FAST AND FURIOUS 6 (Justin Lin, 2013)
A FAST AND THE FURIOUS movie isn't whole without Michelle Rodriguez. Let's face it, she's the element that holds it all together, and no matter who you fill in to replace her, it just isn't the same. Plus, her Letty is the yin to Vin Diesel's character Dominic Torretto's yang. I'm sure fans are eager to welcome her return to the franchise, one particular friend of mine included who is adrenaline high right now about Letty coming back.
FAST FIVE was crazy exciting enough with the gathering of some of the most colorful characters in the history of the beloved franchise and the inclusion of Dwayne Johnson as a muscle to match Vin Diesel. FAST AND FURIOUS 6 amps up the nitro not only with the return of Letty and the reunion of the gang, but with the arrival of MMA badass babe Gina Carano as an INTERPOL officer, and Luke Evans as a sinister foe deadlier than the gang ever faced, particularly because he's a mean ass driver. Now, every audience member's obvious question is, "What the hell happened to Letty?". Well now we get a definite answer.
The action is still fast (that bridge stunt where Dom jumps out of a moving car to catch Letty catapulting from a flipping tank is insane), the cars more furious (yet the red, white and blue is a little bit of THE ITALIAN JOB, don't you think?) and Torretto and Brian O' Connor (Paul Walker) are deadlier than ever because the stakes have never been this personal. Luke Evans who plays international criminal Owen Shaw has a Heath Ledger-as-Joker moment in the climax where he sits there in his jail cell, smirking, and for the most of us we know that the game's not over.
But after a while, the action gets somewhat overlong, and you just can't wait to get it over and done with (particularly in the ending scene). The plot resorts to familiar loopholes of the hero tale, where somebody somewhere gets kidnapped, and all hell breaks loose.
Also, Dwayne Johnson is unbelievably unbelievable in this movie, and while we enjoy seeing him kick ass and take names, barking orders around all of a sudden in a NATO base (what is he, a dictator?) looked like somebody pumped too much machismo on paper. Jumping from one truck to another in what must have been a high vertical drop adds insult to the injury. So okay, he's wearing prospective vest and maybe he has the physique to accomplish such, but at times we may want to do a reality check. But if Evelyn Salt can do it, then why can't he?
Which brings us back to the bridge scene where Dom makes a heroic rescue to catch Letty's fall. Cinematically it appears beautiful, heart-stopping even. In real life, I'm surprised Dom's head isn't mush.
But perhaps the best things about FAST AND THE FURIOUS 6 (yes, even better than the freaking tank) are Roman's (Tyrese Gibson) rapid-fire one-liners and the intense moments between Dom and Letty, particularly the confrontation after the race scene in London, where nostalgia is the name of the game.
FAST AND FURIOUS 6 plays out like it's supposed to, an escapist high octane vehicle that never takes its foot off the gas. The villains are no jokes (I'm looking at you, Cole Hauser). Just look at Joe Taslim beat the shit out of Tyrese and Sung Kang. For those unfamiliar with Joe Taslim, start looking for a copy of THE RAID: REDEMPTION right now.
Jordana Brewster who plays Mia, Dom's sister and Brian's wife gets little appearance here (but hey, so did Julia Roberts in OCEAN'S TWELVE yet Roberts did a fashionable job of impersonating herself in that movie) and I wish she played a bigger part in the story than the housewife. Nevertheless, FAST AND FURIOUS 6 will leave you breathless like riding on a Dodge Charger without brakes. And by that reference, is it just me or is there a NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERGROUND 2 throwback in the movie somewhere? Fanboys, speak up.