The 400-Word Review: Fast & Furious 6
By Sean Collier
May 29, 2013
The single act that revived the waning The Fast and The Furious franchise after spinoff The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift was, oddly enough, the expansion of the cast.
Fast and Furious, the fourth installment, marked the return of the original film’s crew; Fast Five brought in more missing pieces, and Fast & Furious 6 (no, this series has never figured out how to consistently name its installments) adds further elements to the roster.
So in the series’ sixth installment, we are meant to keep up with the following performers (character names omitted for brevity): central characters Vin Diesel and Paul Walker; their significant others, Elsa Pataky and Jordana Brewster (she’s now with a young child); secondary crew members Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang and Gisele Yashar; military allies Dwayne Johnson and Gina Carano; a crew of villains led by Luke Evans; Diesel’s maybe-dead ex-girlfriend, Michelle Rodriguez; and the bad guy from Fast and Furious, John Ortiz.
Got all that?
A lot of moving parts for a movie that’s basically a string of fight scenes and car chases. Even the picture’s biggest set pieces are over-complicated by the need to cut back and forth between four or five groups of characters; this stretches events that couldn’t occupy more than a few minutes of real time into quarter-hour orchestrations. The film’s climactic fight, aboard a plane attempting to take off, could only have happened on a runway the length of Nebraska.
Other than the pursuit of some obscure world record in the collection of b-list actors, there’s no motivation for all of this. At least a half-dozen out of that lineup could’ve been shaved with no effect. The fixation on personality is odd in a film where the stars are the vehicles (and, to a lesser extent, the fists.)
But underneath that bloated credits reel (and, admittedly, a sort-of stupid story) is an undeniably exhilarating experience. Is Fast & Furious 6, or any other installment, what you’d call a good movie? Nope, not really. But is it fun? Yes. The central scenes are thrilling, and only one becomes overly violent (this is a PG-13 film, after all.)
Carano and Johnson add oomph to fights; the litany of filmmakers involved in photographing and staging this series still knows how to choreograph compelling scenes of highway madness. It’s stunning that we’re six movies into this unlikely franchise, but the results are perfectly acceptable entertainment.
Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at pittsburghmagazine.com/afterdark