Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Release Date: May 24th, 2013 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Justin Lin Actors: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Luke Evans, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Elsa Pataky, Gal Gadot
espite being formulaic, incredibly predictable and overly dramatic, “Fast & Furious 6” offers the appropriate amount of cars, girls, shootouts, and chases to satisfy fans of the series. As expected, this latest installment in the franchise attempts to outdo its predecessors as only a mindless action movie knows how – with more mindless action. This approach succeeds with the integration of tanks, airplanes, and custom flipcars to the already hectic fray, but alternately fails when the stunts evolve into preposterous jumps from car to car, plane to car, car to tank, and so forth, mostly relying on heavy doses of CG wizardry. The endeavor to eclipse doesn’t just stop there, either. In addition to the already ridiculously diverse cast of heroes is a mirror image array of villains, each receiving individual showdowns with their protagonist counterparts. These ideas aren’t devoid of entertainment, but they certainly don’t alleviate the frustration of a paper-thin plot or an impossibly bland primary antagonist.
After the successful Rio de Janeiro heist that landed the team a cool $100 million, Brian (Paul Walker) and Dom (Vin Diesel) vow never to return to their criminal life, while Han (Sung Kang), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and Tej (Ludacris) attempt to revel in their fortunes. But with the recent sighting of Dom’s former lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) working for ruthless mercenary Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), the gang is spurred back into action. Fueled by their code of family and the promise of amnesty by DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), the intrepid drivers engage in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with Shaw to rescue Letty and prevent the scheming arms dealer from acquiring a weapon of unimaginable power.
“Our old life is done,” insists Dom to Brian, now caring for a small child and insistent on nurturing his family. But that is, of course, entirely untrue, as he’s almost immediately placed back behind a steering wheel. In a nearly laugh-out-loud twist, his dainty wife practically demands that he insert himself into the center of adventure and danger – she actually states that she’s more comfortable knowing he’s out there away from home, engaging in hazardous vehicle exploits – which can apparently keep their extended family and friends together. This is easily one of the most unintelligent films ever assembled, and it’s not even fundamentally due to the excessive focus on fast rides, scantily-clad minxes, beer, guns, wrecks, and explosions. This sixth installment also aimlessly introduces larger scale terrorism, foreign military opponents, haughty martial arts and physical combat, and spiritlessly obvious Michael Bay-like camerawork.
The plot is so generic that it never even tries to reason with the audience. A billion-dollar computer chip is defined merely as a component for some unspeakable revolutionary scheme, Letty’s expected return and peculiar loyalty are annotated with a risible amnesia gimmick, and the dialogue is an insufferable blend of heroic statements and chummy reassurances (further fueled by sickeningly blatant camaraderie and gregariousness). These characters are all superhuman now, which makes their optimism and solacing even more meaningless. Fortunately, Dwayne Johnson (despite playing the only role he can muster, which is merely Dwayne Johnson) is reasonably likeable and the extreme vehicle stunts utilize predominantly realistic equipment, staying away from the embarrassing CG automobile chases as much as possible (but not entirely, as demonstrated in a few obnoxious scenes). This isn’t to say that people don’t still routinely jump from moving car to car, defy gravity, thwart physics, dodge bullets, and summon uncanny resilience without hesitation. But the use of a real tank is diverting.
– The Massie Twins