Hello. My name is Andrew and I have a problem. For as long I have lived, I haven’t given a damn about cars. I don’t care how fast they go. I don’t care how cool they look. For me, if a car runs, that’s good enough. Now when it comes to cars on the big-screen, they don’t get much faster or more visually stunning than in the Fast & Furious franchise. Now up until this point, I wouldn’t say any of the films inparticular have been any good. Well, that is until now. Yes. My name is Andrew and I liked Furious 6 (That’s the title in the credits. Yes, we’re going through this again).
Furious 6 is Taiwanese filmmaker Justin Lin’s fourth straight directing gig in the franchise and although 2011’s Fast Five was the first to truly receive overall positive critical notice, it still left a lot to be desired. Sure the action sequences were spectacular, but it still lacked a compelling narrative nor did it provide anything by the way of an emotional connection. With Furious 6 however, it seems Lin along with his screenwriter Chris Morgan have finally cracked the code in making the Fast franchise more than just about things going boom.
The main narrative pull for this one focuses on the ‘resurrection’ of car thief Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) believed-to-be-dead ex-lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) who is now working for the incredibly dangerous ‘car terrorist’ Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). CIA Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) calls upon Dom’s crew to help him hunt down Shaw, using Letty’s reappearance as bait for Dom and his crew who now preach family (and yeah, cool cars) above all else. Letty has amnesia and can’t seem to remember her past life with the crew, but that’s certainly not going to stop Dom from bringing her back home.
The things that work about Furious 6 work against all odds. The commonly-used amnesia device doesn’t come across as hokey, but rather gives the audience a much needed emotional thread to cling to. Sure I couldn’t have cared less about the character Letty in previous installments, but Lin provides just enough gravitas to scenes involving her and Dom that it’s hard to not put yourself in Dom’s shoes. To quote good ole Benedict Cumberbatch in last week’s blockbuster, “Is there anything you would not do for your family?”
The action as expected is plentiful. The stunts are so insane that you can’t help but just laugh at how ridiculous and unrealistic they are. But hey, if you’re coming to a Fast film expecting realism then you probably shouldn’t have bought a ticket in the first place. Justin Lin has a way of directing action that is superior to most other big-budget filmmakers out there. He never loses track of his characters and their places in a given scene. The mastery with which he is able to juggle various threads at a single moment in time is enviable. I never would have said this prior, but it’s truly a shame that this will most likely serve as his final entry in the director’s chair.
As I sit here writing this review, I am still amazed at just how well the film works. There’s definitely something more to this sequel. It’s not just exposition-based, testosterone-fueled, bang crash boom entertainment. There’s a story here, about a group of people who care enough about each other to risk their lives in order to bring everyone back home. Sometimes, you just gotta drive a little fast and furious to get there.