Check out Josh and Violet’s male vs. female perspective reviews of Fast & Furious 6, directed by Justin Lin!
Fast & Furious 6 continues the high-octane, non-stop action that the previous 5 movies have given movie goers over the past 11 years. The franchise centers around Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), a fugitive obsessed with US muscle cars and street racing, and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), a cop turned fugitive after allowing Toretto to escape back in the first film, The Fast and the Furious. Since the original movie, the Fast and the Furious movie series has added to Toretto’s “family”, including Ludacris as Tej and Tyrese as Roman. “Newcomer” to the crew, Hobbs, (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), plays an FBI agent, turned semi-friend to Toretto and the crew.
The movie begins with a montage, recapping the events of the first 5 films. Brian O’Conner with Mia, has also had a child, which according to Toretto, is going to make O’Conner settle down. This “retirement” is short lived however, as Hobbs shows up on Toretto’s non-extraditing, Latin-American home. Hobbs informs Toretto that his love, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is still alive, and running with the crew that Hobbs has been chasing down. For those who do not remember, Letty “died” in the fourth movie, for which Brian feels responsible.
Hobbs and Toretto gather the crew to hunt down this European robbery ring that has been stealing pieces of high tech equipment, using fast cars and high tech gadgets. The leader is known as Shaw (played by Luke Evans), and rivals Toretto’s crew’s driving abilities, and packs a lot of muscle as well. After the crew convenes in Europe, O’Connor and Toretto convince Hobbs to give all crewmembers a full US pardon so that they can return home. From here, Fast & Furious 6 follows its tried and true formula. Intense car chases, over the top street racing, and an abundance of action scenes are the “meat of the film”. Sprinkled in are bits of humor (primarily by Tyrese and Ludracris), which provide a little calm during the storm excitement the film provides.
On the surface Fast & Furious 6, like its predecessors, feels like it would be too over-the-top, and feel simply way too cheesy to appreciate. Every time I walk into the theater when these come out, before the movie starts, I think to myself, “This is going to be a terrible movie,” but every time, I am pleasantly surprised (with the except of Tokyo Drift, which I still refuse to see), and while knowing that this movie is completely full of plot holes, rampant with over the top acting, and meant to simply be a visual stimulation overload, the enjoyment of the movie just cannot be helped.
Whatever director Justin Lin has figured out with these films, it really works for me in a sort of guilty-pleasure kind of way. While the flaws in the movie are very apparent even as the film is being watched, the explosive action is somehow able to create a psychological veil that makes it all okay.
The biggest problem I have with the movie is that it is extremely formulaic. This movie essentially rewraps the previous movies and puts a nice on bow on it. Included “rewraps” are the need for an illegal street race (in the middle of a major city, that you would think would be shut down in minutes), a rather over the top villain, complete with a gigantic dude to provide Vin Diesel (and now The Rock) someone to pummel, and the Fast and Furious plot troupe of providing ample hotrod cars that will be driven recklessly and smashed in various, explosive ways. Also, one thing to consider, in kind of a humorous way, is how long the runway is during the airplane scene. Once you think about it, it’s hard to not chuckle at it.
Despite my complaints, these really do not begin to bother me until after the movie is over (with the exception of the airplane scene, that bothered me about 10 minutes in). Justin Lin has also figured out how to give each character it’s “niche”, so that each character has its purpose. The humor provided by Ludacris and Tyrese is funny, but does not detract from the movie in anyway. I think my favorite piece of humor was the subtlest: when Hobbs (The Rock) calls Ludacris, and his phone displays “Samoan Thor” as the caller.
Overall, I would rate this movie 8 out of 10. I recommend fans of the franchise stay for the credits, as there is a big reveal hinting at the villain for Fast 7. Have fun with this guilty pleasure and try to avoid over-thinking this movie and you will enjoy it.
This past Memorial Day weekend, we saw Fast & Furious 6, directed by Justin Lin, who also directed the past three Fast & Furious movies, dating back to Fast & Furious 3: Tokyo Drift. The ensemble cast includes Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, who return to their roles as Dom Toretto and Brian O’Conner, as well as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who reprises his role as Hobbs, Jordana Brewster, who plays Mia, Dom’s sister and Brian’s girlfriend, plus Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Godot, and Ludacris, who round out the rest of the crew as Roman, Han, Gisele, and Tej. However, the biggest draw for this movie was the miraculous revival of Michelle Rodriguez’s character, Letty, Dom’s former girlfriend, who everyone thought had been murdered by Fenix in Fast & Furious, the fourth movie in the franchise.
Fast & Furious 6 picks up where Fast Five left off, with Dom and O’Conner living off of the millions from their Rio heist in a country with no extradition. However, Hobbs shows up with a picture of Letty, supposedly taken “last week,” and enlists the help of the crew in catching former British Special Forces soldier Owen Shaw, played by Luke Evans, who heads up another criminal car crew, a crew of which Letty is now a member. In return for their help, Hobbs promises full pardons for everyone.
Unfortunately, when Dom reaches Letty following a pretty cool car chase scene on the streets of London, it turns out she has no memory of anything that happened before her accident, so it’s not quite so easy getting Letty back as the crew had hoped. Also, it seems like Shaw is ahead of them at every turn, which doesn’t make it any easier.
Fast & Furious 6 is a lot of fun and has plenty of great action and car chase scenes, as well as a race scene with dozens of scantily clad women, and comic relief every now and then. However, although a surplus of action and entertainment was packed into the film, there was a lack of credibility and story quality. So many moments came up where you roll your eyes and think, “Yeah right, that could never happen.” Since when does a car windshield safely break someone’s fall? Break someone’s back, more like it! And I don’t think there’s any runway in the world that would have been long enough for that whole airplane scene at the end to take place. Granted, Fast & Furious fans have probably come to expect such impossible moments by now, so you just have to take those moments with a grain of salt.
In terms of the story quality, one of my biggest complaints is that the “big twist” is way too obvious, and doesn’t seem like a twist at all, since the movie makes it so that you see it coming a mile away. Another complaint is that they just take Hobbs’ word for it that Letty is alive. Sure, when O’Conner sees the picture, he comments that he used to pull these kinds of stunts to get information back when he was a cop, but the comment goes pretty much ignored. What proof is there that this picture was taken when Hobbs says it was? It could have been an old picture from years ago, and Hobbs could have just been tricking them into helping him because he knows that Dom’s crew is the only chance he has at catching Shaw’s crew. You’d think they’d try to do something to verify the authenticity of the picture, but they just believe Hobbs without question.
A possible explanation for this blind faith is that it’s “because they’re family.” The concept of “family” is a big theme throughout this movie, and not just family by blood, but also the fact that the crew members consider each other family. If there was any possibility that Letty, who was a part of their family, might be alive, they were going to do whatever it took to bring her back. But I still say they should have looked into it a little bit first.
In any case, regardless of its flaws, Fast & Furious 6 kept me entertained throughout the entire movie, even if I did roll my eyes sometimes. I must also mention that we saw the movie in a theater with D-Box motion seats, which greatly added to the experience. If I were rating the movie on entertainment value alone, I’d give it a 9.5/10. However, if I were rating it based only on story quality, predictability, and credibility, that rating would be more like a 3.5/10. So, averaging the two scores, here’s my overall rating: 7/10.
Oh, and make sure you stay a couple minutes after the credits start rolling. We get a pretty awesome setup scene for Fast & Furious 7, which will begin shooting in September, and is tentatively set to be released July 2014.