“You don’t turn your back on family, even when they do.”
All roads lead to this, just with more road after “this.” Fast & Furious 6 finds the members of the Dominic Toretto/Brian O’Conner super crew (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker), living very comfortably after pulling off the job of the century in Rio de Janeiro. For some, like Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Han (Sung Kang) and Giselle (Gal Gadot), comfortable is living lavishly and traveling county to county. For others like Dom and Brian, comfortable is just living with loved ones. Regardless of their definition, they are all free.
And yet there is something missing because living free doesn’t mean fulfilling if you can’t return home. While their incomplete lives are being lived, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is after an elite street gang headed by dangerous mastermind Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). As this pursuit has trekked across the globe, Hobbs knows there’s only one way to catch wolves: With wolves. This means asking the crew to reassemble again, and despite Dom’s resistance, Hobbs shows evidence of Dom’s past lover Letty alive with the rival gang. The promise of full pardons and potential of reuniting with Letty is enough to hop back in the driver’s seat one more time.
Once again, the laws of physics have no place in the F&F universe. Fast & Furious 6 follows very much in the trailblazing, franchise-rebranding path of Fast Five, focusing on full-scale car chases, open-environments shootouts, and white-knuckle faceoffs. Is it dumb entertainment? Sure. Is it highly entertaining? Without a doubt.
Director Justin Lin goes bigger and more outlandish with about everything in F&F6 from an action perspective, which is impressive because F5 was nothing to scoff at either. Want to see a tank take out a complete highway? Maybe a wild finale on a plane featuring the longest runway known to man? Or perhaps a simple, good ol’ catfight or two? All of that is here, some of it more ridiculous than others, but the implausibility hardly matters because it looks so awesome and full of unbridled mayhem, with only the rare occasion where CGI sticks out too much.
Though familiarity with the franchise isn’t needed to enjoy the pedal-to-the metal set pieces, a level of it makes for more connection with the story and namely the characters who make up F&F. The actual story is nothing more than a gang trying to stop another gang from getting/creating some high-tech military piece that can shut down an entire region (or something), but the real story that has been fueling the series for sometime now is the bond between family and friends. It is the type of thing that may be overly sentimental and not mean much to those who haven’t spent time with thees movies, but for those that have a level of investment exists, and it gives a layer of emotion and feeling as crazy as that may sound.
Lasting over 10 years has meant a lot in the way of chemistry and banter. When Fast & Furious 6 isn’t busy rewriting Newton’s laws or trying to give some middling efforts to the plot, it is more than happy with letting its characters talk and crack jokes, which are legitimately comical, especially anything having to do with Tyrese as Roman Pearce. Whether he is delivering lines or taking them from other crew members like Tej, Han, Giselle, or Hobbs. In a lot of ways, the movie does comedy better than actual comedies.
Back to Hobbs for a second. While he may not be the “antagonist” he was in the latter movie throwing down against Toretto and O’Conner, his presence and bold, no nonsense persona is on display throughout, with a little bit of humor thrown in just like his wrestling days as The Rock. As important as he is (and he is very), Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are still the guys driving this vehicle, and what Mia (Jordana Brewster) states about Dom and Brian being stronger together than apart applies to the actors themselves.Call it a bromance if needed, but the two are just akin to peanut butter and jelly in the way they mesh.
Coming back into the fray is Michelle Rodriguez, still robotic in delivery but also at the forefront of many of the film’s best fight scenes. It is nice to see her return here. Lastly, Luke Evans serves as the heroes’ foil, and he isn’t a dud, but his character and crew never seem to serve as a true formidable force to the honorable gang. Ultimately, Evans’ greatest contribution may be serving as a launching pad to potentially the series’ greatest villain as seen in the post credits.
The roads aren’t the only terrain occupied. It isn’t the reinvention like Fast Five was, but Fast & Furious 6 continues on what was built there with more characters, more humor, and more explosive action. The engine’s still revving.
Photo credits go to planetofmovies.com, aceshowbiz.com, & cinema.theiapolis.com.
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