×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Fast & Furious 6’

Faithful fans and passersby alike should be more than pleased by this superior piece of classical action craftsmanship

With:
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot,  Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Gina Carano, John Ortiz

That increasingly rare Hollywood franchise in which the heroes sport street clothes instead of spandex, Universal’s “Fast and Furious” shifts into sixth gear with few evident signs of engine wear. Mounted on an even larger scale than 2011’s epic (and massively profitable) “Fast Five,” this series swan song for helmer Justin Lin (on board since 2006’s “Tokyo Drift”) ups its own ante on balletic vehicular mayhem and international intrigue, while mending some loose narrative ends and unfurling others. Faithful fans and passersby alike should be more than pleased by this superior piece of classical action craftsmanship, which looks to meet or exceed its predecessor’s nitrous-boosted $626 million global take.

Arriving three months after the misbegotten “A Good Day to Die Hard,” “Fast & Furious 6” (or merely “Furious 6,” as its official title card reads) offers an object lesson in how to keep a leggy saga alive and relevant without losing sight of the elemental strengths that made it popular in the first place. Though high-octane stunts have always been the primary selling point here, Lin and veteran “Fast” screenwriter Chris Morgan have labored to add depth, dimensionality and inner conflict to the now-sprawling cast of recurring characters — so much so that, at times, “Furious 6” plays like a glossy gearhead melodrama.

The actors have grown nicely into their roles over the years, evolving into one of the most diverse ensembles ever assembled for this kind of production. Women and men kick ass in equal measure in the “Fast” movies, and the good guys/girls come in all shapes, sizes and colors. There’s even a romance between a Korean (Sung Kang’s Han) and an Israeli (Gal Gadot’s ex-Mossad agent, Gisele) — which, by major studio standards, is more exotic than Captain Kirk bedding down with an alien. No matter who you are, there’s someone here to identify with.

“Furious 6” opens amid the scenic vistas of Spain’s Canary Islands, where FBI agent-turned-fugitive Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and his former nemesis-turned-BFF, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), were seen hanging up their car keys at the end of “Fast Five,” along with Dom’s pregnant sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), aka the future Mrs. O’Conner, and their respective shares of $100 million in pilfered Brazilian drug money.

SEE ALSO: Justin Lin: ‘Furious’ Filmmaker Finds Better Luck Tomorrow

Following a brief prologue in which Mia gives birth, the pic hopscotches to Moscow, where federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, reprising his “Fast Five” character) surveys the damage from a violent attack on a Russian military convoy. The culprit, Hobbs explains to his new partner (“Haywire” star and real-life MMA champion Gina Carano), is Owen Shaw (the snarling Luke Evans), an international man of mystery seeking to build a dirty bomb capable of knocking out an entire country’s military defense systems. Shaw doesn’t intend to use the bomb himself, for which he needs only one more component part, but rather to sell it to the highest bidder. In a departure from the latest vogue in movie villains, this one isn’t an ideological, bin Laden-esque terrorist, but rather a stone-cold capitalist — though, admittedly, it can be hard to tell the difference these days.

Shaw runs with his own gang of grease-monkey mischief makers who, as one character deftly observes, suggest the evil twins of Toretto’s crew (right down to a bald, Cockney Diesel doppelganger). He also tools about in a custom-built “flip” car (so named for the damage it inflicts on anything it comes into contact with) that resembles the love child of a Dune Buggy and a Formula One car. Resolving that “you need wolves to catch wolves,” Hobbs hightails it to the Canaries to enlist Dom’s help — a negotiation expedited by Hobbs’ revelation that one of Shaw’s associates is a dead ringer for Dom’s erstwhile soulmate, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who appeared to meet up with the wrong end of a gun in 2009’s “Fast and Furious.” Rodriguez’s return to the franchise, teased at the end of “Fast Five,” isn’t the first time these movies have brought a beloved character back from the grave, having previously resurrected Han, who appeared to die in “Tokyo Drift,” by explaining that the events of that film took place chronologically after the events of the fourth, fifth and sixth films.

Soon, Dom has most of the old band back together, along with a promise from Hobbs of immunity for all if they succeed in stopping Shaw in his tracks. (Sitting this one out: fast-talking Puerto Rican hustlers Leo and Santos, last seen gambling away their “Fast Five” winnings somewhere on the French Riviera.) And if teamwork has always been the principal subtext of the “Fast” movies, “Furious 6” is the most overtly Hawksian of the lot, pitting Dom’s belief in family and trust against the mercenary Shaw, who treats his people as expendably as spark plugs. A mid-film pit stop in Los Angeles further ties these new events to those of the 2009 pic, while a juicy post-credits tag both closes the “Tokyo Drift” time loop and sets up the already announced “Fast & Furious 7” (to be directed by “Saw” helmer James Wan).

