Fast And Furious 6

As a summer opener, Fast And Furious 6 not only revs up the fun-o-meter, but also hurtles past other action film franchises. Bruce Willis, you listening?

Having resurrected the series after the critically panned sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious, returning director Justin Lin injects this sixth installment of the Fast And The Furious franchise with an explosive cocktail of nitrous oxide and adrenaline: an intoxicating blend that will have you laughing out loud even as you clench your toes through this new film’s high-octane action sequences.

Picking up where Fast 5 ended, US Diplomatic Security Service Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) grants fugitives Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and former FBI Agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) a full pardon if they help him take down criminal mastermind Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). Toretto is of course uninterested, until Hobbs reveals that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is alive and working for Shaw. As far as the synopsis goes, that’s all you need to know because that’s all there is to it. To be fair, the Fast And Furious saga has always been about high-speed races and chases and less about character development or story. And as with preceding films, the background story in this sixth instalment is, quite literally, in the back seat with emphasis firmly on the ride rather than the destination. Neither is Furious 6 the type of film inclined towards rocket scientists or viewers searching for logic. George Smiley burrowing after a Soviet spy within MI6? No. Regular doses of humour peppered with death-defying stunts? Yes, and there is a truckload of it. This, essentially, is what makes Furious 6 subjectively indulgent, with or without the popcorn. However, there is food for thought and fans of the series could be split debating whether or not this film is the best in the series.

Although director Lin injects a fresh canister of cinematic nitro, this latest episode lacks a worthy antagonist despite the largest character ensemble ever in the series. On the same note, characters don’t die, and dead ones are brought back. While there is a timeline-unknotting-explanation for that, the fact remains that baddie Owen Shaw is heavily outnumbered, and it shows. After five globetrotting adventures, Dom’s ‘family’ has increased in size with many characters reappearing from previous films. In addition, Hobbs is no longer an advisory and along with his team of Special Forces sharp shooters becomes Dom’s souped-up armoury on wheels. There are also issues with continuity amid rip-off moments from iconic action films (think Lethal Weapon 3). Through all the vehicular carnage, characters can take a beating yet not surprisingly appear unfazed and unharmed. This carries on until the final skirmish on-board a cargo plane on what has to be the world’s longest runway! Real pilots in the audience would probably wet themselves laughing. But despite its flaws (some terribly absurd) Fast And Furious 6 is a high energy and competently made action film.

Fans are also treated to having Michelle Rodriguez back, and there is a whole subplot about her ‘new’ character. Tyrese Gibson is also back, but this time—more than ever—serves one real purpose: to shoot out some well-timed one liners.  As a summer opener, Fast And Furious 6 not only revs up the fun-o-meter, but also hurtles past other action film franchises. Bruce Willis, you listening? While it is unusual for sequels to get better with each release, the Fast & Furious franchise seems to mature with age and there is a very strong suggestion of a seventh instalment.  An end credits scene confirms this with the introduction of a new character. Pay attention to the film’s baldness joke and you might just figure out who joins the cast in the next movie.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.