Fast and Furious 6 (2013)

(Long, drawn-out facepalm). Utterly. Ridiculous. Those two words pretty much sum up this umpteenth sequel in the preposterous Fast and Furious series. It’s not too often that a sub-par genre franchise can dupe me into believing that the longer it goes…the better it gets. Now, right off the bat, I’m NOT a fan of this collection of idiotic movies. As a rule, I think that the F and F movies are aimed squarely at motor-head street-racing dumbass poseurs who simply need nauseating examples of ‘style over substance’ to separate them from their cash. The flicks are defined by their shallow and moronic depictions of fetishistic car worship, consequence-free violence and blatant sexism. But then came Fast 5, and I was shocked. SHOCKED, I tell you! Having caught it’s initial theatrical release by chance, I was surprised by how much fun I had with it. The filmmakers got wise to the idea of ‘change’ and turned the franchises formula around. It was no longer an idiotically stylish ‘Point Break…with Cars’. Now it was a pure escapist heist/chase movie and it worked surprisingly well. Well enough that I was cautiously optimistic about the prospect of the inevitable 6th entry. Well, shame on me! Just when the 5th one had me believing in the possibility of ongoing cinematic improvement, this one gets shat out. I don’t think the term ‘logic’ got within 2 miles of this pile of crap. There is SO much ‘wrong’ on display here…which really shouldn’t surprise me as much as it does.
First off, the ‘story’ follows the original, wacky crew of vehicle-obsessed thieves (from the last flick) as they are brought out of self-imposed retirement by The Rock’s revelation that Michelle Rodriguezs Letty character (who was dramatically blown away in some previous installment) is, in fact, alive (albiet conveniently amnesiac, of course) and is working for another high-tech group of ‘bad guys’; led by a bland British villain named Shaw. This prompts Vin Diesels monosyllabic anti-hero Dom Toretto to amass his group again to take down this limey scum, and find out the truth about his ‘believed dead’ lady love, backed up by a promise of pardons ‘across the board’. And thus begins a harrowing tale of international intrigue, revelation and revenge! And boy, is it stupid. Where to begin:
First off, Torettos lil band of merry men (and women) are wanted felons…who somehow now have the ability to waltz in and out of various countries completely undetected and/or ‘scott free’. Same idea stands behind Dwayne Johnsons Hobbs ‘super cop’ character and his new partner Riley, played by former MMA champ Gina Carano (Haywire). They are just automatically granted access to…well…everything, regardless of the country they’re in. There isn’t one mention of international cooperation, jurisdiction or protocol. Not one. They just turn up at crime scenes and essentially take over, at times audaciously breaking the law to get results. The portrayal of the police and military is actually rather insulting to those being portrayed. Clearly, without The Rock and his group of amusingly bickering criminals, the US military, London Metropolitan Police Department and Spanish law enforcement would be utterly lost. There’s a (admittedly cool) high-speed, multi-vehicle chase through downtown London that is set off by the failure to trap Shaw in his nifty hideout. No fuckin shit, the trap failed! There must have been 100 British SWATs milling around the front door, in plain sight, lit by a multitude of flashing cop lights. Very stealthy, guys. And then this army of police are defeated cuz no one happened to notice that the large, concrete parking structure they were on was completely wired to the tits with high-explosives. Then there’s the idea to allow Paul Walkers infuriatingly bland Brian character to ‘get caught’ and extradited back to LA, to get locked up for 24hrs so that he can milk some Mexican kingpin for info about what REALLY happened to Letty. Cue the dramatic monologuing. Mission accomplished, Brian just pops back over to jolly ole London to share what he learned with the crew. I mean ‘to hell with customs and international law’! It’s a completely useless sub-plot that felt like it should’ve hit the editing room floor.
There’s also a completely over-the-top chase sequence involving a small army of muscle cars and a futuristic tank. The scene is completely preposterous and features a surprising amount of implied collateral death, as the tank unceremoniously crushes civilian cars (and the passengers) into scrap metal up and down a Spanish highway. This particular chase ends with one of the stupidest ‘I’ll catch you as you are thrown through the air at lethal speed’ moments I’ve ever seen. Physics means NOTHING to these people.
But the best (ie worst) example HAS to be the ‘military base final chase’ scene involving about 8 vehicles and a massive Russian cargo plane on THE LONGEST RUNWAY IN THE WORLD!! Seriously, this fuckin chase takes forever…all on the same stretch of tarmac! It would have been NEARLY acceptable if, at some point, the plane had been forced to do a 180 degree turn and the chase continued anew back down the runway. Nope, not here. No bullshit when I say that this runway MUST have been about 15 miles long. It just keeps going…and going…and going. Speaking of ‘going and going’, Fast and Furious 6 now needs a drinking game created in it’s honor. Anytime that a character uses the vomit-inducing bromantic term “family”…bottoms up! You’ll be dancing around naked with a lampshade on your head in no time!
It’s strange to me that some of the surprisingly wise choices (wise for this type of flick anyway) made for the last movie are completely abandoned here. There’s a scene in the 5th one where Dom and Brian go to one of these random street club/car shows (Just where the hell do THOSE things happen anyway?!!) in order to race for some cars and…cut. The filmmakers shrewdly omitted the chase cuz we’ve seen the same shit in the previous flicks and, by now, know what to expect. Not here. Not only do we get all the gratuitous slow-mo shots of sexy tramps lustily writhing around on the street to loud hiphop/techno tunes (luckily, it was a sweet Crystal Method track) but we then get a full-blown chase scene through London with not one cop car responding. It serves NO purpose other than to get Letty and Dom back in contact so that they can play out another one of the biggest cliche’s of the Action Movie genre: The ‘Lets Get Hot n Heavy by Comparing Scars’ scene. We’ve seen that shit many times before, going back, at least, to Lethal Weapon 3 (1992).
After 4 movies in this series, it’s completely understandable that director Justin Lin would now want to ‘move on’. It’s just too bad that you can tell he’s just going through the motions with THIS one.. A good chunk of this flick feels tangibly lazy. There’s a glaring continuity error partway through the film that was obviously a reshoot. How do I know this? Cuz Hobbs trademark goatee, so prominent in a shit-load of glowering close-ups, completely vanishes! He and Carano are en route to a military base and he’s engaged in some kind of exposition, into a radio…and is facially hairless. As in ‘clean shaven’. Cut to the next scene as he briefs the base commander. There’s that pesky goatee…back like nothing had happened. It’s inexcusably lazy, as they could’ve just thrown on a ‘fake’ and hit it with some creative lighting. It’s like Lin just said “Fuck it…the audience are retards anyway, they won’t notice. And if they do, we’ll just blow some more shit up and sit back to count their money.” Speaking of sitting back to count cash, that can be the ONLY explanation for the mind-numbing cameo at the end. Why THIS particular bald action star would sign himself on to this series is beyond me. Universal Studios must’ve waved a lot of ‘hookers n blow’ at this limey tough guy (you figured out who it is yet?) to get him in for one scene, one scene that is obviously supposed to take us into the next ‘thrilling’ adventure of this collection of douchebags. I could probably go on all day about the times that I laughed out loud AT the movie, or the instances where I couldn’t stifle a disgusted groan, or the fact that I had no qualms about committing the movie theatre ‘faux pas’ of texting, to distract me from the ‘snap crackle pop’ of my brain eating itself in stunned astonishment. But I won’t. I think that you get the point. Fast and Furious 6 is a stupid, lazy sequel that dashes my hopes for any more surprising goodness from this intellectually-delayed meat-head series of films. Just go back and rewatch the 5th one. (Long, drawn-out facepalm…again)

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