Universal Pictures now has a superhero franchise. The only difference is that Dominic Toretto and his street racing crew have no magical powers. But they can punch, kick, fly, drive, and defy almost every law of physics imaginable. Forget street racing. Reunited, this crew is all about high tech espionage, entrapment, and showing no fear in the face of a battle tank and a plane. There’s no undercover mission or heist that needs to be pulled off this time around. No sir. Fast & Furious 6 is a mashup of pure brawn. Whether they be gorgeous women kicking the crap out of each other, the brainier dudes making witty chirps, or Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson tag teaming other big muscle men on a moving plane, Fast & Furious 6 is everything you could possibly want a flashy, tongue in cheek, action picture that is absolute mayhem from start to finish to be. It is, in one word, awesome.
This time around, the plot goes something like this: Dominic (Vin Diesel), Mia (Jordana Brewster), and Brian (Paul Walker) have settled down in an undisclosed, secluded location. But when a ruthless mercenary named Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his crew proves to be uncatchable, Hobbs requests that Dominic reassemble his team to help him take Shaw down. Dominic accepts the job when he finds out that Shaw’s second in command is none other than Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). The film essentially pits two crews against each other. We route for the one who likes to say family a lot and isn’t run by a murderous psychopath. But the film does show how similar to each other the crews are. Even Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) mocks this premise when he says the targets kind of resemble versions of themselves.
However, the main storyline that aims to hook you emotionally is how Dominic attempts to win back Letty. We learn that Letty wasn’t actually killed by Braga. Instead, she was in a coma. When she woke up, she couldn’t – and still doesn’t – remember anything, which is when Owen Shaw steps in to recruit her. There is a reason for this, but I don’t want to spoil anything. When Dominic is able to talk to Letty, that is when she’s not shooting at him, he tries to get her to remember their past. These scenes work really well, and the drama is convincing even when Vin Diesel uses his dark, rough, phone sex voice.
At this point, there really isn’t much to say about the acting. It’s perfectly fine for the kind of movie it wants to be. Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel take jabs at each other whenever they can. Tyrese and Ludacris continue to share a brotherly comradery while Han (Sung Kang) and Giselle (Gal Gadot) openly profess their desire to run away together. Even Elsa Pataky, who played Elena in Fast Five as the only honest cop in Rio, has a small bit here where she has to communicate a lot of what she’s thinking through her eyes, not with dialogue. Much of the comic relief as well as the familial bond this crew has with each other continues to help the audience believe that this crew can work well together. There is also an interesting relationship between Hobbs and Dom, since Hobbs was essentially hunting Dom in the previous movie, but is now trying to help pardon Dom and his crew of their crimes. The character dynamics work really well in this movie, and that’s in large part due to the cast knowing how to play off each other.
As I said before, Fast & Furious 6 is essentially a superhero movie. You have a villain with one goal in mind: to destroy things for the sake of destroying things. Then you have a group of likeable protagonists, all of whom have a specific set of skills that when combined together, make an unstoppable force. This force needs to work together in order to stop the looming threat. Along the way there are huge action set pieces, which in all honesty, is the whole reason why we’re here. And the scope of the action in this movie is on a whole new level. The crew has to fight a battle tank on a highway. They also have to fight one of Shaw’s crew members, who is lethal in hand to hand combat (played by Joe Taslim from The Raid: Redemption). The adversaries seem to be unstoppable as they keep throwing new obstacles in the way for our heroes, including a plane, but by combining their skills, Dominic and his crew can overpower. And director Justin Lin fully delivers on the action. Every sequence is pure high octane velocity. It helps that real live sets, cars, and props were used instead of CGI, because it just looks so much better. The hand to hand fight scenes were just pure adrenaline pumping fun. And it’s about time that some ladies were brought into the mix, such as MMA star Gina Carano, who is absolutely kick ass in her role in this film.
Fast & Furious 6 is easily the second best film in the franchise. I preferred the heist aspect of Fast Five, but that does not detract from Furious 6. It’s great to see a film that knows what it wants to be and executes it with skill and precision. This film is nothing but mindless fun in the best possible way. Sure you can question the moral implications of a tank mowing down cars presumably with people inside. But Fast & Furious 6 aims to be as close to a fantasy as it possibly can be. It wants you to have a fun time, and that’s exactly what I had. I loved this movie.