'Fast & Furious 6' review: The definition of 'stupid fun'
More arch acting, more car chases and bigger explosions. The 'Fast & Furious 6' doesn't reinvent the wheel - it's as simple, but incredibly fun, as every other entry in the 'Fast & Furious' franchise.
In short: Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O'Conner's (Paul Walker) crew of pro criminals have all-but-retired in exile, settling down in Spain, when DSS agent Luke Hobb (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) asks Toretto's crew help in stopping a terrorist. (watch the trailer)
The latest 'Fast & Furious' film is as much fun as it is 'stupid.' That is to say, the none-too-deep plot is entirely an excuse for insane vehicle set pieces and fight sequences. Writing off the entire franchise as 'stupid' would be easy where it not for the 'Furious 6' sequences completely paying off in the entertainment department.
Unlike other franchises that simply have too many sequels, each film in the 'Fast & Furious' series works as an independent adventure while also serving as a piece of an ongoing story. The evolution of the series is quite interesting: while 'Fast Five' was a heist flick, 'Furious 6' serves as a 'take down the terrorists' movie. And the epilogue scene teases an exciting next entry for the series - no spoilers, but the actions of 'Furious 6' directly connect not only to 'Fast & Furious 7' but, oddly enough, also to 'Tokyo Drift.'
'Furious 6' features great banter between Toretto's crew - the cadance of a team that has pulled off heist after heist for years. This dynamic/chemistry is a strong part of why the 'Furious' series has endured - these characters truly form a family.
The first action set piece is an exciting car chase through London and each subsequent action sequence is more insane than the last. The penultimate sequence - involving a tank and a freeway chase - feels like it could have been the finale for any lesser action film ... but even 'Furious 6' has one more great sequence up its sleeve before the final credits.
The main failing of 'Furious 6' is its simple plot and forced story twists. The device/excuse to reintroduce Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) - who was believed to be killed during the fourth 'Furious' film - strains credibility to say the least. The third act reveal regarding one of the main characters is predictable and unnecessary (which is never a good combination). Brian O'Connor's story line which has him sent to prison - begins with a plot threat that is never paid off and glossed over completely. And the final sequence centers around a cargo plane preparing for takeoff - apparently from an impossibly long airport runway. Aside from Ludacris's character is the only one with a designated skill set (that of technical expert), none of the other members of Toretto's crew appear to contribute anything other than really good driving abilities.
The villain has no depth - it's simply another sell-to-the-highest-bidder terrorist who, of course, is trying to steal technology that threatens the world. The small bit of dimension given to the villain contrasts his 'I value no human life' outlook against Toretto's 'family is everything' philosophy. Furthermore it's incredibly clear which of the terrorists will end up fighting each of Torreto's crew.
'Furious 6' is not a master class in acting or subtly. Diesel and Walker prove once again why the 'Furious' series is their main paycheck. The no-nonsense Agent Hobbs ('The Rock') worked better as a character working against Toretto's crew in 'Fast Five' than as an agent alongside Toretto's crew. Dwayne Johnson can act - he was the best part of 'Pain & Gain' - however, when he's the strongest actor in a film with a very large cast, that film probably could use one or two more learned thespians.
The plot and even characters are a distant second to the action sequences - but the explosions, car chases and stunts are incredibly fun.
Final verdict: Very enjoyable if you're able to turn your completely brain off.