Fast & Furious 6 (***)
Directed by Justin Lin
Running time: 130 minutes
Starring- Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Luke Evans, Michelle Rodiguez and Tyrese Gibson
(Omniplex Lisburn screening 17/06/2013)
WATCHING Top Gear on a Sunday evening is as close as this reviewer comes to calling himself a car enthusiast, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having a soft spot for the Fast and The Furious franchise. Each instalment features enough modified super-cars, high-speed races and such an array of scantily clad beauties to surely satisfy almost every petrol-head.
Now in its sixth instalment, Fast & Furious 6 sees series regulars Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) living in exile after their $100 million dollar heist in Rio. Unable to return home the duo along with the rest of their crew are offered a chance of redemption by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s character Agent Luke Hobbs, who enlists their help in bringing a group of skilled mercenary drivers to justice, in exchange for a full pardon.
Led by former Special Ops solider Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), the criminal gang have perpetrated a series of high-end tech thefts throughout Europe. Even more surprisingly it conspires that Shaw is aided by Michele Rodriquez’s character Letty, who was Toretto’s former girlfriend and believed to be dead.
Justin Lin has directed every movie in the series since its third instalment and the Taiwanese director has managed to evolve the series beyond its car racing origins into a credible action movie franchise. The previous feature Fast Five had shades of Ocean’s Eleven within its narrative and this instalment has a real Mission Impossible vibe.
Most of the feature takes place in London, but the film’s high-octane car chases through the city’s darkened streets simply defied belief. Despite being such a big budget American movie, it doesn’t have the same slick and polished visual style of Eran Creevy’s London-set feature Welcome to the Punch or Danny Boyle’s Trance. But Lin handles the film’s action sequences and thrilling set-pieces competently, delivering a solid genre entry.
It’s all run of the mill summer blockbuster stuff and viewers shouldn’t expect too much in the way of depth within the film’s screenplay, Rodriquez’s character’s apparent amnesia is just one example of the lazy scriptwriting on display. While Both Vin Diesel and Johnson are competent, charismatic action movie stars, Paul Walker is sadly the film’s weakest link with his terribly wooden performance. The film’s female characters are poorly written alongside Luke Evan’s antagonist who simply lacks any real menace.
In my opinion Fast & Furious 6 was probably more fun than it really should have been, but definitely 20 minutes longer than it needed to be, it’s all a little silly and overblown. The film’s climax in Spain is far too drawn out and everything could easily have been resolved within an hour and a half.
Few would have thought that the 2001 original would produce five more sequels, but clearly there’s money to be made from the franchise and since this instalment ends on a cliffhanging post-credits sequence, it’s clear there’s still petrol left in the tank.
Review by William McClean