How many film franchises got the chance to reach six entries? How many of them are any good? Not very many. Each one is usually worse than the last, but a series will occasionally surprise its viewers by improving. The Fast and the Furious has drawn in audiences with its fast cars, attractive actors, and high octane action. Moviegoers know what to expect when they see one of these flicks. The fate of these movies didn't look too bright, but then Fast Five happened in 2011. It was my personal favorite of the series, as it went beyond my expectations. Universal Pictures inevitably green-lit Fast & Furious 6 after the previous entry's substantial success. Will it be able to entertain and thrill audiences in the same fashion? For the most part, yes.
Taking place after Fast Five, but before The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Dominic Toretto's (Vin Diesel) team has agreed to quit the life of living fast and furiously. One day, Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) reports news that Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) is still alive, but that she has teamed up with the dangerous Special Ops soldier Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). He's the mastermind of a unit specializing in vehicular warfare. Hobbs enlists Toretto, who is therefore forced to reunite his old team of criminals in order to reach Letty and capture Shaw before his big scheme is able to be executed.
Chris Morgan's screenplay is just as ridiculous and over-the-top as one would imagine. However, it's a little bit different than any of the previous entries. They used to focus on the car races and whatnot, but Fast & Furious 6 holds its focus on Letty's rescue and Shaw's capture. Instead of being a group of criminals who are using their skills for money, they're helping the police. They start thinking like detectives, which will immediately split audiences. Don't expect more than a couple races, since the majority of the action sequences are consumed by chases and fight scenes. This franchise can largely be considered a car racing series instead of being purebred action. However, this quickly transforms from being about cars to being a hotblooded action motion picture with gun fights and all. While this decision didn't entirely disappoint me, it left me craving my guilty pleasure of watching fast cars race and performing incredible stunts, but there are only hints of it here. I wasn't drawn in by Letty's portion of the plot, since it ultimately feels a lot like filler material. The cat-and-mouse game between Toretto and Shaw is a lot more fun, since it provides what we all see these movies for: insane stunt-work.
As expected, Morgan adds as much comedy as he can. He utilizes a lot of jokes that run throughout the picture. The majority of them are cheesy, but they fit in amongst the characters. Some of the gags are actually quite funny, as the interactions between the criminals can be rather amusing. Even in the most serious of moments, the group is teasing each other and cracking jokes. This further expresses Chris Morgan and director Justin Lin's nature of making this picture as over-the-top as possible. Despite how ridiculous it can get, the filmmakers make a lot of references to the earlier entries, which will have fans smiling in their seats. Watching Dominic Toretto and Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) race in the first scene of the movie returns us back to their competitive days. Despite the fact that Fast & Furious 6 goes a slightly different route with less cars, it gives respect to all of its predecessors individually through montages and references. At least it appreciates its roots.
Given the fact that this is the sixth motion picture, the filmmakers are trying to put the puzzle together between the characters. Since The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift jumped ahead in time, Fast & Furious 6 is attempting to bring us up to speed. While some of these plot progressions will make audiences more excited to see what happens next, others will leave audiences rolling their eyes. Some of these twists and turns are utterly ridiculous, but not in a good way. The writing takes cheap twists and turns, as it constantly attempts to surprise us. However, the big reveals themselves are quite predictable. Instead of being a fun guilty pleasure, parts of it are becoming mechanical and stiff.
Fortunately, the cast has returned in order to continue the franchise. New characters have been introduced, as well. Vin Diesel returns as Dominic Toretto. With his intent to rescue Letty, the material doesn't entirely allow him to convey the charm that he usually expresses. Dwayne Johnson does his job in the role of Luke Hobbs. He's huge and he beats people up; what more do you want from him in an action flick? Paul Walker received a reduced amount of screen time as Brian O'Conner, but he continues to fit into the character nicely. Michelle Rodriguez is a welcome addition back to these movies as Letty Ortiz. Luke Evans may be playing a predictable villain as Owen Shaw, but he's great on screen. With the entire team back, the chemistry between them works extremely well. There aren't any groundbreaking performances, but they deliver the goods.
Since Justin Lin is behind the camera, every set piece looks phenomenal. He ensures that your heart will be pumping fast through every race, chase, and fight that this picture has to offer. Out of control montage editing has been an issue with countless action flicks, but it's kept under control here. Even though the cuts and edits are fast, it's never difficult to see what's going on. Fast & Furious 6 needs to be seen on the biggest screen possible with the sound cranked up in order to receive the full experience. The "wall-to-wall" sound and jaw-dropping visuals will have you immersed in what can only be expressed as pure escapism. If you're looking for a high octane action picture that will assault your senses, then this is worth seeing.
Justin Lin's newest entry isn't as strong as Fast Five, but it's still enjoyable. The series initially gained interest from its over-the-top car races, but a slightly new direction has been taken. There's still a lot of huge action sequences, but the film focuses a lot less on the cars and a lot more on the main characters creating a plan to achieve their goals. Regardless, it's an insanely entertaining flick that will never lose your attention. Fast & Furious 6 is a solid addition to the franchise, but this isn't its best. Recommended.