in Review

Furious 6

Who are The Fast and the Furious movies for anymore? The focus isn’t really on the cars or car culture anymore. Most of the series’ recurring cast pretty much just do these movies, it’s not really a star power thing. You know what? Maybe these movies are made for people like me. For people who can appreciate a movie that is not trying to be smart, but knows how to entertain. Because as I was watching a gigantic airplane get chased by a fleet of sports cars down a seemingly infinite runway, I couldn’t help but smile.

Furious 6 picks up where Fast Five left off: bros for life Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) are living in the Canary Islands with their significant others, the rest of the team is scattered across the globe, and Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is still hunting international car-based criminals. We begin with Hobbs, now patterned with an even tougher lady cop (Gina Carano) and on the trail of a new bad guy, Shaw (Orlando Bl-I mean Luke Evans). Shaw’s a bad dude, and someone Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is back from the dead and in his crew, so Hobbs gets Dom to put his “family” back together and get this son of a bitch.

Of course the theme of all these Fast and Furious movies has been family, so it’s kind of nice they play with that a little this time, having Shaw be heartless and totally not care about his teammates. But ain’t no one here to see Luke Evans do anything. The good news is the people making this movie are aware of that. This is the fourth movie in this series with director Justin Lin and writer Chris Morgan, they get the appeal. They understand their audience really well, like almost to Joss Whedon-esque levels. This is genius-level stupid.

There are scenes that defy explanation. There are multiple scenes of people miraculously flying through the air – Dwayne Johnson alone has three impossible leaps that I can think of off the top of my head. There are multiple scenes of vehicles bursting out of other vehicles as they explode. There are multiple scens when one character says “you won’t hurt me, you’re a good guy” and then the hero mercilessly beats them up. Everyone in this movie tries to do the awesome thing in every situation, and it’s just so goofy, I love it.

And I think the filmmakers know. This is a straight-up action movie, with a bunch of fun sequences. The racing is less car porny, there are way more gunfights, and even a solid collection of hand-to-hand skirmishes. Somehow, The Fast and Furious franchise is maturing into something far greater than it ever showed the potential to be, like some sort of reverse Police Academy. I attribute a lot of that to Justin Lin, and the series-revitalizing force that is Dwayne Johnson, so it’s a little scary to hear that the next movie might not have either of them. But we’ll always have these movies, and honestly, I’m not sure what could kill this franchise anymore. This is the golden age of dumb.

So how do I describe Furious 6? It would be easy to point at a movie like, and the fact that there are five others preceding it, and complain about the death of our culture. But no, that’s bullshit. I’ve seen the Transformers movies, this is so much better than that. It’s sublimely stupid and reverent in its own pathos. We just saw Star Trek Into Darkness, another action flick that did its best to hide a dumb story. This movie treats its own predecessors with the same level of respect as the Star Trek sequel does, even though it doesn’t deserve it in any right. No one cares more about The Fast and the Furious than the people making in, and they’ve won me over.