This one’s an exciting one. Not only is this review two months early (At the time of this review’s writing, it was late March), but its also for a summer film that I was really looking forward to. But I wouldn’t have said that a few years ago. The Fast And The Furious franchise is one that took 10 long years to get off the ground. Sure, the first film came out long back in 2001, but the film never reached an unparalleled level of critical and commercial success until five films into the franchise, with the surprise hit Fast Five. When I walked into the theater for Fast Five back in 2011, I thought I was about to see the last dying breath of a near-dead franchise. What I saw was a rejuvenation. And when I walked out, I couldn’t wait to see Fast And Furious 6, which follows Dominic Toretto and his team once again as they team up with the tough government agent Hobbes to take down a team of rogue drivers who threaten national security.
Acting can’t be held to an Oscar-quality standard in a tentpole popcorn flick like Fast And Furious 6, but for a blockbuster action thriller, everyone involved seems to be having fun with this film. This is most true for Dwayne Johnson, at his manliest, pulpiest finest, having a ball with his character Hobbes, and we can’t help but have a ball as we watch him hulk onto the screen and kick ass. Within five minutes he’s redesigned the interior of an interrogation room by slamming a guy against the ceiling and walls, and that’s just the beginning. With this and GI Joe (which I haven’t seen yet at the time of this review), it seems like we should just start trusting Johnson with instilling life into all action franchises from now on. Everyone else does a fine job with their roles: Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are both one-note actors, but this is their one note, being hit at its very best. They’re fun to watch; no more, no less. Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris both provide hilarity to the team, with the comedic relief funny, well-timed, like a more refined version of the over-the-top stuff Michael Bay injects into his Transformers films so gratuitously. Rounding off the cast is Luke Evans as the new villain Owen Shaw. Evans provides a cold deviousness to Shaw, making him a villain that’s not only easy to root against, but also one you wouldn’t want to cross.
As times have gone on, the genre that the Fast And Furious films can be classified in has matured with the number following the title. It’s gone from being a street-racing thriller to a full-out heist movie. Now, we’ve reached the point where it can’t be put into one specific subgenre of the action heading. It’s simply an action film. It’s not a heist movie. It’s not a street-racing thriller. It’s a pure action blockbuster, from beginning to end. It isn’t sophisticated action a la The Dark Knight and Skyfall, but it’s far from bottom of the barrel and I have to say, it’s probably the most fun I’ve had in the movies in a very, very long time. There’s no emotional heaviness to this film, but there’s nothing that drags it down either. From the first frame to the after-credits scene (which probably ranks among the best ever, stay for it), the film is the definition of blockbuster filmmaking at its finest: loud, relentless, clever, ridiculously fun, and filled with defined and memorable set pieces.
You’re going to walk out of Fast And Furious 6 tired. But it’s a very good kind of tired. The kind of tired after you’ve been on an insane, explosive adventure, the exact kind that this film provides so well through it’s well-defined, perfectly shot set pieces. Every car chase in this film hits all the right action beats perfectly, crafting great levels of intensity and fun. But this isn’t all shaky-cam, blended together action, the best thing about these action sequences is that they are defined. They take place in a memorable location, from a London Underground station to a highway and they’re easy to follow. They’re a controlled explosion of insanity and hectic action, so well done by director Justin Lin, who includes some of the most ridiculously awesome action moments of the past few years, especially the final few action sequences, which starts with a highway chase that sets the bar for all highway chases for years to come and just gets better from there.
I have no complaints about what this film is. It’s loud, it’s ridiculous, it’s relentless, and it isn’t art. It isn’t cinema. But it’s perfect for what it is. I thought the bar had been set high with Fast Five, but Fast Five really reaches its peak with the brilliant vault sequence at the end of that film, but this film starts with the quality of that sequences and not only maintains it, but escalates it to the point where it’s gonna be hard to imagine how they’ll top this in the next film. But if the after-credits scene is any indicator, oh boy they will. When I walked out of Fast Five, I said one thing: “bring on Fast Six”. So it is only fitting that I say it here: bring on Fast Seven.
FINAL GRADE: ★★★★★★★★★ (9/10 stars)
FINAL SAY: It isn’t high art, but Fast And Furious 6 is brilliant blockbuster filmmaking, with a fun cast, relentless pace, and well-directed, amazingly entertaining action.
Fast And Furious 6 will be released in theaters May 24, 2013.