Review: Lin's 'Fast & Furious 6' Comes Full Circle in Fun, Fierce Way
by Jeremy Kirk
May 24, 2013
It's official. The title of the sixth film in the Fast and the Furious anthology is, at least here in the states, Furious 6. It's Fast and Furious 6 in foreign markets, but it doesn't take long to realize the Fast part of the title is gone. Furious 6 is never as exhilarating as its most recent predecessor, Fast Five, but it's difficult to keep up with that thrill-a-minute spectacular. Still, lack of pace doesn't keep this entry from being a rock-solid action extravaganza with a few genuine tricks up its sleeve. Furious 6 revs up slow, but just like the franchise's muscle-car-loving muscle head lead, it knows when to hit the nitrous: a bit later in the race.
When we last left Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his merry band of car racers and heist takers, they were sitting comfortably abroad having just scored the job of a lifetime. Each of them is financially set, unable to go back to their home of the United States but content with living out the rest of their years in hiding. In hiding is still somewhat peaceful save for the occasional race Dominic and his best friend and former FBI agent Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker) take along the coastline.
It's all going well until Universal Soldier Secret Service Intelligence agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson. Actually I'm not sure which department of the US government Hobbs works for, but let's just say he's got a lot of pull.) shows up at Dom's door with a photo. That changes everything. The photo is of Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), the love of Dom's life who he believed was shot and killed years before, back in the fourth entry, Fast & Furious. Hobbs claims the photo was taken only a week prior and that Letty has joined another crew of high-end thieves. Dom decides it's time to call everyone back in from the cold to take on this one, final job and get their friend back.
Director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan, the team behind the franchise since its third entry (and last chronologically), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, are never that interested in the mystery of their story. That is-she-or-isn't-she aura that instantly built up around Rodriguez's character when her picture was first seen at the end of Fast Five is carried over in the minimalist way. It's to the point that when Dom's new girlfriend, Elena (Elsa Pataky), sees that something is troubling him, she instantly asks, "It's Letty, isn't it?" Everyone just kind of assumed Letty was still alive anyway. They were just waiting for her to show back up in their lives.
But that's just fine for the Fast and the Furious series, which, only to the point of its structure, has turned into the Saw of the action blockbusters. Instead of creative traps that dismember people, we have creative car chases. That usually dismember people, but it's PG-13. It's bloodless.
Nonetheless, Lin and Morgan have taken what was a fun throwaway of a Summer blockbuster and turned The Fast and the Furious into an outright saga. When you need timelines to explain which movies come in which order, the interest of the series as a whole instantly goes up, and when you fill your films with as much heart as you do explosive entertainment, that's what makes the series a worthwhile endeavor through and through.
Furious 6's theme of family is easily read. Dom is trying to get his family (Letty) back. Brian and his girlfriend and Dom's sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), have just welcomed a baby into their lives. The villain, ex special forces badass, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), keeps quoting this brother of his. It's a message that Lin and Morgan drive into the audience's head. "There's nothing quite like your family." But it's usually told to us through Vin Diesel's voice, so, you know, it's cool.
Also cool, very cool indeed, is Furious 6's final 40 minutes. Much of the film plays with the mystery, keeps the good-guy crew constantly trying to get the upper hand on the bad-guy crew, and throws in stylized car chase after stylized car chase. The comedic banter much of Dom's crew throws at one another is typical but keeps the pep always up in the room. It all rides smoothly until those final 40 minutes, when all hell breaks loose, tanks and giant cargo planes included. Lin is a wizard at crafting pulse-pounding, engaging, and highly inventive action pieces. It takes a while for Furious 6 to get to them, but when it does, it's best to be strapped in.
