Review – Fast & Furious 6

Fast & Furious Six Poster

Twelve years ago, a movie about a bunch of street racers opened to mediocre reviews and a decent box office.  Now one of the more consistent franchises, The Fast and the Furious number six is opening with a seventh already on its way.  Leaving it’s racing roots mostly in the dust, the franchise has steadily become more of an action heist actioner.  Fast & Furious 6 continues in that direction, having more in common with The Italian Job and any number of action-packed Die Hard copycats than anything else.

Series regulars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese GibsonLudacris, Sung Kang, and (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen Fast FiveMichelle Rodriguez.  Dwayne Johnson is here for a second go-round and MMA fighter Gina Carano, and Welsh actor Luke Evans join the cast.

Continuing from where the last film left off, special agent Hobbs (Johnson) has discovered that Letty (Rodriguez) is not dead as had been previously thought and is, apparently, involved in a highly sophisticated ring of criminals who are responsible for taking down a Russian military convoy.  Led by Owen Shaw (Evans), this crew of deadly drivers is Hobbs’ top priority and taking them down means putting together a top crew of his own.  Now I wonder where he’d find a group like that.

The Fast Family is in retirement, all living off the grid and off their previously obtained riches.  Some have settled down, while others are flaunting their wealth and having fun.  When they’re all called together again, though, they go.  Since that’s what you do for your family.  In exchange for the promise of full pardons from their previous lives, the whole crew is off to London to take out Shaw and get Letty back.

The movie opens with the petal to the metal, switches into high gear, and never slows down.  Sorry – had to be said.  Seriously though, this movie has too speeds.  Fast, and faster.  Fully committed to being an audacious action movie, Furious Six leaves logic in its dust as the laws of physics fly out the open windows.  And that’s a good thing.  This movie knows what it is – one ridiculous stunt after another, most of which border on the ludicrously impossible.  At least none of them involve dragging a giant safe through the streets whose mass seems to change every few seconds.

The plot is about as simple as it gets.  We are given the setup and watch it play out in glorious blockbuster fashion.  Even though it’s pretty thin on story, we get some surprisingly emotional moments, as well as one or two pretty shocking twists that you probably won’t see coming.  The car chases have never been more ridiculous and the hand to hand combat scenes are beautifully choreographed and a lot of fun to watch – especially any of them involving The Rock or Carano.  You know, the professional fighters.

Every setpiece and stunt ups the ante until you believe things can’t possibly get any crazier.  But they do.  The movie may be in high gear the whole time, but towards the end it switches on the NOS, hurtling to the finish line in an epic blur of action.  I know, enough with the car metaphors.

“All roads lead to this,” claims the tagline for the movie, which feels pretty spot on.  Not only does this feel like the apex of the franchise’s roller coaster ride, it does a neat job of tying the other five films together.  It even brings solidifies Tokyo Drift‘s place in the timeline, bringing all six films up to speed while leaving the franchise open to the promised seventh installment.  Normally any franchise has overstayed its welcome long before a seventh chapter, but the mid-credits stinger is one of the best I’ve seen and will leave you chomping at the bit for more Fast and Furious.

This is a movie not afraid to give the fans exactly what they want, and more.  It is precisely both fast, and furious, living up to the franchise name like never before.  It’s hard to state just how over the top the action in this movie really is.  You will have to check your disbelief at the door, but you will be glad you did.  This is easily the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a while.  When it comes to excitement and action you don’t have to think too hard about, it doesn’t get any better than this.

My Rating:  Five out of Five Hats

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Mrs. Hamster Says:

“The cars are fast.  The movie isn’t.  And if they had taken out just one stunt, it would have been way better.  You’ll know it when you see it.”

Trailer

Fast & Furious Six drives into 3,658 theaters, May 24