It’s not often nowadays that a franchise gets to release its sixth entry and even less often that it is better than what has preceded it. The Furious Franchise, as I’ll call it, has received generally positive reception since falling into the hands of Justin Lin in 2009 with “Fast and Furious.” Yet, as they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. “Fast and Furious 6” might be a new adventure for Dom Torretto (Vin Diesel) and the gang, but this one defies more laws than their previous outings – especially the laws of physics.
No Such Thing as Early Retirement
“Fast and Furious 6” picks up where “Fast Five” left off. After Dom and his team’s successful heist in Rio, everyone has gone home with a nice multi-million dollar payday and eased their way into retirement- or so they thought. When Dom is approached by DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) with a request for help in taking down master criminal Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), Dom is at first hesitant to be working alongside the law from which he’s been running his whole life. But when Hobbs reveals to Dom that Dom’s ex-lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), whom he thought to be dead, is still alive and working with Shaw, Dom agrees to help Hobbs on the condition that him and his team receive pardons for their crimes so that they may all go home together.
New Model, New Parts
What I enjoyed about “Fast Five” was the fact that a franchise solely focused on cars opened its doors and created a heist film, effectively breathing new life into a franchise that seemed to be running out of gas. “Fast and Furious 6” essentially does more of the same except instead of it being a heist film, it’s more of an action-thriller with a twist of anti-terrorism thrown in. Everything you would expect from a Fast-film is here: fast cars, gorgeous women, and explosive action. Yet with all the death- and physics-defying stunts the film showcases, it never really concentrates too much on the action and remembers it needs to provide a sense of drama and story to create a sort of balance. Dom’s search for Letty is the film’s secondary plot and it’s done rather well. As much as Dom would like to have Letty back, he also has to accept the painful truth that she’s not the person he once knew her as. This conflict creates some great scenes between the two as Letty is not quite sure herself if she knows Dom as much as he claims she does.
The film’s action is probably the best of the franchise and as ridiculous as some scenes may be, it is more than enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. The other characters on Dom’s team are back and the chemistry between them is as good as ever as they provide much of the film’s comic relief. Shaw, on the other hand, is a more complex villain than what the franchise has seen before. He’s cold, calculating and methodical and poses a great threat to the team. His team is as deadly as he is and they’re not afraid to get their hands dirty. I personally enjoyed Shaw as a villain but was left confused with one scene in which he goes from professional to downright psychotic in the blink of an eye. But hey, no one’s perfect.
While “Fast and Furious 6” is more of the same kind of thing we’ve come to expect from this franchise, it kicks the action all the way into top gear, it also provides a much more rich and developed story than before. Though the film’s third act is a little clichéd and the general laws of physics bite the dust, “Fast and Furious 6” is still an enjoyable action film and in my mind, a superior sequel to “Fast Five,” a feat I once thought impossible.