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Fast & Furious 6

2013 | 130 min | PG-13 | 2.39:1

Fast & Furious 6


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3 user reviews

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Theatrical release date

 24 May, 2013
 23 May, 2013

Country of origin

 United States

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Screenshots from Fast & Furious 6 Blu-ray

Fast & Furious 6 Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, May 23, 2013

With its last outing, 2011’s “Fast Five,” the “Fast and the Furious” franchise reached a previously unimaginable creative high. Against all odds, it was a vastly entertaining picture that readjusted tonal goals for the series, dropping most the dead weight car race tangents to run full steam ahead as a caper, using the limited but colorful cast to generate an event film atmosphere populated with familiar faces and some exciting new ones. Rewarded with enormous box office returns, the producers have decided to maintain the pace, keeping “Fast & Furious 6” (titled “Furious 6” on the print) focused on a Bondian baddie, wrecking ball-style chases, and pro-wrestling fisticuffs. What’s missing here is a decent script, at least something approaching digestibility when it comes to the misadventures of this knuckle-dragging crew. The production insists the characters should verbalize their every thought. The production has made a horrible mistake.

Now millionaires spread out around the globe, Dominic (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Han (Sung Kang), Tej (Chris Bridges), and Gisele (Gal Gadot) have been called to London, offered a clean slate on their criminal records if they help Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and partner Riley (Gina Carano) apprehend a former military mastermind named Owen Shaw (a flat Luke Evans), who’s out to steal a computer chip capable of paralyzing entire cities. Also tempting the superfriends is the resurrection of Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), a woman previously thought killed, but now Shaw’s cohort nursing a case of amnesia. Determined to reunite with his former love, Dominic is eager to capture Letty, while the rest of the gang quickly goes to work on the investigation and computer hackery required to pinpoint Shaw’s location. Working all the angles in Europe and the U.S., the race squad uses their brute force and skills behind the wheel to thwart Shaw’s escape with the goods.

I know, I know, picking on a “Fast and the Furious” script is a fool’s errand, but there was distinct promise in “Fast Five” that screenwriter Chris Morgan was paying attention, taking broad steps to move the material into a fresh direction, erasing much of the race culture distractions that were tuckered out after the first film to make a chase movie, bringing in hulkish Hobbs and his sprinkler-style sweating to add a little pressure to the half-asleep crew, while unearthing new purpose in Brazil, where the drivers spent more time on the run than they did riffing.

“Furious 6” turns attention back on the disparate personalities of the squad, watching them crack wise and urge the story along with superfluous dialogue exchanges, ostensibly to give the fanbase time to enjoy their heroes. However, the mouth-breathing magic is missing, finding Morgan flipping through his bro-saurus and dude-ictionary to dream up some of the worst banter of 2013, forcing dreadful jokes (why has Gibson been branded the comedic force of the cast?), ridiculous threats, and flabby inspirational speeches concerning the nature of family on a clearly struggling cast. Even worse, “Furious 6” barely makes an effort to disguise its overflow of exposition, often stopping the movie cold to lace through extensive backstory and mind a multitude of characters in a mad dash to keep the series cohesive, as though this franchise has become a Marvel production. While words in a “Fast and the Furious” feature have always been unwelcome, the leaden, overly puffed conversations really stop of the flow of the new picture.

Equally numbing is the insistence that Letty should return to the fold, with Morgan cooking up a goofy amnesia angle to plausibly bring back a dead character (not that this series cares too deeply about corpses, as Han was murdered three movies ago), flirting with turning this muscle-flexing endeavor into a daytime soap opera. She’s a lame character, used primarily to motivate Dominic into action and return the original film’s family unit vibe for its sixth installment. Or perhaps Rodriguez is back to cover for Brewster’s absence, popping up here in a glorified cameo as Brian’s baby-mama. Truthfully, the only female worth following is Carano, who receives a few opportunities to show off her tight fight skills, making one wish Morgan had something more inventive in mind for the character that could continue on in future sequels. Alas, the screenplay also plays predictably with Riley, souring the sugar rush Carano brings to the picture.

As to be expected, “Furious 6” is most confident smashing and thrashing, watching director Justin Lin (in his fourth consecutive outing) mastermind massive chases that involve a tank and a cargo plane, while pushing CGI to its limits as characters literally soar through the air during outrageous rescue scenarios, landing without a scratch. The cartoon nature of the film sits fine, especially when spotlighting Hobbs and his superhuman strength, but Lin does get carried away in an effort to top himself. The last picture had the heroes dragging a bank vault through the streets of Rio, smashing anything in its path. “Furious 6” simply steamrolls over everything, with enough flying cars (the villains drive around in automobiles armored with ramps), smashed glass, and flopping bodies to fill two sequels, yet the orgy of screen chaos is preferable to any scene featuring a character speaking. Lin should know by now that the thrill is triggered via mayhem, not the group making fun of Roman’s large forehead.

“Furious 6” is entertaining, but only in spurts, never reaching the delirious junk food thrills of “Fast Five.” It’s a cumbersome production, more aware of its next few steps (indeed, another sequel is due out summer 2014) while it exhausts the last few ounces of pedal-to-the-metal authenticity left in the vial. The essentials of gym-perfect bodies, semi-coherent Diesel growls, and mad stick shifting are tended to, yet the palpable sense of glee and sun-kissed staging from the previous picture is missing, keeping “Furious 6” in step with the lackluster installments that occurred before the crew went flying down to Rio.

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson
Director: Justin Lin

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