Fast & Furious 6

Fast & Furious 6


Fast & Furious 6 caught me off guard. For starters I had no intention of seeing it when I did. My buddy John and I had gone to the theater to see an advance screening of After Earth. Unfortunately we got there too late, and all the first-come-first-served seats had been completely served. So we decided to see the advanced screening of Now You See Me at the same theater just a half hour later, only to have them cut the line off immediately before us. John had earlier joked about that happening to us, so as we walked to the box office to buy tickets for Fast & Furious 6 he wasn’t without some satisfaction that his prediction came true. It says a lot about a movie when you show up ten minutes early for a Wednesday night showing, and the only seats available are in the dreaded front row.

Warning: Pointless Whiney Rant Ahead

Almost nothing saps my enthusiasm for seeing a movie more than having to sit in the first couple of rows. It hurts my neck and bothers my eyes, and I often get pulled out of the movie because I’m just physically uncomfortable. It may be life’s most unimportant problem, but it’s still all sorts of annoying.

Pointless Whiney Rant Over

It also says a lot that once Fast & Furious 6 started, I soon forgot I was in the front row, and I forgot my disappointment at missing After Earth, and I caught myself having a damn good time.

When last we left the F&F gang (in Fast Five), they’d just pulled off a heist in Brazil scoring $100 million. Since then they’ve scattered a bit and live comfortable, non-criminal lives. Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) lives in a beautiful village in Spain and is dating former police officer Elena Neves (played by Elsa Pataky). He doesn’t seem to do much with his time now except work on cars, stare broodingly at the sunrise, and hang out with Brian (played by Paul Walker) and Mia (played by Jordana Brewster) who’ve just had a son. The four may have managed to create a new home for themselves, but still it’s not their Home. If you recall—and if you don’t, the movie reminds you—they’re all wanted criminals back in America, so this is as good as it gets, until Federal Agent Hobbs (played by Dwayne Johnson) comes by needing their help.


It seems a dangerous criminal by the name of Owen Shaw (played by Luke Evans) has been committing a series of thefts, which when complete would allow him to do some bad thing to the rest of the world. They do explain what that bad thing is, but the specifics are unimportant, and I don’t remember them. Likewise, it’s explained why Hobbs goes to known felons for help instead of using more conventional methods like other federal agents, but likewise it’s not important. The good guy must team up with the bad guys, who we think of as the good guys, to catch the really bad guys.

And what’s in it for the team? Hobbs shows them a recently taken picture of Letty Ortiz (played by Michelle Rodriguez), Dom’s former girlfriend. She was thought to have died in the fourth movie, Fast & Furious, but now seems to be working on Shaw’s team. Dom doesn’t know how she’s alive or why she’s working for such a bad dude. All he knows is he must go to her. Thankfully Elena is totally cool with it, even encouraging of it. If it was her husband, she says, she’d go after him. How sweet. Once Brian hears the news, he knows that he must go after her too. Luckily for him, Mia is totally cool with him going, even encouraging of it. She’d rather risk raising her child as a single mother than not getting Letty back. Letty is family. And family is more important than your baby. Wait, what?

Okay, I realize I’m reaching dangerously high sarcasm levels, so I’ll just come out and say that it was absolutely nuts how little Brian and Mia battle with Brian’s decision to leave. Sure, the movie provides an understandable incentive for Brian to go in that he feels a certain amount of guilt about Letty’s fate, but it would have been nice to see Mia wrestle with it a little bit. But I get why we don’t: we didn’t pay to see Brian and Mia fighting; we came to see the gang hop into fast cars and push pedals and switch gears (and then jump off of those fast cars onto other fast cars). These movies are about speed, which mean the story needs to move.

