Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson
You may like this if you liked: Is that really relevant?
Well, for those of you not up to speed with the franchise so far, after their successful Rio heist Dom (Diesel), Brian (Walker) and the gang are left with a fortune but wanted by the law. They are now living separate lives across the globe unable to return to their home countries. When Hobbs (Johnson) pays Dom a surprise visit he even more ‘surprisingly’ asks for his help: For Dom to get his team back together to help catch a ruthless and highly organised criminal organisation lead by Owen Shaw (Evans – typical British bad guy) who conveniently likes to drive fast cars really fast as well. To persuade Dom, Hobbs shows him images that show his presumed dead ex-wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) working with this organisation. Dom agrees and his team (or ‘family’ as they like to call themselves) vow to join him, providing Hobbs can provide them all with full pardons when they have caught Shaw and brought his organisation down. So our beloved gang of criminals travel to London to catch Shaw and allow director Justin Lin to include every possible London landmark and the usual casual English stereotyping that we have come to expect from Hollywood films.
Usually when a franchise reaches number six there is very little fuel left in the tank and it often finds itself in neutral or even reverse. Thankfully it appears the wheels have not come off and when number six is this much fun, then in my view it was the right decision not to put the brakes on just yet. What left the starting grid as some reasonably serious action film about the culture of street car racing has basically been gradually modified into another franchise of silly mindless blockbusters. Thankfully those involved now know this and in my view FF6 is the most outrageously entertaining by far. Justin Lin has been in the driving seat since number three and knows exactly what route to take in order to pick up an increasing number of happy passengers.
The plot is an extremely basic model with in fact very little modifications but was this ever going to be about plot? Of course not! As the ‘plot’ picks up the pace and moves frantically through the gears, the set pieces become increasingly loud, frenetic and downright outrageous with reason and physics often being conveniently forgotten. There is an even bigger cast list with everyone along with Rodriguez returning as well as Gina Carano as Hobb’s new sidekick and Luke Evans and his gang. However the script seems to have a strong enough suspension to carry the weight of such a big cast list and the aerodynamics of this ever increasing cast work well with banter and one liners being given mainly to Johnson (probably contractual) as well as Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris. Though some ‘humorous’ moments are more down to laughing AT rather than WITH.
However, the cracks in the bodywork of Chris Morgan’s script begin to show when the action takes a pit stop and we are left with ‘plot’. The tank definitely does feel to be running on pure fumes when the more ‘serious’ moments occur that simply feel like unnecessary speed bumps, such as the extremely lazy explanation of why Letty is actually alive and cringe worthy scenes where Dom tries to remind her who she ‘truly is’ almost feel like Justin Lin has fallen asleep at the wheel. Of course this being an American film set in London, expect the usual causal racism of us English either being upper class toffs or cockney geezers. Rita Ora (no I don’t know why either) starting a race declaring “this is London baby” suggests that maybe they have watched a little too much Austin Powers. These are minor blips of pace as the film very quickly puts its foot down once again and motors on with another spectacular action set piece.
As we speed towards the film’s two major final set pieces maybe Justin Lin had run out of money to put into the parking meter and we head to Spain following Shaw’s crew, as Vin Diesel eloquently explains “he is in a different country”. If the London action set pieces involved solely cars, we now have more. Much more. The sequence on a Spanish motorway involves a tank and the film’s final set piece is not only set on by far the world’s longest runway, but naturally involves a humongous aeroplane. Despite this, this never feels like too much fine tuning as they actually produce very little wheel spin and just add to the consistent aerodynamic flow of the story. It is beyond description how audacious these are, but they are so loud, frantic and ludicrous that it is impossible not to be entertained. There are of course some huge p(l)ot holes on the road of the narrative, but when it is all this much fun and the film shows know concern for logic or the basic rules of science, does it really matter?
Well what did you expect? It was never going to be Shakespeare was it?!? Fast and Furious 6 is the most ludicrous, loud and frantic of the franchise so far showing no concern for, well anything. Yes it is as flawed as hell in terms of plot and the script continuously develops punctures inducing laughs at more than with. However this may well be in my view summer’s most ludicrously entertaining ride. Get in, sit back, lock the doors and remember to put your seat belt on!