Review by John
Over the years since I first watched The Fast and the Furious way back in 2002 I’ve watched the franchise, actors and characters grow giving birth to one of the best action franchises ever, and along the way I’ve come to like and even care a little bit about the characters in the films and you would not think with the type of films that Fast and Furious 6 along with their predecessors are, which is astounding because well Vin Diesel and Paul Walker have managed to do it again, in that they have created yet another fun and entertaining film in the long running Fast and Furious franchise. It is truly remarkable in what Original Films and Universal Studios have done with this simple franchise that started back in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious. The Fast and the Furious was a relatively low budget film about street racing, good looking guys, gorgeous women and exceptional action with limited star power in its little known cast. You would not think The Fast and the Furious would be a break out hit grossing over one hundred and forty million domestically and over two hundred million worldwide, the film did. Original and Universal found an untapped niche in the urban crowd and Underground Street racing and brought it mainstream.
It is perhaps even more remarkable that it has had the longevity that the franchise has had lasting up to what are now six films and a seventh coming out next year. The Fast and Furious franchise has done what no other franchise has done outside of the horror genre or reboots. Most franchises die or get rebooted after the second or third film, and it did look like the Fast and Furious franchise was going to die after the disappointing 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) and the bad The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006). Those two films were relatively entertaining, but did not have the same feel as the first film, and definitely not the same heart as The Fast and the Furious. How did the franchise manage to survive? Not by rebooting its self like so many film franchises do no, but instead reinventing its self and returning to its roots like the franchise did in 2009’s Fast and Furious bringing back the original cast, creating a good yet simple story, returning to Los Angeles and of course revving up the action. Fast and Furious was a huge success revitalizing the franchise, and 2011’s Fast Five took the franchise to a whole new level in the scope of the action along with bringing in the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and grossing over six hundred million worldwide. Did the Fast franchise continue their remarkable film journey with another quality film with Fast and Furious 6? The answer is an unquestionably yes, but not without a few bumps along the road.
The film opens with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) racing down a narrow mountain road on the Canary Islands. They arrive just in time for Brian and Dom’s sister Mia Toretto’s (Jordana Brewster) child to be born. Yes, racing and action are have a big importance in the franchise, but perhaps the biggest themes in the film are family and friendship, which plays out in all the films and plays an important role in the film. While Dom, Brian, Mia and Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky) welcome the newest member of their family Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) along with his new partner Riley (Gina Carano) arrive in Moscow, Russia after a military transport was hit by a professional crew using cars led by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). Hobbs can think of only one team good enough to take down Shaw and his team. Hobbs finds Dom and manages to convince Dom to help him by showing him a picture of Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez). Letty of course was believed to have been killed back in Fast and Furious. This gets Dom to help Hobbs and brings his team back together to take down Shaw and bring Letty home.
The plot of Fast and Furious 6 is perhaps the franchises most complicated one and in that it is flawed. One of the biggest weaknesses in the plot is Gina Carano character Riley. I will not give anything away, but once you learn more about the character in the film the reasoning for her character being in the film does not make a whole lot of sense especially dealing with Letty. Then there is the Letty issue. She was supposedly killed off back in Fast and Furious, so did the writers manage to make her return believable and the answer is yes. First they had to answer how she was alive and then why was Letty with Shaw’s crew. The writers did a believable job with showing how Letty survived the events of Fast and Furious, and did a decent job explaining how Letty ended up with Shaw’s crew. Overall the writing done to bring back Letty was believable, but also a stretch. The other flaw in the film was dealing with Shaw and explaining what he was trying to achieve, which the script did not do a real good job explaining. Besides that the story is good mixing elements of humor, action and drama well. I do wish Universal and Justin Lin brought back Leo Tego and Omar Santos. The two were only minor characters, but I still enjoyed the two characters in the two previous films. In the film, there is also a major character death and a mention of things to come for Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang) and what transpires in Tokyo Drift, which takes place after this film, but I will not go into details for those of you who have not seen this film or Tokyo Drift.
All right enough about the story and let’s get to what everyone truly comes to these films for is the racing, action and carnage that is the trademark of Fast and Furious films, and those fans will not be disappointed. The action in Fast and Furious 6 is thrilling and non-stop. There is a thrilling car chase scene on the streets of London, England with Shaw and his crew using what looks like armored Indi 500 cars that is extremely well done and orchestrated. Unbelievably there is a fabulous scene at an airport and cargo plane that is stunning. Then of course there is the scene with the tank, but I will not give more about that scene away. The Rock brought his muscled bound body and laid waste to his opponents in awesome fashion as usual. Everything was not perfect with the action. There is one scene during the middle of the film that was not well done, and really did not add up plot wise, and again it involved Riley and Letty, but that was my only real complaint with the otherwise great action in the film.
The remarkable journey of the Fast and Furious franchise will come to an end one day soon but until then enjoy the thrilling ride, which Fast and Furious 6 brings us with non-stop action, a pretty good script and decent action. While not on the same level as Fast and Furious or Fast Five, Fast and Furious 6 is only a slight step down. I highly recommend Fast and Furious 6 as 2013 has been lacking in good quality pure action films, which Fast 6 delivers and will go down as one of the best if not the best pure action films of the year, so do not miss the ride.
4 out of 5 Stars