Fast & Furious has now joined the elite group of super sequels that few franchises achieve. It now stands alongside A Nightmare on Elm Street 6: Freddy’s Dead, and Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives, in the ‘Six Club’ with their entry Fast & Furious 6: Letty Resurrected. The only minor difference is that only one of these three films has made $130 million dollars worldwide in its opening weekend. I think it’s Freddy’s Dead. BUT I’M NOT SURE.
This time around, Dom Toretto and his “family” of criminals are recruited by the government, for some reason, to take out a terrorist who has a SUPER MICROCHIP IN A SUITCASE THAT CAN CAUSE WORLDWIDE DESTRUCTION… even though in retrospect, the navy seals and a couple of stealth airplanes would have done the job just as well. I guess the crew take on the mission to save Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who I’m pretty sure died in Fast Five but is back now because “Sure, why not?”. Now she has mega amnesia and can’t remember anything about her old crew or her previous life, but she retained all of her awesome driving skillz and hand-to-hand combat abilities. Convenient amnesia is the BEST amnesia.
UNINTENTIONALLY HILARIOUS MOMENT #1: While driving probably 90 MPH in opposite directions, Dom somehow manages to steer his car and accelerate the gas pedal while hanging 75% of his body out of the window while making the split second decision to jump 100 feet and tackle another character mid-air on a bridge at the perfect time to smash them both into the windshield of a car in order to AVOID injury. He didn’t get a single scrape on his skin and his white shirt remained cleaner than when he opened it from the original packaging.
It’s easy to forget that the main character of this film is played by a guy named Mark Sinclair; who intentionally shaved his head bald, changed his name to Vin Diesel, and moved to Hollywood with dreams of becoming a big time actor. He barely even acts in this one, with his face frozen in a kind of confused grimace the entire film. The kind of face where you can’t tell if he’s the stupidest person on the planet, or if he’s quietly a genius. Where’s that face again? Ah, here it is:
Conversely, the other main star of this film is a guy who called himself The Rock for most of his professional life, then changed his name BACK to Dwayne Johnson (which sounds like a country music singer) in order for people to take him seriously as an actor. I have to say, of all the actors in this movie, Johnson is the one guy who actually seems like he *wants* to be there. That dude can role through lines like nobodies’ business. It seems like the director can give him a page of lines and he will read them with maximum charisma and enthusiasm at all times, no matter how ridiculous they may be. It’s almost like he appreciates having a role in these niche movies… Meanwhile, the rest of the cast seem bored with the fact they have to do another one of these movies, despite the fact they are widely popular films and are basically keeping most of their relevance in tact (see: Paul Walker, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson).
UNINTENTIONALLY HILARIOUS MOMENT #2: Near the end of the movie as the villain is getting away, he tries to use his cell phone, but they cut away to a shot of Ludacris typing on a keyboard of a random government computer wildly, like a six-year-old pretending to play businessman on an imaginary computer; followed by saying “Alright, his cell phone is jammed.” in the most deadpanned voice possible.
I didn’t necessarily despise this movie or anything. I just didn’t really like it. But it has some good action scenes. I thought Fast Five was crazier, though, in my opinion. And the action scenes go on so long that I started to get fatigued. And when I get fatigued, I start to think about things I shouldn’t, and it takes away from the action scenes. Like, why is an army tank, that is anchored down by a car tied to it, still going faster than the Toretto crew’s race cars? Tanks are slow as hell, aren’t they? And how long is this runway that the plane at the end is trying to take off from? They are going super fast on it for a solid 15 minutes; is this a 20 mile long runway?
But whatever, it’s a well put together movie for what it is. During the slower scenes, they tried to add a lot of comic relief, to which most of the audience laughed at. I got a little sick of Tyrese Gibson’s character after a while. He’s pretty annoying. These movies have a nice formula that works for them, and I respect that the fans of this franchise love that formula.
