Review: Fast and Furious 6
The Fast and the Furious film franchise was beginning to run a little stale as a simple street racing film so they decided to change it up the fifth time around. Fast Five turned out to be the most successful of the series and the most well received of the bunch. With Furious Six (or Fast and Furious Six or whatever they are calling it) they continued the trend in what made Fast Five so good. Yes, it still has fast cars, pretty women and good action sequences but it also has a coherent plot that helps raise the tension of each action sequence. That being said, the previous films were mostly style providing the bare minimum in terms of a coherent plot. It is impressive to say the least how the new screenwriter Chris Morgan has brought this series into something new entirely. It is very easy to say that following Fast Five, this is a brand new franchise that is much more then a standard street racing film and more so along the lines of a heist film in the veins of The Italian Job and The French Connection.
The film starts with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) living a normal apple pie life. Brian now has a son with Mia (Jordan Brewster). Their lives get much more complicated of course when Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) comes knocking on their doorstep with a job, which of course they blow off but when Hobbs gives them information of Toretto's old flame Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) being alive, then it forces them back into action. Toretto calls of his former pals in a scene that makes me thing of the Avengers assembling. It made me laugh quite honestly, but as this film continued to reinforce in the mind of the viewer, this team is a family above all else. They would drop everything to be there for each other. The team gathers in front of Hobbs and hears the mission laid out in front of them to catch the worst kind of criminal in London. Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) plans to steal a military chip that could disable power in an entire region, forcing Hobbs to hire criminals to take down the worst kind of criminal. Toretto and Brian ask for full pardons all around in return for their services, Hobbs agrees. The first time Toretto and his crew come face to face with Shaw they realize how ruthless and how smart the guy is and begin to wonder if they are really up to this challenge.
Toretto continues on his quest as he tries to get Letty, but he is troubled but the fact that she is not exactly the same girl. She is in fact working with Shaw. He works to bring her back into the fold and even more so, into the family. Shaw explains to him that is his very weakness as he believes every man should live by a code, and living by family makes you weak and predictable. However, the bonds of family may just be what saves Toretto and his crew in the end of the day, or that bond will make him buckle leading to his most untimely death.
It is really surprising to me how much I enjoyed this film for how simple it was. It had terrific action sequences but also a serviceable plot to make sure things flowed nicely. Luke Evans as Owen Shaw provides a good villain for the film as he is both incredibly smart but also very capable in a fight. Where Toretto and O'Conner excel in working together on the fly, Shaw excels in precision and working one step ahead of the game. Vin DieseI does a good job in the role of Toretto as he should considering this is the fifth time he has appeared in the role. However, he really shined in his quieter and more intimate scenes with Michelle Rodriguez. The same can be said for Dwayne Johnson as he really had terrific chemistry in his scenes with Diesel and seeing the two work side by side in this film was a nice treat. Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris provided a great deal of comic relief. The perfect example of this would be when Hobbs is referred to as "Samoan Thor". It was fun to see the characters making fun of each other, but again that only helped drive home the fact that they all are like family.
Some of the better action sequences featured Diesel and Johnson but Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano did very well in their scenes as well. The best fight scene in fact may have been the one between the two women and it was also probably the longest fight of the entire film. The film was set up very nicely for a seventh film and keen movie watchers will pick up on the reveal at the end of the film, but for the momentum in this series to keep going, then they need to keep Chris Morgan on for the script and Justin Lin as the director. Lin does a terrific job behind the camera capturing the action and Morgan has helped make the series into something more then just a standard street racing film. It is by no means a perfect film and could have been a little shorter but it is still a fun ride with just enough juice in the tank for at least one more film.