Unlike “The Expendables,” which purports to bring all stars together and pit them against perilous circumstances, “Fast and the Furious” is the film accomplishing the concept. It’s rid itself of the pretenses of being a franchise, and has embraced the fact that each movie is just a two hour episode of an extended series, and has brought together all of the best stars from the previous movies of the “Fast and the Furious” movies. It even has its own opening credits. And what’s more is that the stakes are raised more and more with each movie right down to the potential for a child’s life being risked.
“Fast & Furious 6” sees the group shortly after “Fast Five” where Dominic and Brian greet the entrance of Brian’s new baby. The group has split up and are now settling in to their serene domestic roles, until Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) re-enters Dom and Brian’s life, making them aware that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is alive, and due to painfully convenient circumstances, is working for a new group of thieves with no recollection of who Dom and his friends are. This makes Letty a brand new foe to reckon with. Dom and Brian begrudgingly take on the task of stopping a new team of thieves with the hopes of thwarting their crimes with Hobbs, all while hoping to help Letty regain her memory and bring her back over to their side. “Furious 6” really hands us a lot of plot in over two hours and its up to the task of unfolding this unique plot of a band of thieves fighting a new skilled band of thieves.
All the while it engages us in the same level of brilliant chase sequences and fist fights that we’ve seen before. “Furious 6” doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a fantastic cartoon for car lovers, and they’ve relinquished all pretense of these movies being about races by now. Now it’s just a series of heists concocted by a bunch of really likable people that even manage to win over the most militant law enforcers. I enjoyed “Furious 6” for Lin’s tight direction and the great editing that really sucked me in to the chases and excellent fist fights. There are some really great fight scenes including Gina Carano and Michelle Rodriguez, Han and Tyreese battling Joe Taslim, and the final showdown on the jet where all members of the team engage in some brawl. Lin knows who to use in which capacity and adds to the action dynamics wonderfully.
Luke Evans is well cast as the film’s resident foe, who works as a sort of Bizarro Brian. He’s crafty and deadly and doesn’t mind implementing Letty to take down her ex-teammates. Gina Carano is also a great addition to the series canon, working as Hobbs’ sidekick who gets to perform her own unique stunts and even steals a scene here and there. That said, “Furious 6” thrives on cheese that can be much too unbearable in certain instances. The constant talk about “Family” and “bonding” becomes overbearing, not to mention the movie tries to force the comic banter of Tyreese and Ludacris on audiences, which often comes off as flat and really forgettable. In either case, while “Furious 6” isn’t a masterpiece, it’s a really damn good follow up to a movie series that keeps coming up with new ideas, and brand new action sequences to keep us watching and coming back for more.