dir: Justin Lin
You’re young, you’re in love, you’re wondering if you should see Fast & the Furious 6, as if the question as to whether you should be watching the sixth instalment in any movie franchise is a rational one AT ALL. Well, instead of making you sit through a whole review, why not just read the next paragraph and decide for yourself?
A man, a large muscly man, is driving a sports car very fast. The car is travelling hundreds of kilometres an hour, let’s say 200kmh or so. He deliberately causes some kind of crash which deliberately propels him out of the car. A woman on the outside of a tank coming from the opposite direction that is somehow travelling hundreds of kilometres an hour also, at point of impact, is thrown towards the other guy, also flying at a speed of hundreds of kilometres an hour. The man catches the woman, somehow turns around in mid-air, and crashes into a car windscreen, which, instead of killing everyone within a ten-metre radius with the force of the impact, actually somehow saves all the people I just mentioned, and probably doesn’t damage the car that much. It may have even cleaned it, and improved its value by tens of thousands of dollars.
The question for you isn’t how is any of this possible. Anyone who thought that sequence of events sounds like something feasible in this world of ours is probably too dumb to have read this far anyway. Words themselves would represent a puzzle too complicated to even approach with anything other than grunts and clicks.
The question isn’t how many laws of physics does that sequence contradict, because we don’t have the time or Science available to catalogue just how wrong it is and on how many levels.
The question is whether such a thing could be enjoyable or not to you.
As I was watching Furious 6, I was alternating between thinking “Wow, this stupid movie is a bit of stupid Fun!” and “Wow, this stupid movie is making me dumber because it makes no sense at all!” Approaching this flick, any of these Fast and Furious flicks from the perspective that they could make sense even if they tried is too absurd, too crippling a perspective to be coming from.
This franchise started with street racing as its premise. You know, what if a cop had to go undercover as a street racer to bring down some criminals? If anything, it was a rip-off of Point Break, with Paul Walker substituting for Johnny Utah-Keanu Reeves, and The Walking Steroid Vin Diesel as Bodhi-dearly departed Patrick Swayze. The essential element, apart from the main character falling in love with the guy who’s meant to be their antagonist, was lots of car driving. And fast.
Six films later, and that love between the two men is still going strong, there are cars all over the place, but these movies have transformed into these absurdist-surrealist masterpieces of movement and action that have no plausibility or believability but no-one cares, because who could? So Dom and Brian head a crew of international jet-setting superspies and agents with access to super-hi-tech gadgetry and more money than God, so what? Who are you to say this makes any less sense than anything in the Bond flicks, or the Bourne Identity flicks, or anything with giant robots or monsters from the deep or some movie where Meryl Streep rekindles her relationship with someone who looks like Tommy Lee Jones?
Now that’s implausible.
They've got just as much right to be in a flick with too many actors doing stuff that doesn't make any earthly sense and having fun along the way. I guess that’s what the definition of ‘fun’ is: getting people to pay you millions and millions off the back of scripts that would get you a fail if you submitted them as short stories in English classes around the world.
Because the first couple of films were too plausible, they started adding elements like a The Rock as someone even more steroid-abundant than Vin Diesel, and stunts entirely computer generated that capture the realism of something a kid does playing with their Matchbox cars. How about two fast cars dragging a three-tonne bank safe? Sure, why not. And now they even have the The Rock on their side, giving them orders and speaking in aggressively macho haiku poems, what’s not for the kids to love?
What, the dialogue-as-poems?
You think it's unlikely that they're profound, wise haiku poems that he speaks instead of grunted one-liners? You think I'm a liar?
What would you call the following, if not a poem uttered by an enlightened being?
"If you want to catch or "Badass, beauty and brains:
a wolf you need If I'm not careful, you could be
a wolf" taking my job"
I know they don't conform to the thirteen syllable format, but someone as rippling, writhing with muscles as Mr The Rock doesn't need to conform to anything if he doesn't want to.
Some international criminal kills whole bunches of people to steal something, and the Powers that Be, very plausibly, decide The Rock, sorry, Luke Hibbs, is the man to deal with it. He decides that the criminals led by Dom Toretto are the best ones to catch the other criminals. Why? Because these guys drive cars, and the other guys drive cars, so it's a natural fit.
You can't use helicopters to catch car drivers, that's just silly. You can't use the resources of the CIA, the FBI, MI-5 or MI-6, or even use the local police. No, you get a bunch of people who can drive cars fast.
When they're in London, for some reason, the city which is covered in CCTV cameras can't film the criminals (the criminal criminals, not the 'good' criminals we are meant to inexplicably care about). To resolve this impasse, the The Rock walks into a cop station, and crushes the hand of a fat policeman. Apparently, whatever was happening before, whether they were bribed or in cahoots with the crims, all it took was a little hand crushing by the The Rock, and then everything changed.
If only he could crush the hands of the Israelis and the Palestinians. It could set the new standard for international diplomacy.
The crims drive a bunch of armour plated Formula One-type cars, which are very fast, which can't be stopped by anything, somehow, and which make fools of our heroes at that point of an action movie where heroes are usually made fools of, so that their eventual victory will be all the sweeter, and probably about another two hours later.
So the crew have to go into this knowing they’re going to fail at first but then succeed against their evil nemesis, and we sit there thinking “how exactly are the models, the bodybuilders and the car drivers meant to be able to beat this band of military mercenaries?”
The answer will surprise you. At least, the answer will surprise you if you’re sober when you’re watching this. I watched this stone cold sober, and whilst I didn’t hate it while watching it, I couldn’t get over the sheer stupidity of it. Barely any of it seems like it’s real enough to care about, and I say this as someone who actually likes some of the actors involved. I like Vin Diesel, I feel like he’s an underrated actor, and I’ve seen him be amazing in things (he was great as a charming mobster in Find Me Guilty, one of Sidney Lumet’s last films). In these films he could be any slab of beef thrown up against a steering wheel or rubbing his muscles up against The Rock. Most of their acting involves turning around slowly so that their muscles can ripple under the lights, and as for changing facial expressions? The budget didn’t go that far.
The funniest thing in the whole film, apart from the horrible pointlessness of Tyrese Gibson but the constant jokes about his massive forehead, are the callbacks to earlier films in the franchise, which, I realise, are inevitable, but what makes me laugh about them is the idea that this series has adherents, obsessive fans, for whom the callbacks are reminders of the rich and deep history the series has built up over the decade.
Yes, what a rich and varied mythology the Fast and the Furious films have created. What lucky, dumb bastards we truly are.
Stupid, pointless, nearly two and a half hours long, this flick and these flicks have not a fucking skerrick of brains between them at all, but they are entertaining, if only you can switch that voice off telling you that you’re wasting your life watching this endless and fleet parade of empty calories.
Avoid unless heavily drunk or medicated or both.
6 times these films affirm my desire not to drive out of 10
“Somebody do something! I've got a tank on my ass!” – try this ointment and don’t call me in the morning – Fast and the Furious 6