Fast & Furious 6 Reviews
So this time there is another bad guy that must be stopped gee whizz! a British villain, the Yanks just love us caddish Brits. The little twist this time is the fact that Toretto and his crew are no longer the ones on the run, they are hired by G.I.Rock.babyoil.biceps.Johnson to bring this bad guy to justice. The reason is because he's building some kind of special tech that can bring down all power for an entire region, and then he will sell it...fiendish!
The start of this film is basically a Bond sequence...seeing as this is what the film has now become, a kind of 'Bond/Mission: Impossible/(recent) Die Hard' mix with the good humoured character teamwork of 'Ocean's Eleven'. The uniting of the team is very much in this style, a little montage of the gang in their various hideouts, then all called up for service by the leader, criminals assemble!
Mr Johnson is so hokey here too, of course he's not meant to be anything else really but Jesus! The guy is getting so thick he can't walk right, either that or he just swaggers horrendously. The dude is like a tagline machine, spitting out one butch statement after another, he's a walking action figure.
So virtually everybody is dragged back into the frey both goodies and baddies, the casting continuity is actually impressive. I think we all know now that Rodriguez is the big surprise reentry here as it turns out she wasn't killed in number four. Nope she has been brought back to allow the franchise to continue even further. In all complete and utter honesty most of this film is totally mundane and routine, there is nothing here that is fresh or exciting. We are shown what really happened to Letty although I can't believe she simply wasn't just shot in the head to make sure. Carano gets a good fight sequence...naturally, the underground is shown along with some other landmarks...naturally, and of course we are given one obligatory street race.
London and no traffic?? nah! but wait! what was that moment when O'Connor knocks that bug device off the front of his BMW by skidding past a concrete pillar? How the hell did he even know where it was? its size? width? how on earth did he manage to gauge that move without slamming into the pillar or just missing the bug completely?? I know these films are not to be taken seriously but its moments like that that just make it laughable, a joke.
The cars this time are more unique with a few more British models (of course), bored with large numbers of imports we now get some curious models. The Dodge Charger Daytona and its long pointed body with huge spoiler fin, a British Ford Escort, the Jenson Interceptor, a Ford Anvil Mustang, a Plymouth Barracuda and an Alfa Romeo are all used.
The film grows tiresome right up until a fast paced chase sequence in Spain down a highway. Starting off kinda generic but quickly turning into something much more interesting as they end up chasing a tank. The sequence unfortunately ends on a highly absurd set piece requiring CGI assistance which spoils the moment but it is fun (how many innocent people were killed on that highway?!!). Just when you think that's that bugger me we get another good sequence, saved the best stuff for last it seems. This time the team are chasing (always chasing) a large cargo aircraft which is stuffed with yet more cars. So guess what? yep we get lots of cars everywhere...silly stunts, CGI stunts explosions...utterly impossible feats, Dwayne 'my t-shirts are really tight' Johnson fighting an even bigger meathead, more girl fights, heroic deaths and the longest damn take off in the world. Seriously how long does it take that plane to lift? and how long is that runway??
At first I was really not going along with this whole idea, a sixth film! Then as I started to watch I realised hey I was right! this is just complete rehash. Its only when we get to the last half hour or so of the film that things get exciting with those two chase sequences, up to then its seriously average. I like how they have engineered the plot from part three and the franchise as a whole into a bigger picture, all these films are prequels and the finale here does tie that up nicely. The only thing is before that they do tie up the whole franchise very nicely with a good ending for all the characters involved. I did get the feeling this was the perfect moment to finish this for good, end it now with a solid bookend. The fact they are pushing it further is really milking it and really pushing their luck...if you ask me.
This was gonna be a low score but the last two sequences in the finale saved this films life big time, almost a fail, how much longer can it hold out?
Fast and Furious 6 (or just "Furious 6" as shown in the film) continues in the vein of the previous film, but cranks up the outrageousness. This works both for and against the film. The action scenes are fun, exciting, and adrenaline-filled, but they grow increasingly more outrageous and at times seriously stretch your ability to suspend disbelief, soliciting more than a couple eyerolls. The involvement of the gang in this mission is questionable from the beginning. They have the knowledge and talent when it comes to cars, but somehow they're also meant to hold their own in gunfights and such against miltary-trained personnel.
