Fast and Furious 6 Review
by Robert Hass
Fast and Furious 6, for better or for worse, is an unapologetically dumb, overly masculine, and juvenilely cartoonish piece of summer popcorn fluff that mostly makes up for its flaws with some immensely well crafted action sequences.
The story: If you haven't been doing your homework for the previous, I can't believe it, five installments in the seemingly immortal Fast and Furious franchise, you have no need to feel guilty. These films are about fast cars, half naked, sun-brazed models, exotic locals, fast-paced racing, and at their core, "family". Tee-hee. Surprisingly though, 2011's Fast 5 flipped the franchise around and turned it into more of a heist-action series, and that’s where Fast 6 picks up. After cashing in the big bucks from their heist in Rio, tough guy street racer Dom (Vin Disel), his cop turned teammate Brian (Paul Walker), and the rest of their diverse gang of engine junky pals have settled down. That is until federal agent and mutual friend Hobbes (Dwane Johnson) needs them to stop another gang of vehicle revving baddies who want to...uh...I'll try and remember... acquire a computer chip? Something involving cyber terrorism, I think. It doesn't matter. What's important in this movie is that things blow up and rubber gets burned.
The good: Justin Lin's direction and execution of the action by FAR are the highlights of this picture. The action sequences are fluidly shot, fairly intense, well paced, and pretty freaking fantastic. Actually, the final one is so great that it ranks up as one of the best action set pieces I've seen in a while. Though they have some ridiculous moments, the"bridge-tank showdown" in particular, that bend the laws of physics into new levels of absurdity, the film does partially establish that the characters are almost like superheroes, so many of the instances of car hopping and plane jumping can be excused. The special effects are very solid, except some very brief moments of CGI vehicle jumping. It has a nice glossy, summer movie look to it and has a fairly decent mixture of shaky and refreshing wide shots. Some of the cast is fine and have some chuckleworthy moments of comic relief, even if some of the jokes fall flat. It also is nice to see the range of diversity in the cast, if not all of the participants are skilled line readers.
The bad: The plot and stupidity. Now the story in this movie is so flat that I forgot about what the team and baddies were fighting for all along, and I have a feeling that the actors and director might have in a sense as well. I know that you aren't supposed to walk into these types of movies looking for a complex narrative, but still it couldn't hurt to add an ounce more of intelligence and cleverness. The dialogue does have some moments of humor, but still the combination of stilted and cliched lines and flat acting can leave a laughable, almost cringe-worthy taste in the viewers mouth. This especially occurs in the monotonous and shallow conversations about "family" that keep showing up in these movies, and oddly try to hammer the message in, but after a while it's like beating a dead horse. The pacing, which is great in the first half, does become choppy by the second, and annoyingly slows down to become more serious. The fine actors are passable, but the others need work. I'm glad that some of these new faces and different ethnic types of actors have their spotlight moments in the film, but still seem more skilled at brandishing fists then delivering quips. I don't want to sound to harsh, and it wasn't horribly distracting either. I also understand that you must have your suspension of disbelief on full blast throughout, but there are some moments of impossible physics that are just unbelievable. Some of the jokes miss more than they hit, but I respect them for trying. Also, I wish that the film's tone didn't become try to become so momentarily somber, because when that happens, the movie almost unintentionally becomes campy and laughable. A little dose of more self aware and breezy humor could have done it better.
My take: Fast 6 is nothing more than dumb while slickly made entertainment but I can say that it is another step in the right direction for the once sinking series. See it alone for the final action sequence, which is really spectacular, but if you skip it, or are above the age of 14, you won't be missing out on much.
Be sure to stick around for its post credit scene, hilarious and bad-ass at the same time!
V/H/S 2 (rental and in theaters)
White House Down
Redemption (On rental and in theaters)
World War Z
Man of Steel
Fast and Furious 6
The Great Gatsby
Iron Man 3
Dead Man Down
Europa Report (On rental and in theaters 8/2)
Redemption (On rental and in theaters)
GI: Joe Retaliation (available 7/30)
V/H/S 2 (rental and in theaters 7/12)
Oz: The Great and Powerful
The Last Stand
The goal for this blog is for me to deliver more direct movie summaries that skip more of the fluff and deliver the goods. The story, the good, the bad, and my overall take on it. For those of you who just want to know if you should see it or not, read the ratings and headlines of the films. Click read more if you want to see the details about the reviews.
My name is Robert, but friends call me Vern. I'm a proud cinefile (not as creepy as it sounds...) I write, direct and edit movies. When I'm not doing that, I'm watching movies -- as many as I can -- and reviewing them here for you. I've found that my tastes are unpredictable; conventional to bizarre, formulaic to abstract, old-school to ahead of the curve. I've seen enough to have perspective but am still young enough to need a lift to the theater. Let me know what you think.