Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fast and Furious 6 review; family forever

You know what's hard to believe?  The Fast and the Furious was released 12 years ago, in 2001!  Skip two forgettable sequels, to 2009, for Fast and Furious.  It felt like the true sequel to the original film.  The story felt real; it was a thriller as much as it was an action film.  There was weight to the story, and the character development was much better.  I was totally game for the franchise after that.  Fast and Furious 5 was released 2011, and we saw the on-screen family grow.  It brought back great characters from each of the previous films.  It had incredibly memorable action set pieces, and left was wanting more.  Now?  Fast and Furious 6; where the movie slogan appropriately reads "All roads lead to this".  Let's go.

What I liked about the film:
The Family (Characters)
This film shows just how close a family these characters are.  Vin Diesel is definitely the leader of the group, and gets ample screen time.  He always has everyone's best interest in mind.  Paul Walker plays his trusted partner in crime.  You get a sense of trust and loyalty with the two characters, that has developed over the course of their 4 films together.  And just like any family, there's a leader (Diesel).  There's a funny man (Tyrese).  And there's also an angry uncle, that's Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson in this case; who needs the group's help in busting an international criminal.  I love Johnson in this movie.  He's such a presence onscreen, he demands attention.  And look out for some really funny scenes with Johnson and rapper, Ludacris.

I felt like some of the other movies made these characters out to be invincible.  And if it stayed that way, we wouldn't care what happens to them.  There has to be consequences to these antics.  And Fast 6 does a nice job of making us care what happens to this family.  The trailers give away the return of Michelle Rodriguez, who supposedly died in part 4.  She does well in these films.  She's a balance of tough and sexy in one.  New to the series, is MMA fighter Gina Carano who is meh, at best; but has some awesome fight scenes with Rodriguez.  Luke Evans, a worthy villain, is also new to the series.  But no spoilers here friends.

This franchise has made a name for itself with terrific action set pieces.  I still talk to my movie loving friends about Fast 5's train action set piece.  This film has several scenes that will be remembered for a long time.  The climax most notably.  I'll get to how absurd it is later in the review, but it is freakin' awesome.  Kudos to the writers, and director Justin Lin, for making these films bigger and better every time.

Justin Lin
Speaking of director Justin Lin... he does it again with this film.  It's story is entertaining, the characters are interesting, and the action keeps our hearts pumping.  He knows the world and he's tied the past films and their characters together very nicely.  Everything from casting to editing is well done here.

What I didn't like about the film:
Fast 6 is outrageous.  It's so outrageous, it knows it's outrageous.  I mean there are a few scenes where the cast, and director Lin are even winking at us... metaphorically of course.  The climax I was referring to earlier, IS. AB-SURD.  It takes place on an airport runway that seemingly never ends.  It includes cars hooking themselves onto a plane to slow it down.  Lets not forget about the tank crushing cars (and killing people) a mile a minute atop a London freeway earlier in the film.  I expect this stuff at Summer action films.  And to be honest, the way Lin handled it, poking fun at it at times, was great.

Total Disregard for Protocol
The story is solid in the film.  I was ok with the reason the gang was brought back together.  I loved how they tied this story into the events of the previous two films.  But there are scenes written to progress the story that will have you rolling your eyes over and over.  All of a sudden, military tactics are discussed in front of a prisoner?  A regular LA cop gets a wanted fugitive into the U.S. to visit an inmate in prison for 24 hours?  That's when you can't help but roll thy eyes and remind yourself, it's just a movie!

The Verdict:
The Harry Potter Effect
As an audience, we're growing with these characters.  Much as we did with the Harry Potter kids.  The 'Potter' films were really a series, not just a franchise.  The stories were interconnected, as were the characters.  And I love that the 'Fast' films are becoming a series, with real continuity.

Brian (Paul Walker), was just a young cop who loved cars in 2001.  Now he's a grown man who has a family with Jordana Brewster, and a son to protect.  Dom (Vin Diesel) is not the man others think he is.  He is the patriarch to this unconventional family.  Justin Lin has directed as many 'Fast' films as David Yates did 'Potter' films.  Crazy right?  But it almost makes sense.  These directors help to create this world the characters inhabit.  They know it best.  I'm a little bummed to hear that Lin will not be back for Fast 7, but you better believe, I'll be along for the ride!  I loved this Summer action blockbuster and can't wait for more.  Be sure to stick around after the credits roll.

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