The movie balances its lasrge cast very well. Every character has their moments and none feel short-changed in this movie. There's not a weak link in the cast. Well, I guess one... New this time around are Gina Carano as Hobbs' right-hand woman, and Luke Evans as the villain. Evans fits well, and plays his part without going too over-the-top. Carano, on the other hand... well, the woman can certainly fight, but she can't deliver even a single line of dialogue convincingly. I take back everything I ever said about her being a good choice if they ever make that Wonder Woman movie.
Beyond that, everything is just as it should be - the action, the humor, the cars, the music... it all adds up to a blast of a movie, even if it is a bit unbelievable.
The ending tag scene left me a bit conflicted. On the one hand, the movie kind of tied up the series nicely and made a nice conclusion, but then they go and open it up for the next sequel (and I imagine not the last). I'm all for more of these movies, but only if they can continue to evolve and stay fresh without just being rehashes.
Where does this rank in the series? I'll have to see it again to be certain, but it's definitely top 3, up there with 1 and 5.
In order to keep audiences interested, the producers of the Fast and Furious franchise have to keep "upping the ante." The results of this geometric increase in both scope and stunt sophistication is a decidedly mixed bag. It is undeniably exciting but I found myself laughing at many of the grandiose special effects, not amazed at them. This series began with street racers hijacking trucks and the police doing anything they could to stop them. I personally liked the backstories as well. The series is now crescendoing to a farcical monstrosity of international intrigue, complete with globe-trotting cops and bad guys. That formula works well in the James Bond franchise, but here I find the recipe less palatable.
I personally could overlook the previously-assumed dead Letty's reappearance and amnesia as well as a tank flying around a highway, but the sheer spectacle of the visuals do not compensate for the unimaginative plot and poor character development. I like all the principal characters; Dwayne Johnson was a fantastic addition to the series. I don't feel the danger or care about the characters enough in this installment though. The chemistry is still there, but Fast and Furious feels more like a video game and less like street-level people you care about now. Adjectives like implausible and unrealistic have given way to inconceivable and nonsensical. Remember your roots guys.
Let's get this straight -- this is a stupid action flick, as were all the other Fast & Furious movies. Horrible dialogue: check. Over-the-top action sequences: check. Horrendous acting: check (I'm still looking at you Paul Walker... how you still have a career in Hollywood, I don't know). Nevertheless, "Fast & Furious 6" is simply an incredibly enjoyable time all due to really solid direction in the action sequences. Now, I'm one of the few folks that though I enjoyed "Fast Five", felt like the film itself was hampered by the times it slowed down and got into the story. But once the mouths shut and the action did the talking, it was a blast; I can't say that for many action movies nowadays. "Fast & Furious 6" may not have a set-piece as astounding as the finale of "Fast Five", but it fixes the problems Five had. This flick leaves little room for dialogue and is essentially 2 hours of pure action. I know what you're saying: "You're a pure adrenaline junkie." No, I agree; movies with too much action is boring and soulless. But like I said, "Fast & Furious 6" is purely held up all due to its excellent direction.
Looking for a stupid mindless flick? Watch Expendables 2. Looking for a stupid mindless flick that is ACTUALLY A LOT OF FUN? Watch "Fast & Furious 6".
I think what grabbed me most about the movie was the creative action set-pieces. The whole bit with the tank? The airplane finale? There's a level of finesse to it that I really appreciated.
Also the movie wasn't ALL brawns n' explosions, there were attempts of substance with an emphasis on family, men having a "code" and even a dash of romance. All the characters were also given their own little attributes which more than often offered some great comic relief.
When the action scenes happen, they are awesome. Justin Lin keeps getting better as a director, and its always easy to understand what's happening amidst the high-speed chaos that inevitably ensues. The F&F6 is so much fun during the action because over the course of the series its easy to buy in to the insane logic of people jumping out of and onto speeding cars, or to survive burning wrecks without a scratch. But try to introduce a half-hearted romance, double-cross, or rivalry into the film, and the momentum is lost. The dialogue in this movie is so awful that it makes you wonder why they keep trying. "The Expendables" had similarly terrible lines, but it delivered them with a wink, whereas F&F6 continues to play it straight. Until it embraces the insanity that increases with every sequel with open arms, I feel that the series will continue to fail to be anything more than annoying filler punctuated by amazing spectacle.