Though, I’d still prefer a more nuanced car chase scene than the “have as much happening as possible at once” car scenes I’m seeing here. Comparing the car scenes in The French Connection or Death Proof to the ones in the Fast and Furious movies are like comparing the emotional lightsaber battles between Luke and Vader to the spazzy overchoreographed lightsaber battles with General Grievous and Darth Maul in the Star Wars prequels.
UNINTENTIONALLY HILARIOUS MOMENT #3: It took literally being inside an exploding airplane for Dom’s white shirt to get dirt on it. He still, uh, didn’t have any scrapes or bruises, though.
Really? My leg gets all scraped up when I rub it against my couch the wrong way. How does he casually walk out of burning airplane wreckage with no problems? Is he human? You know, one reason why the Die Hard movies are great is because by the end of the movie, John McClain always looks like shit. He’s hobbling around on one leg while nursing a deep abdominal laceration. He looks like a guy who’s been through hell in order to get the job done. He looks like he’s potentially able to be defeated. It creates tension for the character and makes the audience actually fear for our protagonist a little bit. Meanwhile, Dom gets shot in the shoulder, jumps out of a moving car, smashes through a windshield, has 15 straight minutes of brutal hand to hand combat, then explodes in an airplane; and he looks and acts exactly like he did when he woke up that morning. So, again, is Dom even human? If he’s an alien or a robot, they should just say so, because that would actually add some much-needed depth to the character.
UNINTENTIONALLY HILARIOUS MOMENT #4: In a perfect moment of showing the overall intelligence of the target audience summed up onto one screen full of text; before the credits started they put up a paragraph long disclaimer to the audience along the lines of “These were stunt cars and stunt performers, don’t try driving like the people in this movie. It’s dangerous. This wasn’t real.” Really? This would be like putting a slate at the end of Goodfellas saying “These are actors. They used fake bullets. They didn’t actually accumulate vast amounts of wealth. They were pretending. Don’t commit crimes.”
I guess that’s a thematic problem with these films. These movies are about a group of super criminals who are all enemies of our country, living in tropical mansions and villas around the world, with access to whatever they want. They are basically criminals without consequence. Even characters that died in the previous movies get to come back to life somehow and rejoin the family. It’s exactly why they *need* to put that demeaning warning at the end of the movie to not drive like a psycho when you leave the theater. I’m sure there’s plenty of knuckleheads who get heavily influenced by these movies in particular because they glorify the “fast” and “furious” lifestyle in the best way possible. If you drive like a hotshot, you’ll never get pulled over, or injured when you crash your car THROUGH a building. But what you will get is TONZ OF $$$ AND CONSTANT PARTIES FULL OF WOMEN’S BUTTS. Five movies about being total public menaces, and the entire sixth film isn’t about bringing them down; it’s about giving them a happy ending. Crime DOES pay in these movies. It pays a lot. CRIME IS AWESOME.
Try watching Goodfellas, Scarface, Reservoir Dogs, Dead Presidents, or Dog Day Afternoon, and tell me how well being a bad guy works for them out in the end.
Listen, I totally get why these movies are so loved. And I understand I’m not in the target demographic. But you could totally make the argument that Fast & Furious movies are just Twilight movies for bros. It’s only funny because I’m sure the F&F fans look down on the Twilight people without the least bit of irony that their movies are just as dumb and bland as the vampire films. Hell, there are probably moments in Twilight that are actually more well written than Fast & Furious. “Ride or Die” and “You’ve gone from Shaggy to Scooby. This is something we don’t doo” (what does that even mean?) aren’t exactly masterworks of screenwriting. To me (someone who doesn’t care about cars), the almost pornographic amount of car revving throughout this franchise is basically the equivalent of dudes showing abs to the teen girl audience in Twilight. It’s like comparing apples to oranges in terms of what’s worse, but they’re both cheap forms of empty excitement. If you left the theater talking about how cool the cars were, first and foremost, that’s in the same league as tweens saying how hawt R-Patt is when they leave the theater. They’re just different things to gawk at in substitute for real film elements. I don’t know why I’ve decided to end this review with a comparison between Fast & Furious and Twilight, but it’s probably because they’re both kind of dumb to outsiders.
5 out of 10