What is there to say? What can be said of a film like Fast and Furious 6, the latest in the long running series stretching back to the 2001 original? Now twelve years later, we are into the sixth instalment, with the seventh already in development and on its way to cinemas, perhaps even in time for next year. Personally I think it’s a minor miracle the series has lasted this long, but here we are, and it is showing no signs of running out of steam. This franchise has always appealed to a very lazy and uncaring type of viewer, the kind of person that forgives mistakes and horrendous acting in exchange for lots of well choreographed action. In it’s stupidity though, the Fast and Furious franchise has always made me smile, whether down to bonkers set-pieces, hilariously over the top dialogue, or just bad acting. It is the most basic form of cinema; its sole purpose is to entertain, not to provide something to think about, or to provoke any significant emotion. Somehow though, Fast and Furious 6 manages to be awful, but in a very tongue in cheek and uncaring manner.
Fast and Furious 6 catches up with Vin Diesel and his crew after the events of Fast Five, showing them relaxing with their hundreds of millions, after successfully pulling off a daring robbery. Their relaxation is short lived however, when super-cop-badass Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson turns up and asks them to take down a new car riding gang of criminals. The incentive? Their long thought dead gang member Letty Ortiz has switched allegiances, and now it is time for Vin Diesel to find out why. And save the world of course. Or something. As always with this kind of movie, the plot is merely a device in which the main characters get to blow stuff up. And boy, do they blow stuff up well. The action in Fast and Furious 6 has a good range, from very well choreographed fist fights which reminded me a bit of the superior Bourne series, and very high paced and exciting car chases. This is Fast and Furious‘ forte, its action, its car chases. Sometimes it feels like this is the only element of the movie the cast and crew put any real effort into; the quality of the direction and cinematography goes up a few levels and really draws you in to the breathtakingly fast scenes. Occasionally the pace is broken up by incredibly stupid set pieces, but the film rolls with it (“Boss, they’ve got a tank!”). It all results in a large portion of the movie being very slick and very cool, if only because Dwayne Johnson is such a kickass. His arms are the size of tree trunks, he carries a very large and unwieldy revolver, and he delivers each line with such forced seriousness you feel as if he is earning every penny. From Dwayne Johnson to the cars to the script, everything in Fast and Furious 6 is designed to appeal to the horny, adrenaline-fuelled early teenager audience of the twenty first century, and it does what it sets out to do, which is to entertain.
In between the fist fighting and car chases, the film breaks up into smaller sections of minor gun fights and genuine plot development. Sadly however, the film completely falls down at these moments, rather predictably so. People don’t come to see Fast and Furious for the script, and therefore the writers aren’t particularly careful with what they write. This really shows throughout the film, with lines such as “So you’re team muscle? Don’t make me come over there and make you team pussy” making you laugh, but not in the way the film intends. Vin Diesel stands around and does very little, with every line getting lost under his trademark voice, and I personally thought he and the rest of the cast were a little lost under Dwayne Johnson’s admittedly huge shadow. The direction is actually very impressive, but Justin Lin cannot really do anything but take a back seat as the laughable script fills in the gaps between the action scenes. This is where Fast and Furious 6, like the rest of the series, demonstrates there is nothing under its loud layer of action, and has nothing else substantial to offer. I would say it’s a shame, but what did I expect? Fast and Furious doesn’t pretend it is something it isn’t, and for that it deserves a heap of credit. In appealing so hugely to a certain type of film fan however, it alienates the rest.
The infamous scene, criminally shown in detail in the trailer, where the criminal gang unleash a war tank on a bridge, is so stupid and so downright enjoyable that it becomes the highlight of the movie. No one seems to care the tank is running over a dozen or so cars with people in them; the whole scene is so hilarious and brazenly stupid that you are forced to have a good time with it.
The script is just awful, and as a consequence a quarter of the film drones on, and the plot becomes lost under the action. I’m sure this is almost deliberate on the films part however. As already mentioned, Fast and Furious 6 knows what it is.
The latest addition to the Fast and Furious franchise is loud and unforgivably brash, bombing you with loud noises and explosions in a reasonably enjoyable fashion. As a proper film however, it completely falls down, thanks to bad acting and a horrendous script. Its redeeming feature is that it realises its flaws and sticks to its wildly impractical guns, which results in a thoroughly entertaining but heavily flawed film. Silly and stupid summer entertainment: no more, no less.