PM Movie Reviews: Fast & Furious 6
The Fast and the Furious franchise, which used to be about street racing and cops and robbers, changed the formula up in 2011 with Fast Five. Still the best of the series, Fast Five succeeded in being a full-bore action thriller that refreshed the series and brought two of this generations biggest action stars in Vin Diesel and The Rock, head to head.
It was fresh and it was still fast. Fast & Furious 6 is stale and sluggish by comparison. It’s also much too long, even if it’s the same length as Fast Five at 130 minutes.
Furious 6 is weighed down by too much baggage as it attempts to address the bombshell set off in the mid-credits scene in Fast Five, that Michelle Rodriguez’s character, Letty, is still alive, presumed to have been killed in the fourth film. The movie deals with too much of the past, in a somewhat commendable attempt to lend more depth to the series, not allowing itself much time to establish the villain and his team of professionals.
The premise of the movie is simple and intriguing, that The Rock’s Luke Hobbs needs Dom’s team to help take on an equally badass assortment of ruthless men and women, but it doesn’t quite get paid off in the way it should. And it’s mostly because of Letty.
Turns out she’s working for the bad guys, led by Luke Evans’ Owen Shaw, and it’s up to Diesel’s Dominic Torreto to bring the old crew back together for “one more job.” A lot of clumsily handled scenes of the crew talking to one another about things like amnesty, the future, relationships, and home, get thrown in and drag the movie down as the audience waits for the next action set piece to save the hour.
But when the action starts, it mostly blazes, especially in a spectacular finale that revels in its over-the-top craziness.
It’s just getting to the action that’s the problem, especially if you’re paying attention and analyzing things like character motivation and behavior. There are things that are just baffling in this movie that are, of course, explained away by the fact that you’re watching a Fast and the Furious movie.
Still, when NATO is deferring to a ragtag group of streetwise criminals with hearts of gold, or characters are conveniently (stupidly) merciful (in one instance they’ve got their would-be victim right in front of them, either unarmed or outnumbered and in the next they’re craving blood) well, that takes some mental compromising to get over.
It’s easier to do if you like the characters, and since Diesel is all machismo and The Rock is all bravado, the rule of cool pretty much gives these guys, and the movie, the license to do any goddamn ridiculous thing they want to do.
The guys are this generation’s Stallone and Schwarzenegger, respectively. Like if John Rambo and John Matrix teamed up (which would be amazing).
If you liked Fast Five, you’ll probably like Fast & Furious 6 enough. If not, there’s nothing in this installment that will change your mind.
P.S. There’s a mid-credits scene that helps to finally address the snag in the franchise, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in an objectively cool way (as opposed to emotionally because some characters get shafted…) that should leave viewers intrigued enough to want to see the already in pre-production Fast & Furious 7.
Let’s just say the big bad of that movie shouldn’t need much defining due to that rule of cool again (though it’d be nice).
By Jeff Le