I prayed long and hard that “Fast & Furious 6” would continue the building antics of its predecessors, and hot damn did it ever.
I’ve been anticipating the sixth incarnation of this beyond over the top franchise ever since it was announced filming had started. The fans of these films pretty much knew another one was coming, but emotions run high once you hear the project is in production. So I patiently waited while hearing rumors of new villains and twists, but never feeling like the hype couldn’t match the product. My patience was rewarded last night when I caught the opening show, and I think the other audience members were nearly as hyped as I
was still am.
The thing that jumps out at me in comparison to all of the other installments is the overall physicality the cast took part in. The first two featured very small amounts of this, while things began to change with “Fast & Furious” [4th in line]. There were now more foot chases, elongated fight scenes and displays of improbable human ability. Brian (Paul Walker) had quite the chase scene in that movie, and I knew from that moment the Greek epic of a franchise had set sail for new territory.
Skip ahead to last night’s momentous release, and things have gotten very hands on. We get hand to hand combat featuring Hobbs (The Rock), Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Han (Sung Kang), Riley (Gina Carano) and Roman (Tyrese). Each of these cast members gets to show their stuff, or get shown the stuff as the case may be. I was surprised at how much effort went into the fight scenes. I don’t mean just how well they were executed, but in how much screen time was allotted. From the previews you can guess the showdown between Letty and Carano’s character, Riley, is the cream of the crop. It’s high impact, high tension and shows off Carano’s extreme athletic ability. The former MMA fighter is clearly in her element here.
Outside of Letty’s match against Riley, I think you’ll definitely enjoy seeing Roman and Han get their hands dirty. Again, a great piece of their stretch mixing it up is that the director gave them plenty of breathing room so that nothing felt rushed or thrown in for a cheap uptick in energy.
Chemistry is pretty good in this movie, and that’s to be expected when the majority of the cast has worked together. There could have been stumbles because the cast continues to grow from movie to movie, but this franchise doesn’t suffer from such issues. Everyone recognizes exactly where they fit in, and so do the writers and directors. No character is pushed in a direction that would hurt the overall outcome of the film. Toretto and Brian sit at the head of the table, while everyone else slides in at the correct seat. Also, Letty seamlessly folds back into the equation as if she never left. You’ll be able to sense the chemistry between cast and crew in the more humorous portions of film as well. The jokes hit their stride after being pretty much on the mark in “Fast Five”.
Did they just do that?
There are plenty of “oh, c’mon” moments in each one of these six movies, but the ante is upped every time. The car/bridge scene from “Fast Five” which opened the movie was beyond ridiculous, but it was equally entertaining. This time around you’ll hit that same mark about four or five times. There were audible “NO WAY, GET THE *BLEEP* OUT OF HERE” comments during one of these, and it was hilarious to hear! When the unbelievable is done correctly it’s quite fun to watch. The audience suspended belief, briefly came back to reality and then reconciled that suspense of belief is the better route. A fun, albeit small, moment. The progression from simple drag racing with some so-so moments to spy level theatrics is a very interesting line of evolution.
There are no big surprises here, and certainly no let downs. If you’re planning on seeing “Fast & Furious 6” because you’re a car lover, you’ve come to the right place. There are some strong vehicle scenes, although they don’t really do much racing anymore. There’s really just one or one and a half of these if you’re looking for a pure race. Everything else would fall into the chase or vehicular warfare categories. The franchise built it’s audience on street racing dipped in lots of glitz and glam, but it’s far removed from needing to solely rely on that aesthetic. I’m pleased by this, because it allows for any number of preposterous storylines to develop. Oh, and believe me that fans of these movies love the preposterous aspects.
You’re a lost cause if you can’t tell what I think of this movie already. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Is it going to win best film of the year? No, but why should anyone care about that? This is pure fun, and it delivers on all levels. I can find beauty, twisting plots and transformative acting elsewhere. I don’t want any of that with my furiously fast movies, because it’s considered nonsense here. So yes, I strongly suggest you go see “Fast & Furious 6”. I saw it on night one, and I plan on seeing it again in the coming days. I wish I could give you more, but you know I like to leave plenty to be seen while still painting a decent picture.
Note: I did not and will not review Iron-Man 3 or Pain & Gain, but I recommend them. I’m just too lazy to write anything for either one of them after allowing so much time to pass since seeing them.
Note II: I broke my self imposed word count for these reviews, and it felt great.