Fast Five was one of 2010’s most entertaining movies – and the best of the series to that point. It switched from underground racing to the heist genre with as smooth a move as any. Furious 6 movies into the realm of terrorism with almost as much panache, but sometimes going bigger isn’t always better – though 6 comes ridiculously close.
Furious 6 opens with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) racing along a narrow, two-line highway with many switchbacks. These two may be retired but they will never stop being competitive – only the reason for the race is different.
After they fail to stop a heist pulled off with the kind of timing that Dom and his crew could pull off, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) pays a call on his erstwhile antagonist/unlikely ally to ask for help. When Dom turns him down cold, he whips out the photo of the presumed dead Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and points it out is was taken barely a week ago.
Everything about Furious 6 is bigger than Fast Five. One of the thefts is of a tank – for a single microchip!
Once again, the laws of physics need not apply – cars do things that cars simply should not to be able to do; fights range from a really gritty girlfight to a faceoff between Hobbs and a guy who more than matches him in size and ill intent; fast cars tackle a giant jet freight plane, and of course, there’s Letty.
I can even begin to describe the insanity that fills the screen for the two hours plus that the movie runs, but I can say that everyone from Fast Five is back and that the addition of Gina Carano, as Hobbs’ number two, Riley, is especially welcome. She makes her fight sequences, both with Rodriguez, something marvel at (and cringe during).
Furious 6 is big, fast, dumb fun. It is beautifully shot, fast-paced, and has all the elements that make these movies fun – fast cars, gorgeous women (a good many stylishly scantily clad), great fight sequences, stuff getting blowed up real good and just the exact amount of heart to make us forgive its over-the-top exuberance.
The idea of Dom’s crew taking on team of evil twins could have been a huge mistake, but by playing Dom’s belief in family against head bad guy Shaw’s belief in efficiency (his team works on the assumption that any one part can be replaced without damaging the whole, but he doesn’t really ‘care’ about any of them), we’re given extra reason to want Dom’s crew to kick a little tuchus.
This is the first true ‘turn you brain off and eat popcorn’ movie of 2013 and I’ll give odds that come the end of the year it will be the most entertaining (best being a relative term here). Plus, there’s a great tag that lit up the theater at the screening I attended.