Fast & Furious 6 Movie Review
Writing a movie review with a hangover is not fun. Watching Fast and Furious 6 is more fun, as long as you check your brain at the door, weld the lock and place armed guards out front.
Following Fast Five, where federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) let Brian (Paul Walker) and Dominic (Vin Diesel) go after destroying downtown Rio and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars, the crew is reassembled to track down thief/terrorist Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), who has hired someone near and dear to Dominic's heart: Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), who died several movies back. Why Hobbs needs Dominic is beside the point, as are most other items related to plot, story or character development.
But this is Fast and Furious 6, and if there's one thing the franchise is good at, it's embracing absurdity, owning it and delivering lots of action and comedy. In this regard, returning director Justin Lin's latest sequel is a fun and entertaining ride.
With the surprise blockbuster success of Fast Five, Lin was armed with a presumably massive budget to go all out this round, and he does. The film is packed with car chases, car races, explosions, gunfights, fistfights and more, and for the most part the sequences are elaborate and exciting. Exactly what you want from an action movie.
The film is relatively funny, too, as the characters joke with and mock each other throughout. The humor is pretty repetitive, however, and often strained; whereas Fast Five had all cylinders firing, Fast and Furious 6 feels just a little off kilter, the writing a little weaker and the cast seemingly just a little less enthusiastic about dealing with forced dialogue. Vin Diesel looks tired playing Dominic yet again, well aware that, like with Paul Walker, no one cares to see him doing anything else. Dwayne Johnson, whose introduction in the previous entry was a stroke of genius, also doesn't flex his muscles as much.
More than anything, Fast and Furious 6 struggles to fit square pegs into round holes. In Fast Five, the plot generally made sense, as did the involvement of the various characters. This time, Lin and crew ask the audience to suspend disbelief a little more, to look the other way when it comes to plot, story development and character motivations, or why Michelle Rodriguez is in the movie at all (complete amnesia, of course, and yet she still managed to fall into driving fast cars for a criminal organization), or why the final 30 minutes is so ridiculously over-the-top.
And the ending is ridiculously over-the-top. There is one moment toward the end of a major action scene that caused the audience to burst out laughing because of its absurdity; the franchise almost pulls it off, but then you ask yourself, why was that moment even needed? The film then leads to a "twist" that is really just an excuse for one more big action scene, which involves a giant Russian cargo plane (haven't seen that before!) and the world's longest runway.
You get the sense that the filmmakers didn't really sit down to question whether their movie actually makes sense. Because it really doesn't.
But that's neither here nor there. This is Fast and Furious 6 we're talking about, and the movie owns its ridiculousness. From an action and entertainment perspective, the film delivers what audiences want, and for that it should be commended. Still, it's not as good as Fast Five primarily due to a weak plot and mediocre script. The thought that this movie could have been so much more just adds to my hangover.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.