I’m still surprised that I can say that I actually enjoy a Fast and Furious franchise movie. When The Fast and the Furious premiered in 2001, it was met with much enthusiasm by audiences, except for me. I wasn’t a fan of the movie and I stayed away from the subsequent sequels until ten years later when Fast Five opened in theaters. The word of mouth I’d heard spoke about its high entertainment values and that it was everything you wanted from a big summer movie. I decided to see what everyone was talking about and, much to my surprise, I enjoyed the hell out of it. Director Justin Lin and writer Chris Morgan took the franchise in a new direction and provided some really big action and amusing characters to hang out with. Lin and Morgan continue the momentum they created with Fast Five and deliver a really fun summer experience with this new entry.
Fast and Furious 6 isn’t going to be the smartest movie you’ll see all summer and that is perfectly fine. The movie isn’t meant to be Oscar bait, it is meant to thrill and excite you with great action and larger than life characters. In that respect, Fast and Furious 6 delivers in spades. There is a little bit of character development but it takes a back seat to the CAR-nage (get it?) and the fisticuffs. The character interactions are fun and there is a lot of joking around, which makes spending time with these characters enjoyable. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is still my favorite character to watch, much like he was in Fast Five, as every absurd macho phrase he spouts out with gusto makes me laugh out loud with how cheesy and awesome his character is. The core franchise characters all deliver as expected and the new additions all do well to add to the fun.
The movie starts off with a really exciting chase through the streets of London involving a modified Formula 1 race car that is ramp shaped and tears through police cars unhindered. It’s a really fun sequence to kick off the action and each action scene that follows just gets bigger and more badass. Gina Carano, who makes her first appearance in the franchise, shows off her aptitude for hand-to-hand combat in two fight scenes between her and Michelle Rodriguez. Carano feels a little flat in the movie except when she’s fighting but when she lets the fists fly, it’s pretty impressive. I secretly wanted to see a fight scene between Carano and The Rock’s character. I think that would have made for one hell of a fight, but sadly, that wasn’t in the cards.
There is a really impressive car chase scene involving a tank that is loads of fun and has one of the most ridiculous moments involving a character flying through the air to save another person from death. The crowd cheered with fervor when that happened and, as wholly impossible as it was for that scene to happen, I was cheering with them. In fact, there are quite a few instances in the movie of people jumping through the air to land on moving vehicles that seem a bit superheroish but, seeing as how the filmmakers aren’t asking you to buy into realism, it works and just adds to the overall action. The truly awesome finale of the movie amps up the action further and involves lots of cars and one big ass plane. You may have seen snippets of that in the trailer, remember the car driving out of the front of the plane? Yea, it’s pretty badass and doesn’t even begin to show off how epic and well choreographed/directed that scene is. It’s so incredibly satisfying for those that like their action big and loud.
Fast and Furious 6 ends with a tag that involves Han going to Tokyo. This is where the current movie lines up to the third movie, Tokyo Drift. (Did you know that Fast Five and Fast and Furious 6 happen before the timeline of Tokyo Drift? It surely does.) Something happens in this scene that I won’t go into much detail over, though if you’ve seen the third movie, you already have an idea of what transpires. Without spoiling too much, it involves a car crash and the person who causes the crash gets out of their car and reveals their identity. This sets up the seventh film, which comes out next summer, and the reveal had the crowd going crazy. I’ll admit that it had me rather excited as well and makes me really want to see the next one. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait two years, though I hope that the earlier release date doesn’t equate to a movie of lesser entertainment value. And here’s hoping The Rock’s role gets bigger next time around because we need even more machismo in these movies.. right?
Fast and Furious 6 is exactly what it needs to be.. big, loud, funny and a rollicking good time. It’s raised the bar for vehicular action and I’m absolutely on board for seeing more. So go to the theater, buy some popcorn and strap in for a good time, it’s summer blockbuster season and Fast and Furious 6 wants to entertain you. It sure as hell entertained me.
by Ben McBride
Follow Ben on Twitter @monsterpopcorn