It's years after Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) and their crew pulled off their epic heist in Rio. Hobbs (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) recruits Dom's team for help nabbing a really bad guy with his own really bad team. Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) is a military-trained Brit who is hijacking advanced weapon parts to put together a super weapon that can knock out the power grid for a country. Dom's ready to turn down the offer, content to live it up in paradise, when Hobbs shares a photo of Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), alive and well, and part of Shaw's wrecking crew. Letty, Dom's old squeeze, was thought dead, but it turns out she has amnesia, and Dom is determined to foil the bad guy and reclaim his girlfriend.
When I say Fast and the Furious 6 is a ridiculous movie in the extreme, I mean that as a compliment and a detriment. The movie never attempts to be anything outside of a loony, high-octane action thriller that gleefully ignores reality. Characters will fly off cars at great speeds, crashing into parked motor vehicles as "safe landings." Brian will get himself thrown in the same prison as a notorious criminal, gather his needed intel, and escape all within a couple of days. The bad guy's plan is also one of those only-in-the-movies super weapons. For goodness sake there's even the hoariest of plot devices - amnesia. Really, Letty can't remember anything. How prevalent is amnesia? Movies make it seem like it's one Flintstones-style bump on the head away. Then there's the massive amounts of wear and tear the heroes take on, their cars take on, and in general their superhuman status. But anyone expecting these films to adhere to a recognizable reality, especially after five movies, is adrift. Part of the appeal of the franchise is exactly its over-the-top lunacy with its action.
Having only really checked into the franchise one movie prior, I'm sure that there are plenty of moviegoers who are wrapped up in the ongoing saga of Dom and Brian and their motorin' crew. I didn't care about the characters; well, I generally liked most of them in an abstract way, but I was never that involved with them. I enjoyed The Rock's character the most but that is also due to the innate magnetism of The Rock, someone Diesel could take some serious notes from. I say all this because there is a lot of time spent on the ongoing character relationships between Dom and his amnesiac love, Letty. He's trying to pull her back, reminding her of the memories he thinks are tucked away, and they talk and drive and talk and I was bored. Perhaps if I had four movies worth of investment I would care more, but I don't. Then again, we're talking about a romance between Diesel and Rodriguez, both fine genetic specimens, but neither of them are what you would call gifted thespians outside of their defacto tough guy roles. The rest of Dom's team are given throwaway bits, though even with those meager offerings Tyrese Gibson comes close to wearing out his welcome as a nagging naysayer. The multiracial cast is so large that it makes it hard for any of them to actually develop as characters. Plus, this movie provides a matching evil cast that doubles the number of characters.
Ignoring all the dumb plot points and repetitious messages, when it comes time to unleash some top-draw action, that's when Lin earns his mettle. The man has guided the franchise through four sequels ever since 2006's Tokyo Drift, which dovetails with the timeline of this film in a surprising way (did you know these were prequels and not sequels?). I can forgive all the lapses in logic and physics when I get action sequences so good I don't want to blink. The last two extended action set pieces in Fast and Furious 6 are stunners, massive, constantly evolving, and ridiculous in the best ways possible. The first is a freeway chase involving a tank and along a coastal Spanish highway high above cliffs. The phrase "freeway chase involving a tank" should immediately put a smile to your face. There is such over-the-top vehicular carnage, all along a trepidatious path, and the pacing just keeps things fully amped. The finale involves a giant military aircraft and a seemingly endless runway (seriously, this thing has to be like 80 miles long). Dom and his team are driving cars inside the plane, out of it, zipping around, snagging wings, being carried off with the plane; it's a glorious sequence that involves multiple points of action, different team members, and develops organically while still escalating the awesome. Lin handles these sequences like a pro. I'm tempted to say that the greatness of these concluding action set pieces is reason enough to see Fast and furious 6 in the theater on the big screen.
