Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' The 10 Best Films Of 2004 The 10 Best Films Of 2004 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2003 First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

Review: 'Fast & Furious 6' Makes Cars Go Boom In A Mostly Satisfactory Way

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 13, 2013 at 6:09PM

Has there ever been a franchise like the "Fast & Furious?" Begun over ten years ago with a film most notable for its '50s-style B-movie title, "The Fast & The Furious," it was a modest sleeper hit. Before long the series saw its biggest draw, the potato-headed growl-monster Vin Diesel, exit the series before it really got going, leading to the Paul Walker solo outing "2 Fast 2 Furious." Unsurprisingly, the box office for that one took a hit, a trend that continued with the Walker-free third outing "The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift." But ever since the series has been on a constant upswing, with "Fast Five" making nearly half-a-billion dollars worldwide, and even winning some critical plaudits, at least for series veteran Justin Lin.
7
Fast & Furious 6

Has there ever been a franchise like the "Fast & Furious?" Begun over ten years ago with a film most notable for its '50s-style B-movie title, "The Fast & The Furious," it was a modest sleeper hit. Before long the series saw its biggest draw, the potato-headed growl-monster Vin Diesel, exit the series before it really got going, leading to the Paul Walker solo outing "2 Fast 2 Furious." Unsurprisingly, the box office for that one took a hit, a trend that continued with the Walker-free third outing "The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift." But ever since the series has been on a constant upswing, with "Fast Five" making nearly half-a-billion dollars worldwide, and even winning some critical plaudits, at least for series veteran Justin Lin.

Now, Lin's back for his fourth and final entry in the franchise "Fast & Furious 6" ("Saw" helmer James Wan is taking over for the already-greenlit seventh installment, due next summer), and Universal have pinned real hopes on the picture with a plum Memorial Day release date. So does the movie deliver what one would expect of holiday weekend blockbuster? Well, while there's a lot of fun to be had, 'Furious 6' doesn't quite hit the insane heights of "Fast Five," but we're sure it'll delight franchise fans who mostly want to see bald people butt heads, and moving vehicles crash into other moving vehicles.

Fast & Furious 6

After the events of the last film, Dominic Toretto (Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Walker) and the rest of their crew (Sung Kang, Ludacris, Tyrese and Gal Gadot) are living in blissful retirement. But their old Interpol nemesis Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) comes knocking with a new partner (Gina Carano of "Haywire"), and an offer: full pardons if the team will help him bring down Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), a former British special ops soldier turned thief, who's travelling Europe pinching parts for some kind of super-weapon to sell to the highest bidder. And to make things personal, Shaw is working with Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), Dominic's lost, believed-dead, now-amnesiac love.

If words like "amnesia" and "super-weapon" weren't enough of a clue, the film lets slip early that whatever loose connection it once had to reality is long since forgotten; the people and physics of "Fast & Furious 6" have more in common with "The Avengers" than they do with the first three films in the series. But, it helps that Lin is entirely conscious of this. There's a self-awareness of the rampant homoeroticism, the shaky dialogue and the general ridiculousness that keeps it fun and bouncy without disappearing entirely behind inverted commas. But it also means that the heroes can feel indestructible in a way that robs the movie of any tension, and the screenplay (again by Chris Morgan) largely forgets, at least  until very late in the game, to really keep the stakes up.

Fast & Furious 6

It's partly because of this that the first hour or so is pretty dire. There's an awful-lot of getting-the-gang back together, and a lot of hand-wringing about the relationship between Dom and Letty (though curiously not from the former's current girlfriend, who sends him off to find his ex without complaint,) and not all that much of the fun stuff. Even the first big-action set-piece, a London-set chase sequence, is underwhelming, with Lin losing the solid sense of geography, and much of the flair that marked the action sequences in "Fast Five."

Some enjoyably crunchy hand-to-hand fights, enabled by the addition of Carano and "The Raid" actor Joe Taslim, are better, but the film still never quite gets into top gear while it's in the U.K., and even less so with a sub-plot trip back to the U.S. that reunites Walker with a couple of leftovers from the fourth movie, which demonstrates both how redundant the actor is to the franchise, and how overly-concerned the writers are with the continuity of their own series (we're always pleased to see Shea Whigham on screen, but we're not sure even the most hardcore fan of these movies would really register his reappearance). Furthermore, 'Furious 6' lacks in having a truly memorable bad guy. Evans has presence, but nothing to work with on the page, and while the idea of his team being evil mirrors of our heroes is so insane that it's kind of funny, none make much of an impression beyond Taslim (who's underused).

Fast & Furious 6

Fortunately, the film hits some form once the action moves to Spain in the second half, with two enjoyably bonkers, particularly well-crafted set pieces that show what Lin can do when he's firmly in control. Everyone gets something to do, there's some truly impressive stunt work (alongside some slightly ropey CGI) and even some emotional beats, including one genuinely surprising, well-handled twist. The result is a finale that comes close to matching "Fast Five" for thrills, and certainly sends the audience out on a high (to say nothing of a mid-credits tease for the next movie that blew the roof off of the theater in our screening).

Chances are that you already know if you're seeing "Fast & Furious 6." And in part, that's because there's a certain solid reliability to the series: it does what it's meant to do (smash cars, smash planes, smash tanks, butt Mr. Potato Heads together) well, and doesn't really pay much attention to the rest of it. The closing act of the sixth movie is propulsive and enjoyable enough to keep up the positive vibes towards the series for now, but "Fast Seven" will have to be more consistent to ensure that the series makes it into double digits. [C+]


This article is related to: Fast & Furious 6, Fast and Furious 6, Review, Reviews, Luke Evans, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Gina Carano, Justin Lin


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates