Should I Watch..? 'Fast & Furious 6'
What's the big deal?
Fast And Furious 6 (also known as Furious 6) is an action thriller film released in 2013 and is the sixth instalment of the Fast & Furious franchise. Directed once again by Justin Lin, the film sees master criminal Dominic Toretto and his crew pulled out of retirement by former enemy Luke Hobbs to assist him in tracking down a dangerous mercenary, apparently working alongside Dom's supposedly deceased lover Letty. The film's ensemble cast stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Gal Gadot, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Luke Evans and Gina Carano. The film received a mixed response from critics who generally claimed the film was an improvement on Fast Five. Audiences, however, continued to cram in to theatres all over the world with global takings of more than $778 million. It would be followed by Furious 7 in 2015.
What's it about?
After escaping with Brazil with their ill-gotten gains, the gang have gone their separate ways and are trying to keep a low profile. Dominic Toretto lives with his girlfriend Elena while his sister Mia now lives with Dom's best friend and former cop Brian and their baby son Jack. Former MOSSAD agent Gisele is in a relationship with Dom's old business partner Han while Roman and Tej live the life of luxury until one day, DSS Agent Luke Hobbs makes an unwelcome return into their lives. Hobbs reveals that Dom's former lover Letty Ortiz is still alive and apparently connected to a highly organised theft of military equipment in Moscow.
Deciding that they have to get Letty back somehow, they agree to help Hobbs track down the leader of her new gang - former SAS member Owen Shaw. Shaw's crew has stolen billions of dollars worth of prototype military equipment and after being quickly traced to London, reveals that Letty is indeed alive and apparently suffering from amnesia. With Dom's crew now working alongside Hobbs and his colleague Riley Hicks, they always seem to be one step behind Shaw and the stakes have rarely been higher...
Dominic "Dom" Toretto
Chris "Ludacris" Bridges
Release Date (UK)
17th May, 2013
Action, Crime, Thriller
What's to like?
If you've made it this far into the series then the chances are you're either a massive fan of this sort of shtick or you're a critic with a glutton for punishment like me. Fast & Furious 6 offers pretty much the same blend of nitrous-fuelled muscle cars, scantily-clad female extras and a pounding hip-hop soundtrack you'd find in any of the previous instalments thus far. The film has moved increasingly away from the modifying and street racing and more into traditional action movie territory and offers plenty of scenes that defy belief, logic and common sense. So far, so typical.
The cast, perhaps realising that nobody is actually much interested in them, deliver some token gestures at acting and delivering some pretty wretched dialogue. If anything, the film serves as a showpiece for Johnson who seems cartoonishly big and surprisingly quick-witted. Sadly, his charismatic performance seems to be intruding too much into Diesel's spotlight but at least he has the good grace to step back and let Diesel take it. The action scenes are quite ridiculous and far-fetched but they certainly grab your attention. The film also makes good use of shooting in London even though anyone who has spent any time in the capital will tell you that it would be impossible to drive around its streets at those speeds, even at night. Too many speed cameras, speed bumps, pot holes, pedestrians, road works...
- The end sequence, which takes place on a runway, is a prime example of the film taking liberties with real-life. The longest runway in Spain, where the action happens, is 3 miles long but that isn't anywhere near long enough for the plane to attempt it's manoeuvre. Not only that but as the sequence takes about 13 minutes, the runway seen in the film is estimated to have been about 18 miles long!
- When Hobbs arrive at the barbecue, Roman says that someone should hide the baby oil which prompts Hobbs to say "You better hide that big ass forehead!". This was an improvised line by Johnson, which legitimately caused Bridges to spray his drink out with laughter.
- Filming began in July 2012 in London and Shepperton Studios in Surrey. The film was only the third to be given permission to shoot in Piccadilly Circus and they only had two minutes every hour to film. Despite not being set there, the film also shot several scenes in Glasgow.
What's not to like?
Even taking the sheer irony of having a Fast & Furious movie set largely in a city so congested that you have to pay to enter it, this entry in the series feels like a demented parody. So much collateral damage is caused that when the baddie runs over people trapped in their cars in his own tank, nobody bats an eyelid. The plot is also one of the dumbest seen so far and that's saying something. The motivations for the bad guys are somewhat confusing, much like the inexhaustible supply of custom cars and gadgets and the reasons why they can get away with causing so much havoc. Where are the police - oh right, they're fighting baddies in the Tube stations. Like they always do.
The film's have flirted with lurching into parody ever since they began phasing out the street racing theme in Fast & Furious, turning them more into car-themed action flicks. But here, they jump so far over the line that you never invest in it or its one-dimensional characters. How can these roles still be so empty after six damn films? I just couldn't escape the feeling that there weren't any new stories to be told with these characters - the only real change between this and Fast Five is the location and the alignment of Johnson's role. Granted, the film is so stupid that I openly laughed out loud at it and if you are someone who can get value from dodgy films then you'll have a ball with this. I just believe that the franchise is fast and furiously running out of fuel.
Should I watch it?
Anyone who loves any of the other films in the series will get the most out of this glorified stunt show, which is peppered with so much bad acting and crummy dialogue that I admit rage-quit watching it. Yes, the film itself is garbage but it's slick and well produced garbage and I concede that there are times when a mindless action movie with a loose grip on reality is demanded. But will I watch it again? Probably not.
Great For: fans of the series, petrol heads, extremely undemanding action fans, idiots
Not So Great For: anyone who has lived in London, anyone with a sense of humour by-pass, the elderly
What else should I watch?
Next up for the series was the somewhat over-shadowed Furious 7 which had the unfortunate circumstance of the death of leading actor Paul Walker to contend with. Despite script rewrites, the film was the first film to achieve a mostly positive response from critics as well as a staggering $1.5 billion at the box office which made it one of the most successful films of all time. This continued with the release of the eighth film The Fate Of The Furious in 2017 which also made more than $1 billion. Whether the appetite exists as strongly for a proposed ninth and tenth films remains to be seen.
Car films have been popular since Michael Caine used three Mini Coopers to rob the Mafia in Turin in 1969's The Italian Job. In fact, many movies became famous for their driving sequences alone like Steve McQueen's iconic San Francisco pursuit in Bullitt or Gene Hackman's frantic attempt to follow a New York subway car in The French Connection. If I had to pick one driving film then I'd probably go with Smokey And The Bandit - it's very much a guilty pleasure but Burt Reynolds is effortlessly charming, Jerry Reed's Eastbound And Down is a great song and Jackie Gleason's Sheriff Buford T. Justice never gets old.
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Benjamin Cox