Friday, August 2, 2013

Fast & Furious 6

Directed by Justin Lin.
2013. Rated PG-13, 130 minutes.
Sung Kang
Gal Gadot
Elsa Pataky

At the end of Fast Five we were teased with the most soap operish of endings. One of our favorite characters, Letty (Rodriguez), was coming back from the dead for the next installment. And so, here we are. Our wait to see how her return plays out is over. The setup shows our heroes living high off the hog in exotic locales around the globe thanks to the money they made dragging a vault through the streets of Rio. Dom (Diesel) has something else he picked up while there: Elena (Pataky), the hot Brazilian cop who just couldn’t resist the Diesel engine. What? Too much? Anyhoo, Agent Hobbs (Johnson) shows up to fill Dom in on the fact that his thought to be deceased girlfriend is alive and kicking. The catch is she’s working for the newest bad guy, Owen Shaw (Evans), whom Hobbs is currently pursuing. With no hesitation, Dom rounds up the rest of the crew in London where all the madness is going down so they can get fast and furious. Six. Okay, that’s corny. You try. No? Let’s move on.

Like many an action movie, this one is at its worst when trying to explain itself. In other words, we don’t care one iota why Shaw is being such a dick, for lack of a better word. We sort of care about Letty’s situation. In true daytime drama fashion, she has amnesia. Let me back up a step. We actually don’t care about that either. We’re really just counting down the minutes until she figures out which team she’s supposed to be on. We’re also eye-balling part six’s buff female cop Riley, played by MMA fighter (and star of Haywire) Gina Carano and giddily awaiting the inevitable cat-fight between the two.

Two, my friends, is the magic number. That’s how many times our leading ladies square off. So good. So so good. I peek to make sure my wife isn't reading along as I type this. Aaaaannndd…the coast is clear. Anyhoo, that unabashed appeal to the shallow thirteen year old within us all has always been what works for this franchise. With Fast Five, the effort shifted into overdrive and never let up. FF6 travels the same road, but its pit stops are a tad longer. Otherwise, its commitment to the ridiculous is gloriously intact. We get more Dwayne Johnson being The Rock, more Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson trading insults. In fact, Tyrese is almost strictly comic relief. We also get more Paul Walker doing whatever Vin Diesel tells him to but somehow thinking he’s in charge and more of Sung Kang and Gal Gadot making googly eyes at each other. More than any of that, we get more crazy stunts involving not only cars, but a tank and a plane speeding down a runway that must be 50 miles long. And I’m not even joking a little bit about that last part.

Let’s back up to the cars for a moment. Know that I’m weeping on the inside as you read this because I’ll probably never have one. Our first real action scene involves something amazing. That something is not one, but two – yes, the magical two – two armored formula one racing cars. Sigh. May we please have a moment of silence for the untimely demise of all my other vehicular fantasies.

Thank you.

At the end of it all we get another really fun, but really dumb movie that is near impossible to resist. Sure, the dialogue is cheesy, the story is thin, and people act more out of convenience to the flimsy plot than anything remotely plausible. However, there’s an art to making watchable crap. It took a few movies to get it right, but these people have mastered it. How else to explain my total lack of disdain for the spectacular bridge stunt between Diesel and Rodriguez that makes the bridge scene in Fast Five feel somewhat realistic? And yes, we get another major promise (and closing of a loophole) right at the end. FF6 isn’t quite as good, or as terrible, as its predecessor, but it’s still so bad it’sawesome!

MY SCORE: -10/10

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