Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, and much more
Seems like yesterday when I first entered my theater in Plano to watch The Fast and the Furious movie. Being 16-years-old at the time, I was completely smitten by the experience. Watching hot female bods, fast car chases with stylish imports, and an added bonus of having Vin Diesel at the start of his career made it worthwhile for a teenager. Looking back on that first film now, I will admit it’s not that great of a movie. Plus, it borrows the same exact plot structure as Point Break. A decade later this franchise continues to spiral in silliness with its narrative. Luckily, Justin Lin realizes how far fetched the series has become and embraces it on every level.
So here we are and it’s 2013 and the 6th installment of the franchise has arrived. Dominic Toretto and the gang are still on the run from Hobbs after the events of Fast Five. The crew has taken their riches from the Rio heist and gone their separate ways to continue living free. That is until Hobbs catches up to Toretto in a secluded paradise where he can’t be extradited. Hobbs reveals why he’s there by showing him a picture of Letty, who is surprisingly not dead, and by a large coincidence, is working for Owen Shaw, the criminal that Hobbs wants to take down. Hobbs explains that he wants to use Toretto’s crew to stop Shaw because they are the best at what they do… Going fast. Okay I’m joking on the last part but that’s pretty much what these guys are experts at, right? Anyways, Toretto agrees to assemble his crew on one condition… Full pardons for everyone.
Now, I’ve thought heavily about why this franchise has maintained such a successful momentum. All the characters have a uniqueness that wasn’t there before Fast Five, and if it was there, the differences have never shined so brightly. Everyone on Toretto’s crew matters to some degree to the overall execution of the story. Before, in films like 2 Fast 2 Furious, characters like Tej Parker – played by Ludacris – were never allowed enough screen time to fully matter to the audience. In fact, if he died then it probably wouldn’t have resonated an emotional response with anyone. Now, the writers have lit up everyone’s personality to the tenth degree, making them such unique enjoyable personas. It’s great fun watching these guys interact.
The action sequences are completely over-the-top. No way in hell would half of this movie would ever actually happen in real life. There are individual sequences that even made me laugh at the sheer insanity of how far they were taken. Even so, I found it interesting that my suspension of disbelief still allowed me to gasp when certain things happened. No matter how goofy the scenario or stunt is, Justin Lin somehow makes the sequence appear as if it really is taking place in front of your eyes, which is a huge credit on his part.
The acting is about on par with what you would expect from a Fast & Furious movie. Vin Diesel fits Dominique Toretto like a glove. I think audiences have a weakness for his character because of his principals and devotion to family. Paul Walker has never really impressed me as Brian O’ Connor but at the same time I don’t believe it was ever a necessity. Tyrese’s role of Roman Pearce is given some of the best comedic moments in the film and he delivers them perfectly. If Tyrese had more screen time, he probably would’ve stole the show. However, the greatest highlight in Fast & Furious 6 is the decision to make Luke Evans the antagonist in this movie. One thing I’ve always felt lacking in this franchise is a credible threat, and Evans does well as Owen Shaw.
Fast & Furious 6 is confidently far-fetched in its delivery, which is better than an over-the-top film that lacks any confidence at all – i.e. A Good Day to Die Hard. This franchise used to be a guilty pleasure of mine but now I don’t feel any shame for enjoying it. Yes, this series is completely implausible and often too silly for its own good, but so is a team of superhero Avengers battling aliens from another galaxy. Justin Lin has created a franchise that is justifiably aware of itself and packs tons of love for its central characters. It’s not as good as Fast Five but it gets the job done for sure.
Oh, and in case you don’t know, there is a huge surprise during the credits. Trust me, don’t leave your seat.