(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!