Men who purchase high performance vehicles are said to be overcompensating for being ill equipped in their pants. Fast and Furious 6 suffers from the same ineptitude, but overcompensates with crazy action to cover the blemishes.
Special agent Hobbs (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) pulls Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew out of retirement, with the offer of full pardons, to help bring down a sophisticated gang of thieves.
The magical power of a child's belief in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Vin Diesel's acting ability combined, could not make anything in this film feasible. Director Justin Lin creates a hyperactive fantasy world of sanitised action where none of the violence has any grit. Nobody ever bleeds and when characters die they simply fade into the shadows as if phasing out of a videogame. Lin does deliver an excellent chase sequence using modified Formula-1 race cars blitzing through the streets of London and full credit must go to the team of five editors who worked on piecing together the fast pace set piece. Kudos must also go to the team of editors for having to sit through hours of footage from Fast 6 without blowing their brains out. Every explosive element is over the top to mask the abysmal plot which involves the bad guys trying to get something in a suitcase that you don't care about. A scene involving a tank on the loose and a finale which takes place on a never-ending airport runway shatter the suspension of disbelief required to buy into any of the nonsense Lin produces. Some of these moments run so long it's almost like the action cinema equivalent of water torture.
Much like The Rock's neck, the cast's talent is missing. Screenwriter Chris Morgan litters his script with lots of expositional dialogue and characters who punch first and ask questions later. And by "questions" I mean more punching and the occasional flying head butt. Six films into this franchise none of the characters have developed past coming up with new ways to say "we're taking it to the next level bro", "it's all about family bro" and "get the crew...bro". Everyone is a "son of a bitch" and that's the extent of Morgan's gift with writing a conversation. Toretto and his gang are so self absorbed and moronic that throughout the film I was cheering for the antagonists to win. The glorified crooks lack the anti-hero charm of Danny Ocean's ensemble from the Ocean's series where so much of Fast 6 is trying to riff on, and has since Fast 5 with the heist formula.
To further show the lack of faith Lin and Universal Studios has in the audience's conception of the difference between film and reality, a disclaimer appears in the credits warning people not to try the stunts in the film at home. Not every action films needs a prompt disclaimer, but Fast 6 is dim-witted enough to need one.
Cameron Williams - follow Cam on Twitter here: @popcornjunkies