Fast & Furious
After several daring heists take place around the world by an impossibly fast crew, it becomes clear that a powerful weapon is being constructed. Government agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) must assemble a team of retired thieves lead by Dom (Vin Diesel) and ex-cop Brian (Paul Walker) to reclaim the stolen goods and save an old friend in the process.
Fast & Furious 6 is certainly a high octane thrill ride, but it’s one that’s almost totally devoid of any sense.
If you’re here, you’re here to see the car chases, and when these scenes come, they are genuine adrenalin pumping setpieces. These chases are visceral and kinetic, fast and furious (sorry), and there are moments you feel you are behind the wheel launching off a ramp at ludicrous speeds.
Of course, it boasts a total disregard for all laws of physics and logic, one scene in particular involving an impossible leap between two bridges leaves you thinking: "Oh, come on".
There is a modern Robin Hood fantasy at play here, a merry band of honourable thieves stealing from the real bad guys. It’s an automobile fanatic’s Ocean’s Eleven. There is also an incredibly cheesy theme about the importance of family running throughout that is so ham-fisted it’s cringeworthy. The film is so wantonly brainless that at one point, Dom asks one of the crew to secure some cars and specifies: “Make sure they’re fast.” Well, yeah, obviously - fast cars are the whole point of the movie!
Paul Walker is characteristically wooden and Vin Diesel plays Vin Diesel as per usual. Luke Evans is the stoic villain of the piece, you know he’s the bad guy because he has an English accent: it’s a dead giveaway. Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs is the most likeable, as a loose cannon and hulking one-liner machine; he has more charisma in his raised eyebrow than Walker has in his whole body.
The world of street racing becomes ridiculously glamourised as dozens of scantily clad girls dance for the amusement of drag racers who seem to have free run of London’s thoroughfares. You might be forgiven for mistaking the whole thing for a feature length rap video; indeed, two of the film's main characters are actually rappers.
The whole Fast & Furious franchise is based on the simple idea that everybody loves car chases, so let’s make movies as an excuse for lots of chase scenes. The fact that this is the sixth instalment in the series just goes to show that this formula works, at least in terms of box office returns.
It’s a brawny testosterone-fest and you won’t find much more to it than that, but if you’re going to see a movie called Fast & Furious 6 you were probably expecting that.
Seán Kenehan is an Irish journalist who is currently living in Barcelona. More reviews can be found on Seán's blog here.