Fast & Furious 6 (2013) / Action-Thriller

MPAA rated: PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and language
Running time: 130 min.

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Luke Evans, Sung Kang, Elsa Pataky, Gina Carano, Gal Gadot, Tyrese Gibson, Lee Asquith-Coe
Cameo: Rita Ora, Jason Statham
Director: Justin Lin
Screenplay: Chris Morgan
Review published May 23, 2013

Fast & Furious 6The sixth entry in the highly lucrative Fast & Furious (the titles persist to vary, but for the sake of this review, I'll call it F&F) series sees a bit of return to form of sorts.  Unfortunately, the "Brazilian Job" formula that launched Fast Five to record success for the series has made way for the standard 'bad guys working with the cops to take down even badder guys' formula we've seen before.  The staples are all still here: guys and gals in muscle shirts and short shorts, fast cars, WWE-caliber fight sequences, plenty of CGI-infused stunts, braggadocios rap music, goofy 'bro' humor, and plenty of twisted metal carnage.

After a bit of a recap montage, F&F 6 begins with head badass, Dominic Toretto (Diesel, Fast & Furious), living in the relative comfort of the Canary Islands, where there is no extradition to make him pay for his crimes in other countries.  Crony Brian O'Conner (Walker, Bobby Z), his wife Mia (Brewster, Annapolis), and their baby boy are living nearby.  Their retirement is interrupted by agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson, GI Joe 2), who recruits their gang's services in taking down ex-soldier Owen Shaw's (Evans, Immortals) equally adept gang of hi-tech criminals who are taking down major security systems around the world with something called a 'Nightshade' device, which knock out the power in whole countries for a day.  Toretto wants no part of it, but Hobbs makes him an offer he can't refuse: full pardons, and the news that Dom's deceased lover Letty Ortiz (Rodriguez, Resident Evil 5) is still alive and working for Shaw. They get all the rest together and it's off to London to begin the takedown.

Justin Lin (Tokyo Drift, Better Luck Tomorrow) returns yet again to take the helm as director, letting the action go way over the top, as whole books on the laws of physics are ignored during the lengthy set pieces for the sake of wowing the audience in their seats.  Every cast member gets their moment to shine in this testosterone-charged outing.  Plausibility doesn't just take a back seat, it's not even in the car anymore, as our anti-heroes run, jump, punch, kick and fall from tall heights without so much as a scratch to show for their efforts much of the time.  One of the main battle sequences involves the crew trying desperately to avoid a high-speed military tank that is rolling over vehicles as if they were made of papier-mâché. 

The bad guys are formidable, meant to mirror the 'good guys' as if they were two sides of a chess board, matching each other's strengths and weaknesses man for man (and woman for woman).  Mixed martial artist Gina Carano (Haywire) plays a prominent role, which means there will be some good close combat fight sequences, but in the acting department, there's little for her to do.  The script by Chris Morgan (Wanted, Cellular) features a plot that is barely cohesive, and merely serves as a springboard to get the protagonists in and out of action sequences at predictable beats.

If you're a fan of the entire series, you'll likely find F&F 6 to be to your liking, as it not only delivers everything you'd expect, and does it with a much higher budget to boot.  If you're like me, someone who only liked Fast Five and have been hoping for more, it's not recommended, as the madcap chutzpah of its predecessor has snapped back to grunts and well-choreographed but tired fisticuffs.  It goes on far too long to lack an investment in the characters or their mission, leaving F&F 6 strictly of interest only to the die-hard action fans.  At 130 minutes, it isn't very fast, and as this crew is now one big family who are impervious to all danger, there's little fury on display.

-- Followed by Furious 7

 Qwipster's rating:

©2013 Vince Leo