“All roads lead to this”
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his friends are chillin’ all over the globe, enjoying la dolce vita, after their successful heist in Fast Five (2011). However they’re also longing to return home to America. Agent Hobbs (The Rock) offers them the opportunity to do just that: A clean slate in exchange for one last job. The mission includes taking down a villainous character (Luke Evans) in London, finding Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and driving fast cars, while doing crazy stunts, shooting and beating people up and stuff.
Justin Lin’s fourth entry in the franchise is mostly successful, thanks to an amiable cast, a cheesy, but sweet writing and some breathtaking action set pieces. The characters mostly derive from the actor’s screen persona, which is not a bad thing per se, but some of the acting is stale and the screenplay doesn’t really allow for much room for them to breathe and develop in a satisfying way.
The action is very intense and interestingly shot in some instances, though you can sustain tension only so long, and so the last act results a bit too long. The film in general could use some leaner editing. Some scenes are basically useless, like Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) going to prison. Gina Carano’s wrestling skills are impressive, but her character’s twist at the end is completely pointless.
Personally, I am biased to like this film, for purely nostalgic reasons: I grew up with this franchise. The film had me from the very beginning with the great opening title montage. In my estimation this is one of the few interesting franchises out there today.
Borrowing too much from last year’s box office hits The Avengers (exploiting the team of “superheroes” aspect, featuring a “similar” villain and also copying structural elements) and The Dark Knight franchise (the villain seems to be driving something out of a Christopher Nolan film); Furious 6 could have been better by doing its own thing like in the previous installment. The villain and his motivations are dubious and weakly executed. The result is a formulaic story.
To its credit Furious 6 has a good sense of humor, but also a beautiful message about the importance of family. What I disliked was how some characters were treated, namely Roman (Tyrese Gibson) being reduced to comic relief, Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) hardly given anything to do and Elena (Elsa Pataky) completely ignored up until the end. The potential conflict between Dom’s new girlfriend Giselle (Gal Gadot) and Letty also remained unexplored.
The film ends on an upbeat note, but I just have a hard time buying that Brian is a father now. Stay tuned for more action to come – #7 was already announced.
Verdict: Recommended. Especially if you’re an action junkie, love the Fast & Furious franchise or just enjoy having Corona with your buddies and turn off your brain for 2 hours.
Rating on First Time Viewing
(in theaters, with my best friend)
7 out of 10