Having retired on the earnings of their successful heist in the previous film, Dominic Toretto's motley crew of expert drivers live lives of luxury, dodging extradition to the US. Meanwhile, agent Luke Hobbs is trying to run down a team of equally talented drivers, who've left a trail of destruction across Europe as they try to assemble a powerful technological weapon. Hobbs recruits Dom, and his crew, by showing him evidence that the late Letty is actually still alive, and collaborating with the villains, and a smashy battle of wits is set in motion.
There's a joke in one of the early American Dad episodes, about how currently racing-obsessed Francine must have seen The Fast & The Furious, if she's watching 2 Fast 2 Furious on TV- "how else could you follow such a cerebral storyline?" Over the course of Lin's four entries to the series, we've found out that the third instalment actually takes place after this sixth one, a character thought dead in part four is actually alive, and that there's even a Big Bad in this arc. I could never call it cerebral, but at least Lin has a vision here.
ceiling on audience numbers, but believe it or not, the series has actually evolved, slowly. Here's the first film in the series in which the women get involved in the action as much as the men, with Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano kicking arse throughout. Still, they're mostly kicking each other's arses, (girl fight!) and the series' de facto leading lady, Jordana Brewster, is relegated to stay-at-home mum status.
The involvement of Carano also points to Lin trying to position the series at the forefront of action cinema, even if it cribs from more imaginative, less bombastic films to do so. As well as roping in the Haywire actress and The Raid's Joe Taslim for some hand-to-hand dust-ups, there's the same fidelity to practical stunts and effects work that has distinguished his take on the series from the first two films, both of which now seem orphaned from the rest of the series.
There's also the usually enjoyable disdain for physics and common sense, as first seen in the six-minute freeway confrontation that has been kind of ruined by previews in Cineworld Cinemas for the last month or so, and a finale that takes place on the world's longest runway- the point where I realised that the sequence must be taking place on a 20 mile stretch just added to the silly enjoyment. Still, this is all just my thoughtful way of saying that while there's some interesting stuff here, it remains the sixth Fast & Furious film, and that there's nothing wrong with dumb fun, if it's not pretentious or offensive.
The consistent reminders that our heroes are like family start to catch in your throat as the film rams them down, because they're still essentially heist movie ciphers, no more developed than in previous instalments. I guess Paul Walker's Brian is a dad at this point, but by now, you must realise he's gone from being the protagonist to being the token white boy, in a rare blockbuster franchise that has embraced racial diversity. There's the sense that they're keeping him around because... (sigh) he's family, while we get to watch Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson do most of the heavy lifting.
without him, next summer.
Fast & Furious 6 is now showing in cinemas nationwide. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you've seen Fast & Furious 6, why not share your comments below? If you have no idea what I'm talking about with the continuity of Tokyo Drift, and the series Big Bad, make sure you see the end credits stinger of this one...
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.