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'Fast 6': Silly, Speedy, And Certain To Cash In.
Hot pursuits: Agents Hobbs and Riley (Dwayne Johnson and Gina Carano) to combat a something something terrorist something skidding explosions muscles.
For gearhead purists, the Fast and the Furious franchise is
an ongoing heresy, the sins adding up with each new sequel. The appeal
of the genre has always been its simplicity: Greasers racing for pink
slips, their muscle cars grinding and screeching and speeding into the
The Fast and the Furious has moved the genre
into the digital era, replacing the force of metal against metal with
the unreal bobbing and weaving of an arcade game. And now at five
sequels and counting, it's become freighted with the mythology of a
George R.R. Martin series, with characters and incidents cobbled
together like so many spare parts under a giant chassis.
The 2011 entry, Fast Five, intelligently accommodated the bloat by bringing the gang together for an Ocean's Eleven-style
heist in Rio. The streamlined plot had the effect of channeling the
series' excesses into a handful of giddily over-the-top action set
pieces. The CGI ballet of flying sports cars and twisted wreckage may
insult the physics of gearhead classics — to say nothing of the laws of
Isaac Newton — but no one could say director Justin Lin doesn't go full
Now, with the series' lovable rogues dispersed to
various tropical locales, each living high off their share of $100
million in ill-gotten money, Fast & Furious 6 has to find a new reason to bring them all together — and it's not nearly so graceful with the heavy lifting.
Porting over a plot from some generic spy thriller, Furious 6 opens with Dwayne Johnson's DDS agent from Fast Five
coaxing Dominic (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker), and the rest of
their crew (Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Sung Kang and Gal Gadot, among
others) to stop a powerful mercenary with terrorist designs.
British Special Forces operative Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), now an
underground operator with deep connections, seeks a computer chip that
could lead to mass destruction in the wrong hands. The authorities,
naturally, are are too weak and/or corrupt to bring him to justice.
Dominic and Brian have no interest in risking their necks for Johnny
Law, but when it's revealed that Dominic's deceased former girlfriend
Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is actually alive and running with Shaw's
gang, they're eager to rescue her and bring her back into the family.
(Fans will recall that Letty died in Fast & Furious, the
fourth of the series, and the groundwork for her return was laid at the
end of the last entry; death has about as much finality in Fast times as it does in a daytime soap.)
Fast 6 pits Shaw's crew against Dominic's in a high-tech
battle royale, but it has a devil of a time explaining why everyone
should hop into their cars. The obligatory here — in a London that
looks no different from the scenes in Miami or Rio — is such an
afterthought that the big race has no finish line and no winner. Lin
peppers the film with action beats, including a good piece of
hand-to-hand combat in a subway station, but the fact is that the
surveillance work necessary to track down Shaw is more practically
accomplished on foot.
That leaves Fast & Furious 6 to
invest the lion's share of its resources in a highway duel that's as
cheerfully ridiculous as any sequence in the series. (One word: tank!)
For a 15-minute stretch, Lin and his effects team cut loose with
high-speed jousting, massive explosions and countless feats of
derring-do no actual human could survive.
It's glorious while
it lasts, but then the film goes back to figuring out how to keep its
oversized vessel from taking on water. And that's more hard work than