Director: Justin Lin Writer: Chris Morgan Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Luke Evans Running time: 100 minutes Year: 2013
The Fast And The Furious franchise has become a big deal following the success of last instalment Fast 5. Fast & Furious 6 is what you’d call a Ronseal film. It does exactly what it says on the tin. For a series which careened into public view by putting the everyman (Paul Walker) in the driver’s seat, six films in that formula remains steadfast. If it ain’t broke and all that.
In a twist of fate serving to tie together all the loose ends from the series, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his gang of petrolheads end up joining forces with CIA agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson.) This time Toretto and co. are dragged out of retirement to pin down nasty bastard Shaw (Luke Evans.) It’s a rather fortuitous happening, no doubt driven by Johnson’s likeable muscleman who managed to make the most of a one-dimensional character in Fast 5.
The plot is hidden in the shade of exposition spat out and forgotten immediately. But does it matter? Do we really need to know WHY Toretto’s crew are hot on the tail of the bad guys? Of course not. We want to see fast cars and shit getting blown up. Fans of the kinetic will revel in sequences which could have been lifted from any other film in the series. They’re what keep your mouth agog and your heart racing, and director Justin Lin manages to extend lengthy set pieces with the quippy diarrhoea mouth of Tyrese Gibson’s Roman. Along with Ludacris he steals the best lines.
To be honest, the dialogue stands out as the film’s weakest component. It is comprised of awful metaphors, the best being one Johnson delivers about a henhouse that goes on for long enough that it borders on black comedy. The script is bumped up with cheesy one-liners (“We’ve got company,” “Let’s have some fun,” “ Let’s do this.”) Then it’s hammed up to high heaven with throwaway guff that makes you wish the characters would adopt a vow of silence and take to the art of mime.
Haywire’s Gina Carano, a newcomer to the series, is shoe horned into the group as Hobbs’ new partner. A no-nonsense officer, she makes for a knock-out fighter (in real life she’s a MMA champion) and only speaks when there’s a gap available in the conversation. You know, when all the men let her talk. It’s frustrating that the talented female cast are not given more to do except fulfil boring, obvious roles.
Because the film proffers to a male clientele it sets a terrible example to youngsters who lap up this type of big budget fare with a spoon. It thinks little of its women, as they’re reduced to either simpering mother figures, useless amnesiacs, duplicitous bitches or suffer a terrible fate. Whereas the beefed up men escape with their machismo and lives in tact. Aren’t we getting past this broad spectrum misogyny? What about goddamn Thelma and Louise?! What about Resident Evil’s Alice?
By the time Fast 6 races towards the ending, you’re left in the dust over a baffling middle act. A disjointed turn around the midway mark sends the story skidding out of focus and getting lost amidst a pointless subplot involving Walker in prison. The actor has made a career from his surfer boy looks and the ability to make Diesel resemble something human. He too gets lost, along with the rest of the cast, during the grand finale.
You’re left wondering what was the point of most of the action. The seventh adventure is already in development and is scheduled to shoot this summer, with Saw director James Wan taking over. This knowledge alone lends some understanding to irrelevant scenes, which in light of that fact, may serve to bolster the follow-up. It’s not the strongest of the series by far, sullied by silly dialogue and a running time that’s almost as long as the finale’s neverending runaway.
Go for the amazing stunts and stay for the inherent awesomeness of Dwayne Johnson.
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