Fast & Furious 6 tears onto screens with a roar and barely stops for breath during the full 2-hour running time. While it’s nothing revolutionary, the producers have certainly ramped things up for the latest outing as even the subtitles speed away from view.
From the off it seems business as usual for Toretto (Diesel) and O’Conner (Walker) as they roar through the sleepy streets of the Canary Islands but the plot soon takes a twist.
Crashing their way across the globe in pursuit of a military microchip, suave, growling protagonist Owen Shaw (Evans) and his gang of cockney hoodlums need to get their hands on the tech to finish a bomb capable of taking down a country’s entire defence system for 24 hours. Facing an uphill battle to catch the fleet-footed criminals, CIA agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) enlists the help of the familiar Fast & Furious crew by promising them immunity for the crimes he was tracking them down for last movie, but with ‘vehicular warfare’ on the menu, he sure came to the right guys.
While the plot seems to broadly follow the standard A to B fare for the franchise, screenwriter Chris Morgan has gone to the pains to take this outing from A to B via O and E en route, fleshing out the characters which the main cast have grown into so well. Taking time to tie up loose ends from the previous films, as well as leaving several new ones keep you hooked in the future, there’s a Marvel-esque post-credits sequence right at the end too.
Hobbs, Toretto & co. base themselves in London, displayed in all of its glory as they explore the shining streets of the city to the grimy cobbled streets of East London and finally an affluent Auction House on the river in one of the few comedic missteps in the film. From there they travel back to the Canary Islands to set up for the finale, with Shaw commandeering a tank from a military convoy to make his escape, blowing up, flattening or smashing through anything that gets in his way.
As the action unfolds, the film keeps its tongue shoved firmly in cheek as the set pieces start out ridiculous and only progress from there. Director Justin Lin, in charge of the franchise since 2006’s Tokyo Drift should take huge amounts of credit for his work on keeping the explosions and crashes feeling fresh, exciting and hilariously ludicrous by utilising fantastic camerawork and long sweeping shots of the action. This is Lin’s swansong on the series before new director James Wan (Saw) takes charge on the next one, and he’s done a brilliant job of producing car chases and fight scenes to rival the most hardened of action films.
I never thought I’d consider the original film, 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, to be subtle and understated, but placed next to this it’s a veritable shrinking violet. While it’s difficult to look past the glistening anabolic muscles, exploding cars, flipping tanks and crashing cargo planes, a lot of the charm here comes from the very self-aware script which keeps the tone light-hearted and jovial and lifts the film above being a bland re-run of the previous iinstallments.
This isn’t a film which will win any awards and may not win over any fans who aren’t already familiar with the franchise, but for those who are, or those who are happy to buckle in for the ride, it’s a satisfying next step in a series which brings out the little boy and his Hot Wheels cars in all of us.