It’s a perfectly adequate plot for a movie that’s really about finding new ways of making cars do things cars aren’t supposed to do, like tumbling end over end through the lobby of a London office building or, in the movie’s most spectacular image, dangling from the wings of a mighty Russian cargo plane. Lin has spoken of using toy cars as a reference when plotting out each film’s exuberantly destructive action setpieces, and the end results often retain the feel of a child happily smashing his own toys to pieces. That was especially true of “Fast Five’s” spectacular finish, in which two Dodge Chargers plowed through the streets of downtown Rio de Janeiro towing an enormous steel bank vault behind them. A hard act to follow, for sure, but “Furious 6” manages to come awfully close in an exhilarating pursuit along a winding Canaries highway with Shaw at the wheel of a Chieftain army tank, crushing full-sized cars as if they were made of candy glass.

All of it is staged by Lin, alongside returning cameraman Stephen F. Windon and an expert team of stunt coordinators and second unit directors, with a keen attention to spatial geography and a preference for capturing complicated pieces of action in single, continuous shots. Their work here stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of the Bond and “Mission: Impossible” films, as does the vivid soundwork by mixer John Casali, designer Peter Brown and re-recording mixers Frank A. Montano and Jon Taylor, who create a 3D environment one needs no special glasses to appreciate.

Film Review: 'Fast & Furious 6'

Reviewed at AMC Loews 34th Street, New York, May 7, 2013. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 130 MIN.

Production: A Universal release presented in association with Relativity Media of an Original Film/One Race Films production. Produced by Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Clayton Townsend. Executive producers, Justin Lin, Amanda Lewis, Samantha Vincent, Chris Morgan.

Crew: Directed by Justin Lin. Screenplay, Chris Morgan, based on characters created by Gary Scot Thompson. Camera (Deluxe color, 35mm, widescreen), Stephen F. Windon; editors, Christian Wagner, Kelly Matsumoto, Greg D'Auria; music, Lucas Vidal; production designer, Jan Roelfs; supervising art director, James Hambridge; senior art directors, Les Tomkins, Stuart Rose; art directors, Guy Bradley, Toby Britton, Gavin Fitch; set decorator, Richard Roberts; costume designer, Sanja Milkovic Hays; sound (Datasat/Dolby Digital/SDDS), John Casali; sound design and supervision, Peter Brown; re-recording mixers, Frank A. Montano, Jon Taylor; visual effects supervisors, David Vickery, Kelvin McIlwain; visual effects producer, Kevin Elam; visual effects, Double Negative, MPC, Image Engine, Pixomondo, Lola VFX, Factory VFX, Arch 9, Hatch, Level 256, The Creative Chamber; supervising stunt coordinator, Greg Powell; stunt coordinator, Troy Robinson; fight choreographer, Olivier Schneider; assistant director, Vincent Lascoumes; second unit director/stunt coordinator, Spiro Razatos; second unit camera, Igor Meglic; casting, Lucinda Syson.

With: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot,  Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Gina Carano, John Ortiz

More Film

  • European Film Awards Handed Out

    European Film Awards Handed Out (Live and Updating)

    Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” and Joanna Kulig, the star of Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War,” won the prizes for best actor and actress, respectively, at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards, which is being hosted Saturday evening in Seville, Spain. “Dogman” and “Cold War” are among the films that dominated [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Soars Toward $35-40 Million Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is swinging into theaters on a high note. Sony-Marvel’s latest output is launching to $42 million from 3,813 North American locations in its debut, though other more conservative estimates place that number at $35.5 million. The animated superhero story picked up $12.6 million on Friday, easily leading the pack for the weekend. [...]

  • Ventana Sur : Cinema226 Closes Four

    Cinema226 Announces Four Intl. Co-Productions, Hints at More (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker [...]

  • Ventana Sur Debates Gender Parity in

    Ventana Sur Debates Gender’s 50/50 in 2020 for Argentina Film Industry

    BUENOS AIRES — Despite recent gains, namely the equality pledge towards 50/50-2020 signed at the Mar del Plata Film Festival on Nov. 12, producer Magalí Nieva, pointed out that no representative from INCAA was present following the apparent resignation of its vice-president Fernando Juan Lima. “We are left without an interlocutor to discuss gender policies [...]

  • Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass

    Ventana Sur Rocks with Sales, Mass Attendance, Structural Growth

    BUENOS AIRES — Celebrating its 10th anniversary with a huge hike in attendance to over 4,000 accredited delegates, the 2018 Ventana Sur will go down in history on multiple counts: Sales and pick-ups on movies which combined social comment and entertainment value, increasingly the new foreign-language movie standard; new sections, led by a Proyecta co-production [...]

  • Ventana Sur: Aparicio Garcia Pitches Sports

    Uruguay’s Aparicio Garcia Pitches Sports Journalism Dark Comedy ‘Matufia’

    Uruguay’s Aparicio García impressed with his one-of-kind debut earlier this year, the grindhouse rural mobster comedy “La noche que no se repite,” and the filmmaker has now participated in Ventana Sur’s Proyecta section with his next project, the dark comedy thriller “Matufia.” García’s Isla Patrulla is so far the only producer, but his participation at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content