Fast & Furious 6
Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson & Paul Walker
Directed by Justin Lin
PG-13, 130 min.
Misfit auto-zoniacs return for more fast-lane escapism
“Our old life is done,” Vin Diesel’s character, Dom, tells his partner, Brian (Paul Walker), as watch over Brian’s newborn son in the tender opening scene of the sixth installment of this high-octane movie franchise about insanely souped-up cars, adrenaline-pumping chases, explosively choreographed crashes and brutally punishing, knock-down fights.
So those reckless, outside-the-law days of yore are over? Ha! Don’t bet on it!
In just a matter of minutes, they’re off and running on their next gear-grinding caper of summer-movie fast-lane escapism.
This time around, Dom, Brian and other members of their group of misfit auto-zone-iacs (who now happen to be international-refugee millionaires, thanks to the heist they pulled in their previous flick) are offered amnesty if they’ll help special American agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) bring down a European über-criminal (Luke Evans) with his own team of hotfooted daredevil drivers---and weapons specialists.
The “Fast and Furious” movies, which launched in 2001, make few pretenses about what they’re about; they all put it right up front on the hood ornament. They’re heavy on hot rods and hot bods, and action that is, indeed, fast as well as furious.
And they’re outrageously and unapologetically over-the-top defiant of the laws of physics that normally govern ordinary high-speed motor-vehicle behavior, and of the results of what typically happens to real people inside and outside those vehicles in the real world.
“FF6” has all the requisite street thrills that fans of the franchise have come to expect, but kicks things even more with a couple of bravura scenes, one featuring an extended interstate melee involving a hijacked, monstro Army tank, and another with a jumbo transport plane taxiing for takeoff as an assortment of brawling is going on in, underneath and around it.
In addition to Johnson, Diesel and Walker, others returning to their roles include Jordana Brewster as Mia, Tyrese Gibson as Roman, rapper Ludacris as Tej, and Michelle Rodriguez as Letty, who turns out not to be as dead as she was previously thought to be. Using recurring characters gives the FF movies a kind of “family reunion” feel, a concept “6” expands into its bona fide theme, from the opening scene to its closing.
There’s a bit of grease-pit romance, a good deal of snappy humor, and even some sentimentality. And if you’re a real fan, stick around until the end of the credits for a sneak peek at someone you’ll recognize from an earlier movie who’ll apparently be coming back for FF7.
At one point in the movie there’s a huge, flaming explosion, a conflagration that would in any real-world scenario have resulted in dozens of fatalities. But wouldn’t you know it: Out of the flames emerges virtually the entire cast of the movie for its curtain call, not even singed, and only slighted sooted.
The FF movies may not be cinematic masterpieces, but by golly gosh, they just keep coming---pure grilled cheese right out of the fire, loud, proud, furiously fast, gloriously, gratuitously gonzo, and apparently nowhere anywhere near finished.