Just when you thought the people behind the Fast & Furious franchise were finished with all of the crazy car races and death-defying stunts, another Fast film surfaces.
This time, in Furious 6, the crew is enjoying their bounty from Fast Five, until The People’s Federal Agent, Luke Hobbs (played to perfection by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) enlists their help to track down a bad guy, former special ops soldier Owen Shaw (Luke Evans doing his calm villain impression).
To smoke out Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Hobbs shows Dom that his Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) is still alive and kicking. For those keeping score, Letty supposedly met with that drag race in the sky in Fast & Furious 4.
Director Justin Lin, the man who directed Fast & Furious 4, Fast 5, Annapolis, and unfortunately The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift, makes the transition easier by including a recap of films past to catch everyone up.
What Lin doesn’t simplify is his ending. (Spoiler alert: Jason Statham, as Ian Shaw, makes a cameo that will tie into Fast & Furious 7.)
Screenwriter Chris Morgan (based on characters from Gary Scott Thompson) does the impossible in bringing yet another film to the franchise, and managing to make it interesting, after writing Wanted, and Fast & Furious 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
With hilariously snarky writing that doesn’t take itself too seriously and feels more like a family reunion than a fast car action film, Furious 6 is the best in the franchise so far. If Morgan can keep up the writing in which the films keep getting better, it begs the question how many more are in this franchise’s future?
According to Diesel, also a producer on the franchise, he intends on having three trilogies. In other words, trilogy one will be films one, two, and four. Trilogy two is films three, seven, and probably eight. And trilogy three are films five, six, and possibly nine. If it seems a little confusing, don’t fret. Diesel is just the man to have it all make sense in the long run.
Speaking of the future, Johnson has yet to explore his romantic side onscreen and it’s about time he did. Conversely, Diesel’s Dominic shows his softer, vulnerable side again with his love for Rodriguez’s Letty. It looks as if fatherhood has softened him a bit and made him more human, which makes him a better actor.
Rodriguez and Carano square off a few times in this film, and credit must be given to Rodriguez for holding her own against a true mixed-martial arts fighter in Carano. Carano hasn’t had any films in between her breakout role in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire and Furious, so it’s nice to see her on the screen. Her next role, however, In the Blood, needs to be something more than just the female version of The Rock.
Other actors of note in this refreshingly multi-ethnic franchise include Luke Evan as Shaw, who’s pretty much Dominic’s doppelganger with an awesome accent. Real-life dad Paul Walker does the family man thing as Bryan. Tyrese Gibson’s Roman is still the biggest mouth in the franchise and the funniest.
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges also reprises his role as Tej and has a good time getting over on the 1-percenters who deign to look down their noses at him. And Sung Kang’s Han opens himself up and allows love to enter his heart, to his detriment. Savvy Fast & Furious watchers will remember that Han has been on the scene since the beginning and brought audiences into the world of Tokyo Drift, the worst film in the franchise.
When the time comes for Fast & Furious 7, it’s best to keep in mind that the six prior films are not totally in sequence. To catch up Fast & Furious style, make sure to watch the films in this order: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 3.
No, I haven’t forgotten how to count. Once you’ve seen 6, you will understand. Here’s hoping Morgan and Lin continue to bring audiences this classic American franchise.