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Sunday, May 26, 2013

FAST & FURIOUS 6: REVIEW


About The Movie:

Fast & Furious 6 picks up after the successful Rio heist in Fast Five, with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew having given up their lives of crime, spending their hard-earned (read: stolen) money jet setting, wooing supermodels – or in the case of Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), adjusting to fatherhood. All seems well until Diplomatic Security Service Agent, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), tracks Toretto down, requesting the team’s assistance in stopping an international terrorist – in exchange for full U.S. pardons.


Toretto agrees to help and the rest of his crew assemble in London, where they come face-to-face (or car-to-car) with infamous Ex-Special Forces soldier-turned-robber Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), along with his team of cold-blooded killers and expert gear-heads. With only days to stop Shaw from acquiring a dangerous piece of technology, Toretto and his team find themselves out-manned, out-gunned, and forced into taking desperate measures in order to stop the terrorist before he can sell his weapon to the highest bidder.

What Is Good/Bad About The Movie:

This latest entry successfully pushes the film series to bigger and more outrageous heights, sometimes at the expense of believability but that’s what we like, right? However, there’s little doubt that franchise fans will be disappointed by this installment. The car stunts are bigger and crazier than ever before, easily outdoing the scale of the previous installment.

This installment works extremely hard to balance franchise legacy elements with recent additions from Fast Five and, as a result, the core Toretto arc is punctuated with clumsy storytelling that can be awkward at times (but not outright distracting). It’s all forgivable, but given the amount of time dedicated to the character’s personal journey, emotional beats never quite deliver on their promises of compelling drama.

Walker’s Brian O’Conner is marginalized this time, given a downright bizarre side-story that could have easily been left out of the film entirely. However the character remains a key member of the crew (and a counterpoint for Toretto), but with the addition of more interesting side-characters like Luke Hobbs (Johnson), O’Conner’s contributions this round are some of the least memorable. The dynamic between Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) help off-set the emotionally charged Toretto plot with fun banter as well as misadventures – and, as mentioned, Hobbs (along with partner Riley, played by Gina Carano) add plenty of bone-crushing fisticuffs to the mix.

Shaw, aided by a strong (but ice-cold) performance from Luke Evans, serves as a good foil for Toretto and his gang, showing how differences in the team leaders result in their respective successes and failures. Toretto’s reliance on his family is his greatest vulnerability whereas Shaw views his team members as nothing more than engine parts (each with their own expiration date). This analogy get a bit heavy-handed by the end, but it serves as a fun opportunity to see Toretto and the team face a colder and more calculated set of doppelgangers.

The film never takes the necessary time to make sense of several key character moments sacrificing development, explanations, and/or emotional catharsis for the sake of keeping the film’s pacing up. Of course, impactful drama has never been the primary goal of the Fast & Furious series and for that reason, it’s hard to imagine that returning viewers will be underwhelmed by the offerings in Fast & Furious 6.

Overall Grade: B+

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