Director: Justin Lin
Key Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Gina Carano.
Five Point Summary:
1. They have a tank (but The Avengers have a Hulk!).
2. Street racing’s back! In London! Erm… where’s the traffic gone?
3. The Rock’s 85% less shiny this time round.
4. Spain has incredibly long runways
5. Gina Carano’s a new face, does that mean…?
So I’m now up to date with the Fast films, and I can at last take time to watch something else entirely. My Sky+ box is looking rather full at the moment, actually… Anyway, Fast 6, or “Furious 6” as it’s being billed in a few places. Sounds like a rubbish supervillain team… this is the latest to hit cinemas (at the time of writing, this week in fact), and was my Tuesday night cinema visit in a surprisingly almost sold-out screening. I’m far too used to being the only person in the screen.
The action is just as daft as ever, featuring tanks (and a daft moment where Vin Diesel auditions for Man of Steel), giant cargo planes, and a mixture of races and chases throughout the streets of London. Ignoring the fact you’d be lucky to break the 20mph mark in the city centre, as expected they’re nicely shot and you can actually see what’s happening without losing the excitement and tension. It goes to show that shakeycam, aka “a man with inner ear problems filming an action scene during an earthquake whilst jumping up and down” isn’t the end word in directing action set pieces.
A brief note regarding the tank scene (and indeed, the rest of the film where civilians come under fire) – how many people actually died? Nobody seems to care!
One major gripe (and there are a lot of smaller ones) is how often everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, kept going on about “family”. Yes okay, we get it, you all think of each other as family, you don’t have to keep reinforcing that point every five minutes. But then in place of any meaningful interaction between the cast members, this essentially takes on the role of characterisation. Nope, it really doesn’t. Okay sure, there are a lot of amusing one liners, but that does not a character make. Apart from Roman, he’s a quipping machine.
The final set piece, and I’m not spoiling this or any other part of the film because it’s all in the trailer, featured the gang trying to stop a cargo plane from taking off, which would allow villain Shaw (a slightly menacing if somewhat underplayed turn from Luke Evans) to escape with some device “worth billions” that could take out a country for 24 hours (or possibly longer – to be fair the specifics of the point were superfluous to my enjoyment of the film). The big issue here – how long was that runway? The plane didn’t turn at all, and the scene went on for about 15 minutes. Bearing in mind how fast those things have to go, I’d expect them to be halfway across Spain by the time Vin Diesel continues his “Man of Steel” impression and bursts out of the plane’s nose, triumphant. In a car.
It was nice to see the series go back to its routes and feature a bit of street racing, which served the plot much more cogently than the earlier films. It also provided an excuse to move back into that gaudy world of fancy cars, if only for a short while, before the mute colour palette reasserted itself.
Jordana Brewster continues her descent into ‘crone’ territory, I was half expecting her to start cackling and turn green at any moment, which given how ludicrous the story was wouldn’t have been unexpected. It would have made more sense than Theodora’s transformation in Oz The Great and Powerful, at any rate. Don’t ask me why I’m so negative toward Jordana Brewster, I’m sure she’s a lovely person and is no doubt attractive to some/most people, but all I see is a trainee witch.
I don’t think it had quite the same level of ‘awesome’ as Fast Five, but it’s still a solid if incredibly dumb action film. In some circles that would be a bad thing, but if you disengage your brain for a couple of hours and just go along with it, you’ll have a heck of a time.
Favourite scene: The dual fist-fights in the London Underground. Nicely choreographed and didn’t outstay its welcome.
Quote: “You’ve gone from Shaggy to Scooby. This is something we don’t doooo.”
Silly Moment: The tank chase. That is all.