Film review: Fast & Furious 6

James Mottram

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 May, 2013, 10:10pm

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez
Director: Justin Lin
Category: IIB


Early on in Fast & Furious 6, there’s a brief interlude in Moscow where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s dogged US Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent Hobbs is joined by new sidekick Riley (Haywire’s Gina Carano).

They’re staring at the handiwork of a gang of professional hijackers led by ex-Special Ops soldier Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) – a car inexplicably rammed into the wall of a building, several metres from the ground. As fantastical as it seems, neither give it more than a second glance – and given what’s about to go down in this, the most outrageous of this franchise yet, you can understand why.

With director Justin Lin returning for his fourth outing behind the wheel, if you’ve seen any of the predecessors, you’ll know what to expect with Fast & Furious 6: a film with its foot firmly on the accelerator (as reality gets left behind in a blur), it’s as well-oiled as the muscles on show.

It certainly seems apt that one of the regulars, musician-turned-actor Chris Bridges (who plays Tej Parker) also goes by the name Ludacris. What else could you call a film where a tank rumbles down a freeway crushing cars in its wake and where star Vin Diesel performs a flying head-butt?

This latest installment’s story starts shortly after the conclusion of part five, with Diesel’s former street-racer Dominic Toretto now living the quiet life, in an extradition-free locale, on the proceedings of the US$100 million he and the others stole in Rio.

A franchise where family has always been just as important as fantasy, Dom’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) has just given birth – fathered by fellow gang member Brian (Paul Walker) – when Hobbs pays a visit and asks him to help bring down Shaw.

It’s not even the prospect of full pardons that entices Dom. The carrot Hobbs dangles is a more emotional one: that his old lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) – thought dead – is alive and working with Shaw.

Reassembling the gang – Tyrese Gibson’s playboy Roman, Sung Kang’s Han and Gal Gadot’s beauty Gisele among them – they decamp to London.

Cue a tourist-eye view of the city including a street-race through Piccadilly Circus and a major smackdown at an Underground station.

While Evans makes an admirable villain, the fun of F&F6 comes in Dom and Hobbs (muttering “I never thought I’d trust a criminal”) forming an uneasy alliance. But, the male jockeying aside, a film like this lives and dies by its derring-do.

This is typified by the moment when Walker’s character, an ex-cop, lest we forget, locks himself in jail, just to confront an old “friend” of the franchise about Shaw’s whereabouts.

Full of the requisite heart-stopping action, hard rock soundtrack and hot bodies, Lin’s movie has not veered one inch away from its wheelhouse.

By the time it builds to an insane crescendo, set on what seems like the world’s longest airport runway, you almost have to admire it; it takes a lot for a film to be this ludicrous and get away with it.


Fast & Furious 6 is screening now