flicks. Maybe my brain cells have simply devolved on account of prolonged exposure to Diesel's drawl. I even found myself chuckling at the back-and-forth between the gang members played by Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges (come on Luda, who are you fooling?), and Sung Kang, which is most certainly a first for me.  The cast is hardly comprised of actors I look forward to spending time with – save for Johnson – yet as a collective they’ve at least proven they’re well suited to this particular universe.

 

By almost any metric with which we measure a motion picture’s quality, Furious 6 falls short. Yet, with the rolling of each subsequent sequel’s credits, we care about the characters that little bit more, and must admire the escalation of its extravagant set pieces. Justin Lin has turned vehicular carnage into a fine art. Well, maybe ‘fine art’ is too fancy a tribute. He crashes cars good, and that is all this movie needs to deliver to be deemed a success. One issue lingers, however: it's hard to invest in Dom's undying love for Letty when it's so clear he's meant to be with Hobbs. Something to look forward to in Fast Seven?

 

3.5 Stars

Check out Simon Miraudo's other reviews here.

 

Fast & Furious 6 will be available on Quickflix from October 3, 2013.