Thursday, June 20, 2013

Movie Review: Fast & Furious 6

Just two years after Fast Five surprised audiences and critics, Fast & Furious 6 arrives continuing further down the new path paved by Fast Five. The stunts are bigger (and stupider), and the plot is thinner.  In most cases I would hold that against a film, but in this case, it just kind of works. 

Speaking of the plot...The Rock, who was an antagonist of sorts in Fast Five, tracks down Vin Diesel and his crew to ask for their help stopping an evil heist crew which contains someone Diesel long believed to be dead.  That's the setup, and it gives the film just enough plot to string together 2 hours of fun.

Personally I wasn't a big fan of the first three films in the series.  Some how this series took a turn towards awesome with the fifth film, and the sixth film is a great followup.  After the shocking increase in quality with the fifth film, there was a lot of potential for this film to disappoint, but this movie goer left satisfied. This franchise knows it's sweet spot, and it boldly plays to it's strengths with little concern for it's weaknesses.

On the negative side, this film makes no effort to add any real depth to the film.  It is a proudly superficial film with broad themes (i.e. family and loyalty).  Likewise, for a film with little plot, the small amount of plot didn't seem to make much sense. I didn't understand why the main villain was so evil or why anyone would choose to follow him.  They're written the way they are simply to act as the evil version of Diesel's crew.  Finally, this film really stretches the audiences suspension of disbelief.  This film exists in a world where the laws of physics have little bearing, and where a car's windshield is a nice cushion after a 60 mph crash. If that will bother you, this film will drive you bonkers.

But who am I kidding, I don't actually care about anything I just wrote about.  I like my Fast & Furious films big, bold, and a little stupid.

The producers have clearly chosen to embrace this franchises absurdity and just go with it. They know what the audience wants, and they work really hard to provide it.  

We get more one liners. 
We get more car chases.
We get more street races.
We get more hand to hand fights.
We get the craziest stunts yet.

This is a movie where a long chase sequence involving a tank is neither the most exciting sequences in the film or the most ridiculous.  The tank chase is only the build up for an even more exciting climax.

The inclusion of Gina Cerano (or as I first knew her, Crush on American Gladiators) is a nice addition to the cast. Once again they use The Rock greatly to the film's advantage.  In particular they did a really nice job of building the relationship between The Rock and Vin Diesel.

This cast may not be filmed with great actors, but they are great entertainers.  For this genre, that is exactly what I want.

In conclusion, this is exactly what I want from a popcorn film. If you're looking for pure escapism and don't mind a film which boldly ignores reality, this is a fun film.

Overall I give this film an 8 out of 10.

But that’s just my opinion.  What did you think?

I review films based on what they aspire to be.  If a film has no pretentious aspirations and entertains me for two hours, I can forgive all kinds of plot holes.  However, if a film attempts to present itself as a grounded take on the subject matter, I will judge the plot more stringently. 

I can almost guarantee you that I will re-watch Man of Steel far more times than this film.  However, this film accomplished what it set out to do far better.

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