Saturday, 8 June 2013

Film Review: Fast and Furious 6

This week on America's Funniest Home Videos...

The sixth instalment of the Fast and Furious franchise zooms into cinemas for another slice of high-octane, car-destroying mayhem; in this film, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and the rest of their crew join forces with Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs to bring down a dangerous and malicious villain played by Luke Evans.

"Look guys, I'm that dude from Mission: Impossible!"
After the rip-roaring success of 2011's Fast Five, this franchise has found another gear and speared off in a fresh and all-together more approachable direction. No longer primarily concerned with street racing as such, the franchise has moulded itself into a grubbier and louder version of Ocean's Eleven.

This sixth film really plays out like Fast 5 Part 2; the premise is now focused on Dom and his crew trying to settle down after the Rio heist that saw them take home $100 millon. Brian has had a baby with Mia (Jordana Brewster), Dom is dating Elena (Elsa Pataky) and Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot) are thinking of settling down.

All this is put on hold however after Dom's former love interest Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is snapped with international criminal Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), even though she very clearly killed in the fourth film. The crew journey to London in order to bring Shaw to justice and to bring Letty home.

With plenty of slick cars, hot girls and bulging biceps, the majority of the plot will fly straight over people's heads. In reality, this film could be about Dom attending a tractor convention and people would still flock to see him headbutt some nasty mofos whilst crooning about turbo-charged V8's.

Because let's be honest, we're not here to see Dom and Brian talk about their feelings, how much they love their girlfriends or how they want to start a family. We're here to see gratuitously pornographic shots of spoilers, gears sticks and clutch pedals. We came here to see "vehicular warfare" where cars flip upside down, crash into each other and explode into gigantic balls of smoke. That's what this film is all about, and boy, does it deliver.

"So, how come your still alive? I mean, I saw
the fourth film and you totes died. Anyway, laters!"
The action and carnage in Fast 6 is unashamedly over-the-top and that's what makes it so much fun.    Tanks, cargo planes, race cars; all feature in some of the most elaborate and physics-defying action sequences you'll see this year.

The most memorable is the tank vs. muscle car Spanish highway showdown which sees Dom catch Letty mid-air after crashing his car into a barrier on purpose. In reality, they would've both died, or at least broken their necks. In the film, they get up, dust themselves off and are greeted by rounds of whoops and cheers from the audience.

In terms of acting standards, the films leads are fairly wooden and awkward. Vin Diesel mumbles and smirks his way through every line of dialogue whilst Paul Walker is as bland as ever. Jordana Brewster is quickly sidelined into a cameo role whilst Michele Rodriguez brought some shades of emotion and trauma to the amnesia-ridden role of Letty. The primary cast are weighed down by a fairly clunky script and dialogue but some of the supporting cast are afforded some memorable one-liners; The Rock, Sung Kang and Ludarics in particular inject humour and wisecracks.

Fast and Furious 6 is funny, enjoyable and silly enough to not only win the series some new fans (my girlfriend included) but to also lay claim to the biggest guilty pleasure of 2013. It might not be Shakespeare, but if you go in expecting to be entertained, you won't be disappointed. It's an utterly bonkers, popcorn-munching actioner that is only blighted by a creaky script and long run time. There are plenty of worse ways to spend a Friday evening.

I give Fast and Furious 6: 7/10

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