Fast & Furious 6 or ‘Furious 6’ as the in-movie titles would have us believe, is yet another fine addition to the junk food movie franchise about fast cars and over-the-top action. And it is junk food – like the previous film, Furious 6 is consumable blockbuster entertainment. It’s raucous fun in the moment but nothing particularly memorable in the long run.
The core group of racers from last time return, but the money here is Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson. Johnson plays a goliath of a man in Hobbs, the military-minded agent that we met in Fast Five. With his huge shoulders and bulging veins, Johnson is almost a caricature and is nigh-comical simply by being onscreen – but that’s part of the fun. And so it goes that Hobbs is tracking down an elite team of drivers (of course) lead by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), a former soldier who specialises in that sort of thing.
To combat Shaw’s team of evil cronies, Hobbs recruits Toretto (Diesel). Toretto and his ‘family’ of speedsters however are out of that life, but Hobbs nonetheless manages to win him over by revealing that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Toretto’s former girlfriend who was believed to have died, is actually still alive and seemingly working for Shaw. Unsurprisingly, the band gets back together and the stage is set for Toretto’s ‘Furious 6’ to battle Shaw’s bizarro ‘Furious 6’. How convenient.
It’s a serviceable plot that manages to afford plenty of gags and thrills, but not quite enough to prevent the mind from questioning the flimsy plotting and implausibility of it all. Indeed, Furious 6 is most definitely an experience that ought not to be looked into too deeply. There are plot holes everywhere and the action, while successfully pumping the adrenalin thanks to the series’ trademark speed and intensity, is definitely on the ludicrous end of the ridiculous spectrum. For instance, some scenes and character decisions make no logical sense other than to help provide for another big action setpiece. One of which must involve what is surely the world’s longest runway – it never ends!
There’s also an eye-rolling amnesia plot device, a nonsensical doublecross and big bad Shaw, who is supposedly an extremely skilled tactician, has a plan with holes so large that you could drive a tank through them! But despite the criticisms it’s still all good, popcorn fun. The core cast have great chemistry and there are a number of genuine laugh-out-loud jokes, with some clever tie-ins to past films to please fans. It’s a testament then to director Justin Lin, who has been in control of the franchise since the third instalment, that I came out of Furious 6 actually excited for the next race. Yep, Fast & Furious 7 is happening – and I’m surprised it’s taken them this long to go in the direction that they’re finally heading. It seems like such an obvious choice in retrospect!
Disposable fun, Furious 6 gets by on good humour and the speed and intensity of its action. Just don’t be all Spock about it.