‘Fast & Furious 6 (2013)’: Throwback Review

This should come as a surprise to anyone, but why does every time I see one of these movies, I wanna drive a fast car so bad. Probably because I don’t have that much money to own a lavish vehicle and you’re always wanting to drive at a normal speed while on the road. Sure, Fast & Furious 6 implores you to not do these stunts on your own, but it’s just a cool thought. 

What’s the Story: Following their successful heist in Rio, Domenic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), and the rest of the team are living their lives in freedom around the world, especially for Brian and Mia (Jordana Brewster) as they’ve welcomed a son. But when a team of mercenary drivers led by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and Dom’s presumed dead girlfriend Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) as one of his members is caught stealing weapon parts that are worth billions, Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) tracks down Dom to get his team together once again to bring Shaw down in exchange for full pardons for all of them.

Fast & Furious 6  - Stills

Back in 2013, I couldn’t believe we were up to six movies in the Fast and the Furious series. Crazy right? After the last installment Fast Five came out, nobody expected it to be the most entertaining sequel since it ditched the entire street racing aspect and focused on the action with these established characters we’ve grown to care about. And something was telling me I was going to have a good time watching this since it was the Friday afternoon opening day after passing my English final and needed to celebrate with the manly testosterones it wants to promise. Not only that, but this was the third sequel we’re already getting a strong start of the summer movie season following Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness. Knowing exactly what it is without catering to those who expected Shakespeare quality, Fast & Furious 6 just knows how to please its viewers. 

It’s another movie where director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan change it up this time where it’s going to be more of an adventure for the team where the stakes are even higher to top what they brought before. With a plot about finding the bad guy to find a computer chip or something, let’s be honest and say it’s not the most interesting thing in the world to pay attention to. A whole new level they never thought they would be doing where it’s not on they might be prepared, but when it’s the bring someone home, there’s no going back. Not everyone goes into these movies expecting to get a profound plot. It also plays on the troupe on how the person hunting after our heroes needs to work together that we’ve seen times before where it’s now about trust. Now, they’re going up against a crew more serious than they are. Like before, Lin still does an excellent job at directing where he knows how to capture them with cool stunts and all while still contributing in caring for the characters and story too. 

I know the acting isn’t particularly the first instinct when going into these films, but not that bad as many claim to be. Mostly the same actors from previously, and everybody has great chemistry with each other, making it believable that they’re family more than a team. The progression of the friendship between Vin Diesel and Paul Walker is getting better with each passing film with that “Ride or Die” mentality, which makes their performances serviceable without judging too harshly. It was also great seeing Michelle Rodriguez back again as Letty since she didn’t do much in the first and fourth movies, but she gets more screen time and explains her reasoning on how she’s alive, even if she doesn’t remember who Dom is. And what can’t I say about Dwayne Johnson? He saved the last movie with his inclusion as Hobbs and he kills it again when we see more of him. You already know what you’re going to get from Jordana Brewster (Mia), Tyrese Gibson (Roman), Ludacris (Tej), Sung Kang (Han), and Gal Gadot (Gisele) when getting more into the action this time around. Luke Evans’ as the film’s villain, Owen Shaw, wasn’t that bad either since he manages to be more interesting than the kingpin in the fifth movie since he knows he can beat Dom and his team with the code embroiled by them that makes them predictable. 

But if you thought the action in Fast Five was cool, it was Lin’s mission to make it bigger and better, and Fast & Furious 6 knows when up the ante and needs to accomplish that primary goal. All you need to know is you’re going to get your car chases and fistfights that’ll more likely get you pumped. The way they filmed the car chases and the other action scenes with practical effects, once again, was incredible and over-the-top. Every set piece was just too awesome just to figure out how they did that. And yes. It’s totally ridiculous to the point of suspending disbelief, but it’s the sixth movie, what can you expect? There’s a sequence involving a freakin’ tank on a highway that’s destroying every car in sight, which is followed up with an exhilarating climax taking place on a long runaway inside and outside the plane before it takes off. Right there was exciting to watch throughout, but all I keep thinking about upon re-watches, and everyone has the same thought, is wondering how ridiculously long the runway strip is because the sequence runs about ten minutes long.

Where it has problems, though, is that the pacing in the middle tends to drag down where there’s a time to breathe everything in. The humor surprisingly worked because some scenes had me laughing occasionally, especially from Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris, but I can see where some of the jokes wouldn’t land with most people. The action sequences do sometimes make you think “huh” to where you don’t want your brain to go all physics professor on how everything was planned out, knowing full well that wouldn’t happen in real life. To be fair, they showed the biggest scenes in the trailers, which was a bummer.

But this movie knows that’s it there for fun and not to be taken seriously. They already had plans for Furious 7 before this came out, and it got me excited, especially during its mid-credit scene I wasn’t expecting to find a twist in the timeline with one of the previous films and made for my favorite mid-credit moment of the year. This sixth installment probably doesn’t get much attention as opposed to the other recent additions over the past few years, but this is certainly one of the better Fast and the Furious movies that’s easily in the top five when discussing the franchise as a whole. 

Final Thoughts: Fast and Furious 6’s high-octane action and its continuation of turning the franchise around make for a fun summer popcorn sequel. As great as its predecessor? Not quite since it’s not the most exhilarating plot around or the kind of dialogue that’s entirely smart. But the absurd ride here is still entertaining follow-up to please fans all around.

Grade: B

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