fast_6_headerYear: 2013
Director: Justin Lin
Writer(s): Chris Morgan
Region of Origin: U.S.
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Rating: PG-13
35mm, Color, 130 mins

Synopsis: Hobbs has Dom and Brian reassemble their crew in order to take down a mastermind who commands an organization of mercenary drivers across 12 countries. Payment? Full pardons for them all. (Source)

Hold on to something guys, Fast & Furious 6 may not just be the best action film of all summer, but the entire year. All roads lead to this, the marketing campaign states, but if you were to tell me 12 years ago that a modestly entertaining flick full of lovable meatheads would blossom into a franchise with great characters and some of the best vehicular mayhem ever created, I would’ve never believed you — and yet here we are. With Fast 6, Justin Lin has upped the stakes and the scale, taking the series into insane new territory. It’s relentless, giant-sized fun and a near-flawless example of pop filmmaking.

After their successful heist in Rio, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and crew are in retirement, hidden across the world and enjoying the fruits of their labor. With Brian and Dom’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) about to have a baby, it seems that their days in the fast lane are finally over. Being a Fast film, you know that that isn’t the case, and it doesn’t take long for Secret Service man Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to show up with a new challenge. Offering up evidence that Dom’s past love Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is very much alive and working for terrorist organization, it’s up to the team to not only stop a worldwide disaster but save whatever chance they have at a normal life, all for the sake of family.

With Fast 6, the series has transitioned into a full-fledged superhero film of sorts. This is none more evident than in the film’s premise of elevating Dom and his crew of ragtag street racers into the only people who can stop a rogue SAS agent and his highly-trained crew from plunging the entire world into anarchy. It doesn’t get any more epic than this, and the film’s commitment in embracing it’s self-aware absurdity is what makes it so fun. Intelligently written to throw all caution and inhibition out the window, the film’s action benefits from not only being well rounded but also not limiting itself to the laws of physics or logic. You won’t believe some of the stuff they get away with here, and yet so much of it is rooted in some unbelievably staged practical stunts and feats. There are tanks, gadgets that can control cars, an experimental “flipper” vehicle that can pull off insane acrobatics, liberal helpings of giant shootouts, brutal martial arts brawls thanks to MMA star Gina Carano and The Raid’s Joe Taslim and don’t even get me started on that last action set piece, it’s insane. You wouldn’t be far off for relating the entire thing to an unhinged Mission Impossible film but with the grit and intensity of Bourne.

fast_6_3Despite the relentlessness of it’s pace and action, the film’s events all feel worth it thanks to the story’s smart utilization of it’s ensemble cast. Amongst the all the ridiculous one-liners (thanks mostly to the Rock) are genuine moments of rapport and camaraderie between characters who have genuinely become lovable thanks to their charisma. They’re just such a well rounded group, featuring the muscle, a tech genius, comic relief, a weapons expert and more. The entire cast thrives on being a perfect balance of contrasts, with Vin Diesel’s patriarchal role lending the film a touching sense of sincerity and machismo while Tyrese and Ludacris’ goofy antics keep things light. A particular refreshing thing to see is the inclusion of strong, smart female characters thanks to Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty and Gal Gadot’s Gisele Yashar. Contrast them to the generic template of hot women who are only there for set dressing and you’ll find smart characters who propel a lot of the film’s story and hold their own against the male dominated landscape in more ways than one. Even Luke Evans’ Owen Shaw is played with the right amount of seriousness, making us believe in the film’s high stakes despite the absurdity of it all. In the end, everyone gets a chance to shine and the film never feels over crowded or jam-packed, expertly balancing it’s character and thrills without missing a beat or ever really slowing down.

After putting the pedal to the metal for almost two straight hours, Fast 6 delivers everything it promises and then some. While I initially loved the franchise in a guilty kind of way, it’s really cleverly transformed into the type of event film that has something for everyone — without losing sight of what makes it so great. Naturally, this isn’t the type of film that’ll give you deep thoughts when you leave the theatre, but it’ll give you something to cheer for, thanks for a script that treats longtime fans with respect by further deepening each characters’ relationships and illustrating the lengths that they go through to keep their diverse family together. For those of you wondering when the series will ever tie back to Tokyo Drift, the ending finally confronts that loose end, following through on some of the things foreshadowed for sometime now while setting up another game-changing element. Don’t worry, the story still stands on it’s own, but what makes it such a joy is it’s ability to both be respectful of what came before it while constantly innovating within itself. With the action genre continuing to wane, Fast 6 is a life saver and is thankfully still running on a full tank. I’m ready to see what comes next. Check your elitism at the door and just let loose.

Crome Rating: 4.5/5