Really, film franchises that go past the # 3 sequel are rare and honestly, most of them aren’t that successful. I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly that fond of the first two films in the Fast and the Furious film franchise, and while I liked that “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift” the way it went for a different flavor and jumped ahead in time, it wasn’t until the fourth sequel that the film felt that it finally got its stride as a popcorn action flick. Justin Lin became the right director for the franchise and knew what he had to do with “Fast 5”, he made energetic, bombastic and outrageously thrilling that it was a film quite easy to like.
This sixth sequel called “Fast and Furious 6”, takes place right after the events of the previous film. Agent Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and his partner Riley (Gina Carano, Haywire) is after a ruthless international criminal group led by Shaw (Luke Evans) and he has proven to be quite elusive. Desperate, Hobbs summons the group that successfully pulled off the heist in Rio De Janiero that took down a druglord, realizing that he needs skilled drivers to go against Shaw’s group of experts in vehicular mayhem. Having earned a $ 100 million each payday, Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) have decided to keep a low profile. But when Hobbs comes forth with an offer, Dom cannot refuse and that involves his old flame Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), the old crew (Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Chris Bridges, Gal Badot) reunite to get Letty back. But this job may just cost them their very lives.
Keeping up with the tempo and pace of “Fast 5”, the screenplay keeps things as outrageous and ridiculously crazy as ever. It keeps the focus a little different from what made the previous films and instead of making fast cars its bread and butter, it makes over-the-top crazy stunts the driving force. I know the franchise is all about bad guys taking on bad guys, but this time, it is the bad guys turning the good guys since they are helping out the police. It is all about Letty’s rescue, and not the crew trying to get more money, the themes of the film revolve around family, loyalty and familial responsibility. The first three movies were all about cars, races and stunts, now with this 6th installment, director Justin Lin seeks to wrap up his characters in a pure action flick.
The humor in the 5th film is still intact, and they aided the flow of its script. Yes, I guess one can consider the injection of its comedy a little cheesy, but really it speaks well for the film’s group dynamics. Even when in the most dramatic moments, Lin injects some teasing and jokes to allow for the establishment of the group chemistry. The script does not forget to make references to the previous films, and this does make its viewers laughing and smiling. It makes the characters feel a little more real and natural, despite the aims of the direction to make the film as over-the-top as possible and that they were cartoonishly near-invulnerable.
In the film’s opening act, it was a nice touch to see Dom and Brian race as a sign of their past competitive days, while also giving the two their new beginning with Mia (Jordana Brewster). I do have to admit that some of the devices in the plot had some issues as it made the film predictable, but the action sequences that Lin had set up were very effective in immersing its viewer. His camera work are just phenomenal as he picked shots that would make Jerry Burckheimer and Michael Bay green with envy. The heart pumps with each intense action set piece, as Lin shows his skill in the editing and angling of each action shot. Fast, quick and intense, Lin never loses sight of the action and he immerses his viewer right in the middle of the action and stunts. Movies such as the “Transformers” have made the screen a little too busy, that keeping up with the scenes made it a challenge; but here, Lin never loses his control over the action visuals. The film certainly is meant for the big screen with all the sound lossless as possible.
It is quite easy to say that Justin Lin’s “Fast and Furious 6” isn’t as strong and fun as “Fast 5”, but he does arguably manage to make the film bigger, more stunt-laden and definitely just as over-the-top as his previous flick. Despite its predictability and stereotypical devices, it succeeds in wrapping up what the story began in “Fast and Furious 4”. The new direction that Lin had created had less focus on cars and stunts, bringing its characters to bear in a pure bred action movie. It may not be the best in the franchise, and it never struggled in grabbing my attention. It is solid for what it is. Recommended. [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
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