After it’s Rio set fifth installment, the Fast And Furious series had seemed to find it’s correct gear, choosing to leave the DVD stealing and car racing (mostly) behind in favour of a sleek, hugely enjoyable heist movie that deployed Dwanye Johnson and it’s ensemble cast to incredible use.
With the inevitable sixth film launching off the production line like a turbo boosted blast of nitrous, we have the final piece of connecting tissue that completed the metamorphosis of the franchise into the far fetched, super destructive spy movies these motion pictures have become. Films where people can miraculously survive point blank explosions, crash cars without a hint of catastrophic internal injury and where no one curiously ever seems to bleed despite being repeatedly beaten around the face and neck by fists the size and consistency of bowling balls.
Make no mistake my friends, Furious 6, as it’s known in the States, is as arrogantly dumb as a bucket of Trumps but it sure knows how to put on a show.
The dense (in both senses of the word) plot reveals that – holy shit – Michelle Rodriguez’s tough as nails Letty is not as dead as part four made her out to be and has muscled through a pesky bout of explosion related amnesia and has shacked up with uber-criminal Owen Shaw (played with a blank faced menace by Luke Evans). Using this to his advantage, super-jacked government manhunter Luke Hobbs (Johnson relishing every ridiculous line that tumbles out of his mouth-hole) sniffs out a retired Dominic Toretto to get the gang back together and seek out his lady love’s new boss. There’s a problem though as Paul Walker’s perma-smirking Brian O’Connor and Dom’s sister Mia have dropped a sprog and have serious doubts about returning to “the life”. Chasing Shaw and his gang from London to Spain the gang have to avoid everything from a monster plane to a marauding tank, solving every problem by driving faster, punching harder and blowing shit up with no regard for anyone’s safety.
While an amazingly unsubtle (even for a Fast And Furious movie) actioner, Fast 6 is a fantastically slick experience who’s bombastic scenes of tarmac shredding carnage just about make up for some weird flaws that fly wildly about the film like a ricocheting bullet.
Firstly the film doesn’t quite move with swaggering confidence and balance the blunt humour as well as Fast 5 and comes loaded down with a surprising amount of baggage that requires you to have a confusingly comprehensive amount of knowledge for the rather forgettable fourth installment in order to make the convoluted plot fit – in fact Paul Walker’s main arc in this movie where he takes a completely unnecessary trip to an LA prison to converse with a previous movie’s villain – only seems present to tie up it’s increasingly dense continuity.
The other problem lies curiously with it’s star, Vin Diesel. Having always played the honorable Dominic Toretto with an almost superhuman sense of smug-yet-zen overconfidence, but here it’s so overblown he seems to be half asleep with his trademark rumble reducing any and all speaking lines into a near incomprehensible scramble.
However, when the sound of screeching brakes and overtaxed engines drown out mumbled speeches about family, the film REALLY takes off with an audacious cars vs. tank sequence ending with a mid-air “rescue” that either going to have you punching the air in triumph or calling bullshit that Rodriguez wasn’t torn in half like a phone book. It’s almost instantly topped in scale and stupidity by the harpooning of a superplane in an extended finale that takes place on a runway that surely has to be 26 fucking miles long to contain such a long set piece. It’s overlong, overblown and if you’re slavishly attached to silly concepts like common sense or gravity it will leave you stunned but the sheer gall of it all.
If, however, this sort of thing makes you giggle like a hyena chomping on a hash brownie, you’re gonna have a fun time as it enthusiastically revs your engine.