Honestly, Fast and Furious 6 isn’t the sort of film I queue up at the counters for — it has a lot of cars, a lot of muscle, and a lot of characters whose lives I’m not familiar with. I have vague memories of Tokyo Drift, and don’t think I’ve seen any of the others in the series. But, Fast and Furious 6 is surprisingly entertaining, with enough quips to offset the madness of constant highway mayhem.
The opening scene tells us the most important things about the film — that there will be rather lame red herrings throughout, and that the action sequences will be shot very well. The last part of this franchise apparently had the good guys abandoning their governmental duties to help the car thieves with a heist. This time round, this “family” of street racers – and international criminals – is on the right side of the law. The sixth installment of the film benefits from a British villain (Luke Evans) — seriously, they’re so much more fun than Hispanic and Russian bad boys.
The title sequence contains images that brought me up to speed with everything that’s happened so far, thus proving that 12 hours of footage could have been packed into three minutes. But that should make a fun flashback for fans of the series.
We then move on to cop Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) rattling off the achievements of his new (and female) partner. She’s suitably impressed by everything he does — which is essentially beating up detainees with WWE moves, and zipping across the world, tracking down the scattered members of Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel’s) outfit. They need Toretto because he heads the good-bad guys.
The bad-bad guys have just hit a US military convoy, part of an elaborate plan to steal a chip worth billions of dollars. The carrot Hobbs dangles before Dominic is a character who’s back from the dead. Toretto’s calls to his band give us insights into their studiedly cool personalities, down to a tacky message on the tail blade of a plane.
Even as the cars wind their way through spectacular crashes, their drivers make the time for introspection and romance. Of course, there are the mandatory self-consciously macho lines (mostly uttered by a wooden Johnson) and self-consciously sexy moves (an anorexic-looking woman croons, “One thing you boys are forgetting — he’s a man” before catwalking to a pawn of the villain’s). Of course, the set pieces culminate in a climax straight out of ‘RAW is WAR’ (Is it still called that?). Vin Diesel gets to showcase all the expressions he believes he is capable of. In this world, you can woo a woman with, “V8...you never could resist American muscle” and “Show me how you drive, I’ll tell you who you are”. This is balanced by some brilliantly-timed self-deprecatory gags from Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges and Tyrese Gibson.
The film is completely ridiculous, its outcomes impossible, but it leaves us looking forward to the next edition, with its promise of another villain in its post-credits scene.