I've never really understood the appeal of Diesel (Babylon A.D.). I felt like I was asleep when it was decided that he had become a major action star. I don't get it. The man grumbles just about every line of dialogue into an almost indecipherable growl. He also has the habit of getting very quiet when he's supposed to be serious, thus making it even harder to understand what the guy is saying. I know at this point Diesel is a package deal with the franchise, but I wouldn't mind if the far more charismatic Johnson (Pain and Gain) were to slide over and replace him as lead. Rodriguez (Battle: Los Angeles) seems to have a habit of dying in franchises and being resurrected (see: TV's Lost, Resident Evil 5). The rest of the franchise players do their parts well enough with what little they have. Evans (Immortals) makes for a suitable sneering if forgettable villain. My favorite new actor is Gina Carano (Haywire), not necessarily because she's a great actress, though she's better than you'd think for an MMA-fighter-turned-actor, but because this woman is a born movie star. She's got screen presence, a fierce look, and the lady does her own stunts. She is an impressive beast of an action star and hopefully somebody will get her the right project to make her break out big time (Haywire wasn't it, folks).
While I prefer Fast Five, a more fun flick where the team play their parts in a convoluted but entertaining heist, Fast and Furious 6 is a highly enjoyable summer movie with some top-class action sequences. This franchise is the epitome of the popcorn thriller, its vaunting heights of ridiculousness also its most laudable quality. Six movies in, I imagine most moviegoers know what they're getting with this franchise and they must like it because every sequel seems to outperform the last at the box-office. The formula of fast cars, sexy ladies, and hyperactive action make for a surefire, turn-off-your-brain summer spectacle. Lin has a real knack for directing large-scale destruction that's easy to follow and easy to get caught up in. He has a strong tentpole mentality and I imagine he will be tapped to helm some other big-budget action picture. Whatever it is, his involvement guarantees my interest. I don't know about Fast and Furious 7, scheduled to come out speedily next summer. Lin is being replaced by James Wan of horror fame, notably Saw and Insidious (his DePalma-esque work on 2007's Death Sentence was actually striking). Considering Lin made one feature before jumping into Furious mode, a small indie crime drama, I won't discount Wan's potential, but I'll miss Lin all the same. In the end, the director could be just as interchangeable as any other part of this franchise as long as it sticks to its tested formula and delivers the goods when it comes to ridiculous action.
Nate's Grade: B
Under the direction of Justin Lin, "Fast & Furious 6" sees the return of almost everyone from "Fast Five"; including Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner, Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, etc. as they come together for one last job...again. Also joining the crew is Gina Carano as Hobbs' assistant (and my future wife) who is apparently given free rein to go MMA on everyone she sees fit. And returning (because she's got nothing better to do) is Michelle Rodriguez, in a storyline less focused on, the better.
Synopsis: Duhhhhhh....Fast cars go fast.
Why the movie works: This is clearly Lin's best visual stab at the franchise yet, as he not only creates the best things-blow-up climax to come out of any of these films, but also (for the second time in a row) gives his audiences exactly what they came to see. Lin does a brilliant job of making sure there is either a car driving fast, a woman in a bikini, or the Rock giving someone the people's eyebrow and spouting off something fantastically WWE-ish, on the screen at all times. In fact, he has done so well with guiding this franchise into the realm of highly entertaining B movie fluff, that it is a wonder why he is being replaced by horror director James Wan for the upcoming "Fast & Furious 7".
Side Note: I realize Lin did direct both "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" and "Fast & Furious" as well, but let's be honest, those movies are better left forgotten.
Final Thought: Aside from the fact that "Fast & Furious 6" is a tad too long, that Vin Diesel still calls what he does acting, that there is an odd body distortion phenomenon which happens when Diesel and The Rock stand next to each other and that the storyline doesn't really matter (especially the more sentimental sections) I'm not ashamed to say that I was thoroughly entertained as I walked out of the theater. And while I realize that this is a lot to look past, if you are the type to spend your hard earned money on a movie entitled "Fast & Furious 6"; a movie which is filled with unbelievable, yet well constructed, high flying, auto-centric stunts and enough comic relief to get the casual fan through, then this installment is clearly worth watching.
Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
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