The action in Furious 6 energizes the audience, but the story here energizes the bonds of all of these characters. That's needed where Furious 6 ends up, full circle to Tokyo Drift and evidently the end of Lin's run at the steering wheel. His four-film arc has allowed the Fast and the Furious series to transcend beyond the entertainment value of the first film as well as the general laziness of 2 Fast 2 Furious, the second film. These last two films, however, have set the bar extremely high for future directors to take over. At least we know, from Furious 6's post-credit scene, the villain in The Fast and the Furious 7 is going to be a doozy.
Jeremy's Rating: 8 out of 10
Reader Feedback - 12 Comments
I remember enjoying the first and second FF and then stopped watching them after the third one looked awful. And then out of no where everyone kept talking about how good Fast 5 was/is so I rented it expecting something awesome and instead I found myself wanting to take a nap instead. Might end up seeing this late one night with friends just to pass the time but perhaps I should wait for DVD on this one as well.
N. on May 24, 2013
Here in Korea it's called "Furious-The Maximum" I loled my ass off at the title. Anyway, this movie is a total thrill ride. Not much for the plot, but enough to keep the flow of the story exciting, including a cliff-hanger that introduces Jason Statham for the upcoming Fast 7. If you like a fun pop-corn over the top summer movie, Fast and the Furious always delivers. Not designed to be an oscar movie, but designed to fulfill the audiences appetite for a good fashioned 2hr action flick. 2 thumbs up for me.
Movie Mike on May 24, 2013
No thank you for the spoiler. Maybe you should rename yourself "Ruin Your Movie Mike."
Quiet Please on May 24, 2013
You have no one to blame but yourself coming into a review section not expecting to see spoilers in the comments.
Chris Amaya on May 24, 2013
Will see it soon.
Xerxexx on May 24, 2013
Couldn't disagree more. I enjoyed Fast Five for the goofy mess of action that it was, but the action in 6 was poorly staged crap, and the story.. well obviously that sucked too. The whole film essentially boils down to a bunch of undercranked, sped up fight scenes, all shot way too close with not a single satisfying final blow, kill, or knockout, and racing scenes that are completely laughable (but unlike Fast Five, they're not even fun). The only thing really worth mentioning about the film at all is The Rock's annoying Under Armour product placement, back with a vengeance from its appearance in GI Joe 2.
Matt on May 24, 2013
Geez Mr negative, i agree that the editing couldve been better, but when Diesel picks up a dude by his legs and the rock jump punches him contradicts your "no satisfying blow" comment. And the flying Toretto over the bridge gap, forgeddaboutit
Cody W on May 24, 2013
I agree with this article for the most part, I think everyone will agree that this movie is a popcorn flick with scene after scene of over the top action, which isn't a bad thing at all. I've always been a sucker for sequels. I always enjoy seeing these characters back in action. This movie has heart, comedy, action, a decent story (not great by any means) and for me awesome characters! Its a stylish modern action movie that there are just too few of now a days. I liked seeing Dom and Hobbs on the same side this go around but I was hoping for a little more dialogue between them, something to show the respect and admiration they have for one another, none the less the two of them make a great team for sure. Also there were quite a few different fight scenes in this movie between a lot of different characters which was great to see, almost everyone had there time to shine in this movie. It will be interesting to see what they come up with in the next movie to top this one, especially with the post credits scene allowing you to see who the antagonist will be in the up coming sequel. I myself cant wait to see how this story will come to an end. I only wish after everything Justin Lin has done with this franchise that the studio allow him what he see's fit to make the last installment what it should be and bring him back!
batsupe on May 24, 2013
Full on flying shaved headbutt from Diesel was worth the price of admission alone.
Cody W on May 24, 2013
Its a great pop corn flick...nothing more and nothing less...
safichan on May 25, 2013
Saw the movie last night with the family and really enjoyed it.... all I can say about the movie is $$$$$$$$$$$$ so even if people didn't like it or they did the movie served it purpose
Dmac on May 26, 2013
The worst F&F film from Lin. I still liked it though. 7/10.
Nielsen700 on May 28, 2013
Sorry, new comments are no longer allowed.