Still Living Life in the ‘Fast’ Lane

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Confession time. I am a huge film buff that especially appreciates the works of directors like Kubrick, Scorsese and Tarantino. On the contrary however, we all admittedly have our own unique guilty pleasures, and the “Fast and the Furious” franchise is certainly my biggest one. I would’ve never imagined there being six movies made in the franchise, but I also didn’t expect that the fifth movie would be the best. Now with six movies under its belt, the F&F series has certainly raised the bar for the better yet again.

After pulling off a 100 million dollar heist in Rio, “car whisperer” Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew are living their lives in peace and fortune on various exotic locales across the world. However, their peace is short-lived once DSS Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) offers them the job of taking down an organization of skilled mercenary drivers that are led by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), whose right-hand is Dom’s presumed-dead lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). Hobbs offers Dom and his crew the erasure of their criminal records if they can complete the job, and the action soon kicks in on the streets of London once they accept.

Going into a “Fast and Furious” movie, you should not expect the following: a compelling story, realism and adherence to the laws of physics. Instead, if you check your brain at the door and indulge within the thrilling, albeit over-the-top, action sequences and comical character banter, you’ll definitely have a great time like I did.

Apart from Dwayne Johnson, every other main actor in this film isn’t that famous outside this franchise. Fortunately though, the acting by the ensemble is the definition of serviceable, but you can tell that all of them are having the time of their life on screen. All of them exhibit such genuine chemistry with each other, especially Tyrese and Ludacris, who continue to maintain a smart sense of humor by ragging on both each other and their crew members present in the given scene.

Yet the real star of this movie is director Justin Lin. In “Fast Five,” he proved how capable he is of constructing elaborately detailed action sequences, in addition to having a huge self-awareness of the material he works with. In “Fast Six,” Lin proves that yet again by delivering some of the best action sequences in cinema so far this year, especially the sequences that involve a highway tank chase and the crashing of a plane. Certain action directors (cough … Michael Bay) should definitely take some notes from Lin because of how well he films action with a deft composition of wide and medium shots to increase the scope of the situation.

Additional props are also given to writer Chris Morgan for his ability to continually come up with ridiculous yet inventively entertaining action set pieces.  While Morgan may not be a great writer in terms of story, he has a good sense for entertaining character banter, which culminates in a lot of humorous moments from the comical insults drawn towards certain characters.

Now as much of a fan I am of these movies, they’re certainly not perfect. Their plot holes are noticeable from a marathon distance, the villains are caricatures, and there is no chance of the action sequences actually happening in real life. However, that fantasy element is something that has gotten better over time, mostly because of the heightened self-awareness of the material, for it knows how ridiculous it is.  Once you accept that given notion, you’ll get a huge dosage of summer blockbuster fun in return.

“Fast & Furious 6” is an adrenaline shot to the heart with a side of nitrous oxide to boot.  As a long-devoted fan of this franchise, I would even say it topped the fifth film as the best one in the series. If you’re looking for a fun time at the movies and nothing more, “Fast 6” is a great medication to fill in that void.

Recommended. Fan or not, this is the pure definition of blockbuster entertainment done right.