How has Fast & Furious 6 come into existence you might ask? A franchise that started waaay back in 2001 with a film which was essentially a remake of 1991’s adrenaline junky classic Point Break; swap the surfboards for fast cars and it really is almost beat for beat an identikit. Five films later and the Fast & Furious behemoth shows no signs of abating, but does Fast & Furious 6 hit top gear or has someone left the handbrake on?
This time out Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) are looking for the quiet life as Mia (Jordana Brewster) gives birth to Brian’s son and Dom’s nephew. But Agent Hobbs (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) has other ideas. He needs Dom and Brian to help him catch ruthless thief Shaw (Luke Evans) and will grant them full pardons if they do. The added incentive is that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), presumed dead in Part 4, has returned from the grave and is working with Shaw. So Dom and Brian put the band back together, including smart-mouth Roman (Tyrese Gibson), cool-guy Tej (Ludacris), strong-silent type Han (Sung Kang) and a host of leggy ladies whose names are never really given, to catch Shaw and save the day.
Fast 6 does exactly what you would expect of a Fast & Furious film but bigger. Much bigger. Where once a simple car chase round the streets of LA were enough, now we get full on vehicular warfare on the streets of London, or cars Vs. tank on a highway in Spain, or a chase involving a mammoth plane on the world’s longest runway.
It’s over the top, it’s ridiculous to the extreme and it fails to address anything close to resembling a coherent plot or character arc. And yet, for these reasons it’s also a stupid amount of fun. Jump up and down, punch the air, cheer at the screen and revel in the madness fun. It’s like a game of Grand Theft Auto; the higher the body-count, the more damage done, the more outrageous the stunts the more you find yourself letting go of that inner voice telling you this is unbelievable rubbish and sit back and enjoy the madness. After all, where else are you going to see Diesel perform a flying head-butt, or Johnson execute an aerial clothes-line or, best yet, Michelle Rodriguez have two bone-breaking smack-downs with Haywire’s Gina Carano?
Yes much of the action feels heavily CGI-ed rather than actual cars being pulverized but Justin Lin, returning to the Fast & Furious director’s chair for a fourth time, sprinkles enough high-octane energy into events that you really won’t care. This is the action genre by way of a can of Red Bull, so over-sugared you wonder if it’s going to make your eyes rot.
But, crucially, Fast 6 knows not to take itself too seriously. For every jaw-droppingly outrageous moment there’s a line of dialogue that lets you know the filmmakers are in on the act as well. So when the man-mountain that is Johnson first shows up you get the line “Why do I smell baby-oil”. While Diesel and Johnson continue their grin inducing homoerotica from the last film, at one point getting so close to each other you find yourself willing them to get it on.
If you liked any of the earlier Fast & Furious films then Fast & Furious 6 will give you exactly what you want and so much more. For the uninitiated; turn off brain, engage stupid face and prepare to be astounded in every good and bad way possible. Suffice to say Fast & Furious 6 has enough spark plugs firing to leave tyre marks across your screen in the most stupidly fun film of the year.