With more than $1.5 billion in previous sales, Universal rolls out a sixth entry to one of its biggest film franchises this week. Despite awful dialogue and numerous over-the-top, zany action sequences that are more comical than suspenseful, ‘Fast & Furious 6’ will probably push that amount even further. That being said, the movie delivers what its audience has wanted since the first entry. That is, all of the original actors are back this time, even Michelle Rodriguez. I have no doubt this will score big at the box office. At least, Universal seems to think so. The studio has already greenlit Part 7, which will be released next July and promises even more stars and bigger action.
Director Justin Lin and writer Chris Morgan, who have immersed themselves in this fuel injected world for the last four films, have not let up with this one. It has to be difficult coming up with different and fresh situations for these characters to dive into movie after movie. Luckily for us, Lin and Morgan do a decent job here of not making us feel like we’re watching the same thing over and over. This time around, instead of all the gun violence of previous entries, we receive a healthy dose of fight choreography, including MMA, wrestling and Thai martial arts. If it wasn’t enough for the gang to race and chase exotic cars, Lin adds a giant military tank and large cargo aircraft to the mix. But with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson all working together this time, there isn’t anything they can’t do, no matter how far-fetched the situation.
As we have come to know these characters over the past twelve years, they come from modest means with a big criminal history. However, they scored $100 million in the last film, which led them to live lavish lives around the world. That changes when Hobbs (Johnson) shows up at Dom’s (Diesel) new place on some remote island and asks to make a deal to help capture a criminal. In return, he and all his friends will be pardoned. The movie starts out very quickly with the entire group coming back together for this job, including Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot).
The bad guy they’re after is a British terrorist called Shaw (Luke Evans), who wants to acquire a weapon that can destroy an entire country and eventually the planet. The gang, along with Hobbs and his partner Riley (Gina Carano), have their first encounter with him during a chase through the streets of London. They all have nice BMWs this time around, while Shaw drives a custom-built Formula 1 race car that seems to be capable of doing everything the Batmobile can. A few chases later lead to a climax with a tank and a cargo plane that should appease the masses.
The action itself is not executed well. The chase sequences and bigger action scenes are choppy, too quick and poorly staged. Due to the poor angles and fast cuts, not once did I think that the cars were traveling faster than the speed limit. On the other hand, the martial arts fighting is far superior to any of the car chases. I could feel every hit and fall. It’s brutal, but not bloody. I hope that Part 7 has more of this fight choreography, because it definitely works.
Meanwhile, a subplot follows Letty’s (Rodriguez) return to the series. Last time we saw her, she was thought dead, but that’s not the case here. She survived and is part of Shaw’s team. She also has no memory of her past life or friends. This gives Dom and his crew a reason to take this mission and take down Shaw, which ultimately sets up Letty for future sequels.
‘Fast & Furious 6’ is a ridiculous action spectacle that will garner more chuckles and applause for fan favorites than it delivers genuine thrills. The acting is at time atrocious and the dialogue is just below that, but hey, this is a movie about cool cars and violence, which it delivers in truck loads during its 133-minute silly yet fun run-time. Don’t forget to stay seated during the credits for a special peek at the seventh installment that shows a big action icon joining the franchise.