When a gang of international criminals led by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) eludes all attempts at capture, special agent Hobbs (Dwayne The Rock Johnson) has run out of options. With nowhere else to turn, Hobbs approaches retired criminals/street race drivers Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) with the promise of information on the whereabouts of the believed-to-be-dead Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in exchange for the capture of Shaw. Dom’s reassembled crew of crooks teams with Hobbs to track down Shaw but they soon find that he is a much more capable adversary than anyone they’ve taken on before.
I was in high school when the first Fast and Furious came out and I embraced it as a bit of a guilty pleasure. The second and third installments, however, are brutal; genuinely bad movies (two especially). A second chance presented itself, though, as through the magic of HBO I was reacquainted with the series with number four and by the time Fast Five rolled around in 2011 (seriously one of the most enjoyable, rewatchable action movies of the last decade even if you’ve never seen another Fast and Furious movie), I was fully invested in the series again. I’ll make no bones about it: I love the Fast and Furious franchise. There is something extremely appealing about an action movie that knows exactly what it is and never takes itself too seriously and that is exactly what this series has become. Everything escalates from film to film but in some weird way each jump seems to be the next logical step for the franchise to make and Fast and Furious 6 is no different. It is bigger, badder, and more explosive than the last film which is exactly what it intends to be and exactly why I love it.
Look, this is not a film (or a series) that should be viewed with an overly critical eye. All reality must be suspended to sit in for Fast Six and if you can’t do that then you absolutely should not see this movie. If, however, you can leave not your brain but your, “That’s not possible!” sense at the door, you are unlikely to find a more entertaining, fun movie this year. Diesel and Walker, now completely comfortable in their characters and I believe thoroughly in on the joke, complement each other in a way that every romantic comedy pairing can only dream of. They are the Jordan and Pippen of driving fast cars and as a longtime fan of the franchise, it really is hilariously joyous to watch them work together (I truly, truly mean this). The surrounding cast play off of Diesel and Walker quite well with Ludacris, The Rock, and even Tyrese Gibson (long the black sheep of the Fast and Furious family) hitting the right note more often than not. Evans’ Shaw is the sort of solid if uninspiring villain that the franchise has been missing and given the events of the film (no spoilers), I can only guess that the ante will be upped tremendously in the next installment.
The real star of Fast Six, however, is director Justin Lin, just as it was with Fast Four and Fast Five. (By the way, I completely understand how ridiculous all of this sounds. The titles are probably the greatest weakness of the franchise.) You can definitely question Lin’s ability to structure dialogue and narrative or whether or not he understands the basics of physics, but you cannot question the man’s incredible grasp of action. I would go so far as to say that no one in the industry right now consistently produces better action sequences than Lin does and Fast Six is a brilliant example of this. His shot selection is impeccable and his mix of CGI and practical effects is nearly perfect. His ability to capture the coolness of a car chase, a heist, a shootout on the longest runway in the history of mankind is what makes Fast Six an absolute blast of a movie. Forget the plot holes and the massive leaps in the realm of what is actually humanly possible and instead, live your life a quarter mile at a time and just enjoy the NOS out of this one. Grade: A- (Rated PG-13 for some language, general comic book-ish violence, and some sexuality)