There are few certainties in life. That’s it. That’s my only reasoning as to why we are six films into a franchise that consists of cars going fast, men being furious and characters justifying everything with the word “family”. People know what they like and they like what they know. So. Here we are at Fast and Furious 6. You know there’s going to be an off-plot street racing scene. You know there’s going to be more scantily clad women dancing on cars than a Lil Wayne video. And you know that no matter what odds are against him, Vin Diesel is going to come walking out of the flames cut and dirty, but otherwise unharmed at the end of it all. It’s testament to the ‘storytelling’ that the plots of the five previous films can be summed up in a two minute opening credits montage. The complexity *cough* of six is no exception. After pulling off a $100M heist, Brian (Paul Walker) and Toretto (Vin Diesel) have pledged to leave their old lives behind them because Mia (Jordan Brewster) spat* out a baby. But when the walking penis in a vest that is Hobbs (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) shows up on their door with proof that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is alive and running with a dangerous new crew, Toretto and Brian have no choice but to reassemble the gang for a chance at saving her. Because FAMILY.
The crew you’re probably familiar with by now: the token Asian Han (Sung Kang), the two Spanish mamas Elena (Mrs Chris Hemsworth, Elsa Pataky) and Gisele (Gal Gadot) who alternated between the role of token tough chick in Rodriguez absence, Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and tech whiz Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) whose purpose in the film is to say sentences like: “Daymn. That mobility unit is the truth. We’re talking vehickular warfare.” That last word is Ludacris’ attempt at saying the word vehicular, if you were wondering. Chuck in two new faces with wrestling-turned-movie star Gina Carano (making a disappointing follow up to Haywire) and Luke Evans as the British bad guy and that’s your cast.
Despite an injection of new talent, the comfort of familiar faces and some ritzy action sequences, the most exciting thing about Fast and Furious 6 is Rodriguez’ return as Letty, a character who can be summed up by the line: “Tough chick, dark hair, mean streak.” That also describes Rodriguez’s entire repertoire, but there’s something to be said for the tough-as-nails femme who can not only hold her own with the boys, but gets to wear a fairly decent amount of clothing (in contrast to the side boob, ass cheek requirement of other characters). The fight scenes between her and Carano are genuinely awesome and some of the most entertaining in the film. Besides that . . . look, you don’t see a Fast and Furious film for the plot. But when you shift the action to London city at least have some consistency. For instance, standard police aren’t allowed to carry guns in the UK. Therefore it’s ill advised to have a patrolman leaning out the side of a moving car firing a MACHINE GUN at an enemy vehicle. Follow it with Brian schooling out wisdom to the crew later - “It’s illegal to carry a handgun in the UK” - and that only confirms the stupidity. Add some rambling about the ‘bad’ crew out to get an army crippling gadget called Nightshade (because ominous mythological names for evil devices like Project Zeus were already taken by other Rock franchises) and you can check your brain at the foyer.
Then there’s the dialogue. Diesel rumbles through his lines better than some of the car engines, but The Rock gets the worst of it. You could play a shot game for every time he mutters “Come on you bastard” while starring through a pair of binoculars. Other Hobbs-isms include: “They hit like thunder and they disappear like smoke.” Even though thunder doesn’t hit anything, it’s just noise and moving particles. Maybe he means lightning? And smoke doesn’t really ‘disappear’. Anyone who has ever burned pancakes in a frying pan and spent the next 10 minutes frantically fanning the smoke alarm with their arms knows that shit does not just ‘disappear’.
The Fast and Furious franchise has the fist-bumping revhead market cornered. There’s nothing else in existence that you can compare it to except, well, itself. So on a Fast and Furious scale of just how Fast and/or Furious number six is . . . it’s not 2 Fast 2 Furious or Tokyo Drift bad. It’s not The Fast and Furious or Fast 5 good either, which are enjoyable in the same way leaping around on a dance floor to All The Small Things is. Numero six is on par with the last time Rodriguez was in the franchise, number four, where they reverted back to just calling it Fast and Furious. It’s meh. There are some great tent pole action scenes, but the story (HA!) isn’t looped together with as much taffy and Diesel growling as it needs. Side note: I look forward to not typing out another fucking awful movie title until F7ast Fur77ious7 hits cinemas like AIDs did the eighties.
At the conclusion, Phallic McBaldy 1 (The Rock) stares deep into the eyes of Phallic McBaldy 2 (Diesel) and whispers: “Until next time” (which is echoed back in an equally masculine whisper). You can’t help but wonder: how much faster or furiouser can this series can get? And when, pray tell, will this idling Skyline of a franchise end up on bricks in the overgrown front yard of Hollywood? Soon. The answer is SOON.
Maria Lewis - follow Maria on Twitter here: @moviemazz
*Technical medical term.
Sydney, Australia. Getting her start as a police reporter, her writing on pop culture has appeared in publications such as the New York Post, Guardian, Penthouse, The Daily Mail, Empire Magazine, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, i09, Junkee and many more. Previously seen as a presenter on SBS Viceland’s nightly news program The Feed and as the host of Cleverfan on ABC, she has been a journalist for over 15 years.
Her best-selling debut novel Who's Afraid? was published in 2016, followed by its sequel Who’s Afraid Too? in 2017, which was nominated for Best Horror Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2018. Who’s Afraid? is being developed for television by the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning Hoodlum Entertainment. Her Young Adult debut, It Came From The Deep, was released globally on October 31, Halloween, 2017 and is a twist on The Little Mermaid meets Creature From The Black Lagoon.
Her fourth book, The Witch Who Courted Death, was released on Halloween, 2018 and nominated for Best Fantasy Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2019. Her fifth novel set within the share supernatural universe is due for release in October, 2019.