Fast & Furious 6

Cast:
Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs
Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
Luke Evans as Owen Shaw
Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Elsa Pataky as Elena Neves
Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto
Gina Carano as Riley
Gal Gadot as Gisele Harabo
Sung Kang as Han
Lee Asquith-Coe as Sgt Sheldern
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Shea Whigham as Stasiak
Ludacris as Tej Parker

Directed by Justin Lin

Summary:
Defying conventional wisdom, “Fast & Furious 6″ shows the series isn’t losing steam as it continues to feature spectacular action and a great cast. Plot holes and physics-defying stunts are forgivable as it ends up being an action flick worth checking out in theaters.

Story:
Sometime after the events of 2011′s “Fast Five,” Dominic Toretto and his fellow criminals are living the easy life. Dom lives in paradise with Elena. Brian O’Conner and his wife Mia have a newborn son. Han and Gisele are living in Asia. Roman lives the high life in casinos with supermodels and Tej parties in Mexico. They have achieved their dreams, but Dom and Brian feel something is still missing.

Meanwhile Luke Hobbs and his new partner Riley are hot on the heels of an international robber by the name of Owen Shaw. He’s attempting to steal components of a superweapon from the world’s militaries and he intends to sell it to the highest bidder. To accomplish this, he uses his military training and highly modified supercars to evade police. Frustrated by Shaw’s multiple escapes, Hobbs turns to one last option.

He tracks down Dominic Toretto in hiding and asks for his help in catching Shaw. And as added incentive for Dom, Hobbs adds one last bombshell – Dom’s former love Letty, who was long thought dead, is a member of Shaw’s criminal team. With that piece of information, the entire crew comes out of retirement for the sake of family… and full pardons.

“Fast & Furious 6″ is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language.

What Worked:
Sometimes you want fine dining, but sometimes you want fast food (pun intended). “Fast & Furious 6″ is the cinematic equivalent of that cheeseburger you buy as a guilty pleasure. You don’t go into these films because you want Oscar caliber performances, sweeping epics, and amazing dialogue. You go into “Fast & Furious 6″ because you want to see car chases, crazy fight scenes, hot girls, and tough guys. This latest addition to the series delivers that on all fronts and it’s impressive to realize that as they go into their sixth film, they are actually getting stronger.

My favorite thing about “Fast & Furious 6″ is, of course, the action. Early on we’re treated to a spectacular car chase through the streets of London as Dom and his crew face off against Shaw in his armored, highly-modified Formula 1 supercar. It is designed to be bulletproof and ramp shaped, so it tears through police cars in spectacular fashion. And as you may have seen in the trailers, there is an impressive tank chase that would make the Blues Brothers green with envy. But not all of the action is on the road. One of the better scenes is a world-class catfight in the London Underground between Gina Carano as Riley and Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz. It’s quite impressive and is on par with any of the fight scenes involving Dwayne Johnson. But the boys deliver the fisticuffs as well as the big finale features a tag team match with Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson fighting Shaw and his thug. You start feeling like you’re seeing Hulk and Thor on the screen in battle again, just without the CG and costumes.

The cast from “Fast Five” remains mostly intact this time and continues to deliver the chemistry that made the last film so successful (However, Jordana Brewster and Elsa Pataky remain mostly on the sidelines this time.) Tyrese Gibson remains the comic relief as Roman Pearce. Vin Diesel continues to look tough and growl his lines as Dominic Toretto. He is frequently overshadowed by Dwayne Johnson who manages to combine humor with the convincing tough guy routine. Michelle Rodriguez returns to the lineup as Letty Ortiz. She’s the main driving force behind everything that happens in the film, so she’s given significantly more to do this time. And as we already know, Rodriguez is more than capable of combining the tough chick attitude and beauty that fits this movie well. The only new addition to the cast is Gina Carano as Riley. She makes a great sidekick to Dwayne Johnson and really helps amp up the action.

As fun and ridiculous as “Fast & Furious 6″ is, they manage to take a page from the Marvel playbook and toss in a credits scene that foreshadows what will happen in “Fast & Furious 7.” If you can avoid being spoiled about what it is, it’s a great payoff. I heard more than one person walking out of the theater saying they couldn’t wait for the next one.

What Didn’t Work:
As fun as the action is in “Fast & Furious 6″, that action is somewhat marred by the use of CG. Some of the stunts defy the laws of physics and logic and the less realistic they are, the less entertaining they are. For example, seeing a CG Vin Diesel fly through the air from a speeding car is a lot less entertaining than seeing a real Gina Carano punch Michelle Rodriguez in the face. Seeing a speeding supercar flip a police car in the streets of London is a lot more impressive than seeing a CG Dwayne Johnson do an impossible jump between speeding cars. And in the grand finale, all real world rules are thrown out the window in a scene designed more for visual spectacle than realism. I would encourage the creators to stick with practical effects as much as possible in “Fast & Furious 7.”

While nobody is going to focus that much on the script for “Fast & Furious 6,” it did have some rather big plot holes. The reason that Letty reappears after being thought dead for so many years is a bit silly. Soap opera writers will probably see this film and think, “Oh, come on.” It does lead to one strong scene between Dom and Letty as they reunite for the first time, but it doesn’t make it any less goofy. As for other problems, a twist with one of the characters late in the film doesn’t hold up to scrutiny if you think about it too much, but that’s the point. You’re not supposed to think about it much. If you can accept that, then you’ll enjoy “Fast & Furious 6.”

The Bottom Line:
If you’re in the mood for a solid action movie with an entertaining cast, then “Fast & Furious 6″ delivers. You’ll find it worth checking out in theaters. Just take a big bucket of popcorn along with you and leave your brain at home.

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