Movie Review: Fast & Furious 6

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A blast from the past shatters the idyllic post-crime lives of Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and pushes them to get back in the undercover fast-car crimebusting game. Again.

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Justin Lin, 2013

Guess who’s back? It’s the return of Michelle Rodriguez as Letty, Dom’s car-loving supposedly-dead girlfriend who actually just has amnesia! Much more friendly than most of the movies in the action girl department, this installment also brings back the fifth film’s Gisele (with an actually kind of sweet focus on the relationship between her and Han, though it ends on a sour note) and introduces badass Gina Carano as a badass military chick whose storyline also ends unfortunately. Shocker. Anyway, once The Rock (I can’t even pretend to remember his character’s name, sorry) shows Dom a picture of his former love, Dom leaves his new love to go find her, with Brian leaving Mia and their baby at home to tag along so he can feel guilty about his involvement in her amnesia. The bad guys are badder than ever, with British accents and an assortment of tanks and weird low killer cars that make this movie look less like a fast & furious and more like Death Race. The action moves to Europe so they can drive down all new roads, and features a few nifty scenes, including the one with the aformentioned tank and a plane on The Longest Runway Ever.

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Wait, wasn’t this the poster for the last movie? No? Okay…

The sixth and most recent film in the franchise has built on the positive traits of previous films and (while you have to suspend disbelief more than ever with regards to the laws of physics and character motivation for most of them) become what is probably the most entertaining, fun installment so far. The plot is as good as the fourth film, with bringing amnesiac Letty home the focus rather than avenging her “death”, giving the story some heart. The action scenes are actionier, with the ante upped in terms of peril. Tyrese even gets one actually funny line about how they’re fighting their “evil twins”, villain Owen Shaw’s gang of miscreants without personalities. Shaw (Luke Evans) bubbles over with genuine, muscular menace, and seems like he might actually be a match for our merry band of antiheroes. The film plays with the chemistry between Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez nicely, giving them plenty of material to work with as ostensibly the best characters in all the movies. The subplot of the relationship between Han and Gisele is a fun one, as is the mentor/mentee relationship between The Rock and Gina Carano – he seems to be genuinely impressed by her, which makes her ending all the more bitter. The car chases are made more thrilling with the addition of killer cars, the tank scene much better than the final plane scene as far as showstoppers go. Justin Lin’s cool, slick style continues to benefit the series, each film looking better than the last, and the beats are still pumping away.

This film does seem to be trying harder on the ladies front, but having more women just so you can do more crappy things to them doesn’t quite count as feminist, even if they are all pretty cool. Dom’s girlfriend from the previous film does, of course, get shafted once Letty shows up again, and all the women are defined in relation to male characters, but Michelle Rodriguez gets some nice stuff to do as Letty. She even says at one point in the film that nobody makes her do anything she doesn’t want to, although she does end up literally needing to be rescued. Sigh. There are some great women in this cast, and I’d honestly love to see a film starring just them sometime. A shift in focus to Letty in the future wouldn’t go astray either.

Fast & Furious 6 on IMDb

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