1 June 2013

Review: Fast & Furious 6

(Dir: Justin Lin, 2013)

Against all odds the Fast & Furious franchise is now proving to be the modern action movie model that all others should be aspiring too. Quite how it came to this is still something of a mystery, considering a pretty decent first movie and a handful of extremely lacklustre sequels, but the fifth film was a hugely entertaining and satisfying revelation in comparison, surprisingly so! We certainly have the return of the original key characters, as well as throwing in a couple of characters from the sequels, to thank for making this so successful; the filmmakers have created a sort of family that we clearly want to be continually welcomed into.

But that's not just it, there's another sizeable reason why these films are now working - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. His initial presence in the last film as special agent Hobbs, which he reprises in this sixth film, is inspired casting and a great way to add something to the series. Last film we wanted to see him fight Vin Diesel, however there's a nice change where he's gone from foe to reluctant teammate of the Toretto crew. Johnson just makes every film he's in better. He has the personality and the sheer presence, regardless of his acting ability, and there's no difference here - I'm a fan of the "Sumerian Thor" and this series is all the better because he's now part of it.

If you watched the fifth film it'll rapidly become evident not to expect anything different in part six, except it's all amped up to the next level here. The story is functional but does the job of (forgive the pun) driving the story forward. There's a bad guy to catch but notably the one key cast member who didn't return in the last film, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), has risen from the dead and is on the side of villain Shaw (Luke Evans) and thus there's a little more intrigue aside from just stopping him.

But let's be honest, although the family side is important, how much do we care about all this when there's exotic sports cars to be raced, all manner of things to be blown up and insanely ridiculous stunts to amaze us with. It's hard to fault any of this because it delivers with confidence. These films know what they are so push it to the limit, which is why watching a tank chasing some classic modified sports cars down a sunny highway makes perfect sense, and if you think not then you're watching the wrong film. And even better that much of this is done using practical effects rather than relying on CGI.

Expectedly Fast & Furious 6 is a hell of a lot of fun. It's difficult to actually complain about any of the ridiculousness because that's the point, so it's best to just embrace it and check your brain at the door. However as someone who lives in London, seeing the film mostly set in the city was somewhat distracting and less exciting than the sunny exoticness of Rio in the last film. But that's just a random personal complaint. The rest just picks up where part five left over and gives us more Rock and throws in Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano too. I didn't really expect anything more so job happily done. And if the only purpose of the scene during the end credits is to create excitement for the next film then consider me excited!

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