Fast and Furious 6 Review

The Plot:

Agent Hobbs decides to fight fire with fire by enlisting the help of outlaw Dominic Toretto and his team of legendary street racers to bring down a former Special Ops soldier Owen Shaw who is leading a unit specializing in vehicular warfare on a crime spree across the globe.

The Good:

Over six films the Fast and Furious franchise has entirely recovered its original cast and gradually evolved into a unique blockbuster brand of high speed heists and action adventure.  The series has driven itself thousands of miles away from the speed racing themed Point Beak remake it started as. It now arrives in London for a sixth outing with a well-established blueprint for emphatic box office success.

The winning Fast and Furious formula remains fairly simple but consistently effective. It’s an expensive array of supercharged supercars driven beyond the limits of physics by attractive people, with the help of a good soundtrack and reasonable CGI. Groomed over the past five films the distinctive style of the high octane vehicular action is now as polished and overblown as it ever will be.  The stunts may be ludicrously larger than life, but it’s at least in keeping with the tongue in check comedic tone of the latest film.

Thankfully Fast and Furious 6 is knowingly silly rather than just accidentally hilarious. It plays unashamedly for laughs and milks its best comedic assets like the Rock and Ludacris for all they’re worth. That comedy combined with the series trademark eye candy and even more frequent fight scenes keeps the film a watchable fun ride.

The film makes the most out of the hulking muscular presence of Vin Diesel and The Rock, as well as the considerable cat-fighting skills of Michelle Rodriguez and former MMA star Gina Carano.  Almost the entire cast finds themselves given an excuse for a bruising punch up this time, helping to plug any long gaps between car chases with physical action instead of prolonged dialogue.

Franchise fans will be pleased to see all the familiar faces back and perhaps especially happy to see Michelle Rodriguez return from the dead to re-join the cast. Newcomer Luke Evans also does a good job of posing a credibly imposing threat as the new villain of the piece. Of course Paul Walker and Vin Diesel retain all their usual charms.

The Bad:

At high speed in the middle of a well-orchestrated mess of vehicular mayhem and destruction the acting skills of the series large ensemble cast are adequate and largely irrelevant. Everyone’s at least capable of exclaiming ‘Oh Yeah!’ or ‘That’s how we do it!” whilst enthusiastically shifting gears for the next explosive CGI car stunt. Unfortunately, whenever the film attempts to drop the pace for some emotional drama the cast struggle to keep up.  Vin Diesel is simply more plausible and fun growling angrily at his car than mumbling sweet nothings at Michelle Rodriguez.

In the last Fast and Furious film agent Hobbs was insistent that you should never let these people get into cars (because it’s too dangerous), the truth is audiences might actually prefer it if you never let them out of the cars. Unless perhaps, it’s for a fight.

Speaking of Michelle Rodriguez, having died in one of the previous sequel, her return to life is handled with the kind of sophistication you’d expect from a daytime TV soap, complete with embarrassingly convenient amnesia. There are rare moments when even the biggest explosion can’t distract from how implausible such proceedings are.

While the film will undoubtedly benefit from the aggressive publicity campaign that promoted its release, it’s also worth warning that the endless parade of trailers and clips shared far too much of the film’s action scenes in their enthusiasm to lure audiences into the cinema. Even the film’s climax might leave you feeling a sense of slightly disappointed Déjà vu.

The Ugly Truth:

Fast and Furious 6 delivers a package of uncomplicated high speed action that will satisfy both existing fans of the franchise and most casual blockbuster crowds.  A steady stream of laughs, car stunts and action helps props up a simple plot and speed the franchise towards an inevitable seventh film.

Red Carpet Video Interviews with Vin Diesel the cast and director Justin Lin below from the world premiere in London:

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