I will say that the writing/directing team does their best to justify the decision. Family and loyalty come up often in this movie. For Dom the team is everything. That’s why even though his guys disband after their missions, they all drop whatever they’re doing when he summons them. Roman (played by Tyrese Gibson), Tej (played by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), Han (played by Sung Kang) and Gisele (played by Gal Gadot) all reassemble to find their friend, and it speaks volumes that they all do so before learning that they can have their records wiped clean by completing the mission.


What follows next is pretty standard action fare. There is surveillance, there are chases, there are shoot outs, there are hand-to-hand combat scenes, and there are funny quips. The action scenes are all very entertaining even if they defy belief. Hell they are entertaining because they defy belief. I didn’t count how many times people jumped from moving cars, but they make it look as easy as hopscotch. Their utter disregard for their own safety and well-being is laughable, but in a good way. This movie knows exactly what its fans wants, which is mostly fun, balls-to-the-walls action. And it delivers just that.


Film Title: Fast & Furious 6


Except for movie number four, Fast & Furious, I’d seen all the Fast/Furious movies. I’d thought they all had some cool moments, but I didn’t love any of them, and the one I enjoyed most was The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, arguably the runt of the litter. Watching F&F6 in the theater, surrounded by fans of the franchise, I realized why I probably didn’t enjoy the previous films as much as other people did: I’d watched all of them at home on my little TV, by myself. So of course I groaned at the bad dialogue and scoffed at the plot contrivances, and while I may have marveled at the stunts, there’s a big difference between seeing them performed on a 27 inch screen and a screen roughly 20 ft tall by40 ft wide. I think that had I been watching those earlier films at the theater, those groans would have turned into shared laughter with the audience, and the scoffs would have turned into good-natured head shaking.

It’s not uncommon for the audience in a theater to affect my enjoyment of a movie. If people are groaning and laughing at a movie, I’m more likely to be critical of it as I watch it. And if the crowd is laughing heartily, I’m more likely to laugh along too and be less critical. The F&F6 audience loved this movie. After one particularly epic stunt that took place on a highway and involved a tank, the audience erupted in cheers and applause and foot-stomping, and I realized that this was in the middle of an experience. I wasn’t just watching a movie. Rather, I was with a group of people and we were all witnessing something mind-blowing and insanely fun. We shared that enjoyment with each other. What sense did it make to point out the movie’s flaws at that point?


The more I write about movies, the more critical my eye becomes, and often I wonder if I’m becoming more cynical. Movies I would have enjoyed years ago, now disappoint me. Just read my review for GI Joe Retaliation. The fact that I can really enjoy a silly movie like Fast & Furious 6 (and I mean absolutely no disrespect by the word “silly”), makes me think I’m not so cynical after all. F&F6 is a good movie. GI Joe is not. F&F6 writer Chris Morgan and director Justin Lin know their audience. They know the tone their movie needs, and they seem like they’re in it just to have fun. They don’t take the movie too seriously or try to make it over dramatic (which my suggestion of Mia wrestling with Brian leaving would have done).  So kudos to them. And thank you to them.

The last thing I’ll say about my experience is that it made me wonder if I genuinely liked Fast & Furious 6 or just the experience of seeing it with an audience. I’m thinking that it’s both, but the former probably wouldn’t have happened without the latter. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel about the movie once I watch it again at home by myself. Maybe remnants of this fun experience will linger in my mind making the second viewing still enjoyable. Or maybe I’ll be looking at it even more critically since there will be no more surprises for me this time around. My guess is that I’ll feel pretty much the same: you could pick this movie apart, but it’s meant to be a fun, live action cartoon with wild stunts, and there’s no doubt that it delivers just that.

My Rating

I liked It


Fast & Furious 6
Director: Justin Lin (Annapolis, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast FiveCommunity [TV])
Writer: Chris Morgan (Cellular, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Wanted, Fast & Furious, Fast Five)

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And now for no good reason, here are some pictures of the cast holding guns:


Fast And Furious 6

Fast And Furious 6


Fast And Furious 6





Now who wants to buy a DVD?

Or you could just get the whole shebang.

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