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Review: Fast and Furious 6
May 16, 2013
The sixth instalment in the Fast and Furious franchise (yes, six!) has followed on from its predecessors and focussed on more than just racing, drawing influences from heist films such as The Italian Job and blockbuster GI Joe. Following on from Fast and Furious Five, it continues to learn from its mistakes and focuses on having big action and big laughs throughout.
A direct sequel to the fifth film, but serving as a prequel to Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, the ‘family’ of racers have since retired and moved on with their lives, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) make a short-lived agreement to ‘never race again’, while the rest enjoy the spoils of the heist in Rio De Janeiro which took place in Fast Five. Dwayne Johnson reprises his role as the formidably large and powerful, yet unusually friendly, Agent Hobbs. He brings the ‘family’ back together when a new gang of thieves in racing cars have been targeting numerous bases for parts to a ‘billion-dollar’ weapon but the real bait is the possible survival of Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) from the previous film who appears to have joined the gang.
This new gang is led by Luke Evans who does a great job portraying the villain (British accent used to maximum evil effect) of Owen Shaw, an ex-SAS agent who seems to have all the plans, cars and firepower to dwarf any attempt to stop him. The use of two rival gangs creates a captivating rivalry which would usually fail due to it being a cliché if it weren’t played for laughs and pointed out that they seem to be fighting their evil twins!
More than half the film takes place in London, so I am inclined to be biased and enjoy the race scenes for the spectacle of Piccadilly Circus and the Millennium Eye as a backdrop, in some instances the shots are so visually appealing this may end up being the best sponsor for British tourism. Stereotypes abound as Diesel and Co move throughout the film displaying American superiority and masculinity over the incompetence or pompousness of Brits, which actually gains cheers in some instances and jeers in others. This doesn’t harm the overall tone of the film, as who doesn’t love satire more than the Brits?! The rest of the film takes place in Spain, Russia and Los Angeles taking advantage of key scenery and the national speed limit for the racing scenes.
There isn’t just a focus on racing; however, in fact it’s more action and physical spectacle than the original incarnations. Featuring an amazing ending set piece involving a plane interspersed with Diesel and Johnson performing a hotly anticipated team-up in a brutal cage match, not to mention the phenomenal scene involving a tank which rips the physics rule book before running it over.
The disappearance of Letty holds the only emotional weight of the film and any characterization which appears later in the film is only to tie up loose ends or prepare itself for the inevitable sequel. It’s fair to say that this is the first part of a two-part story, with the ending leaving the audience hanging on to the edge of their seas before they dash off and pre-order tickets for the seventh film. Fast and Furious 6 does suffer from occasional bad script writing which actually works to its benefit, falling into the so-bad-it’s-good category. This film has given me a healthy dose of action, laughs and achieved the impossible; it has made me excited for the sequel.
Fast and Furious 6 is released in cinemas tomorrow.