As long as “Fast & Furious 6” is revving its engines and stomping its accelerators, it’s a swift and thrilling ride. But when it occasionally slows down for “storytelling” and its macho drivers step out for some “acting,” it becomes a demolition derby of dumbness.
But with five high-octane (and highly profitable) outings under its hood, this testosterone-fueled franchise knows what sells, and it certainly knows how to deliver loud, insane, physics-defying feats without taking itself too seriously.
And so when acting lugs like Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and assorted other butched-up thespians – male and female – strut and preen around and slip sexily behind the wheels of gleaming muscle cars, it behooves audiences to switch off all logic and just buckle up.
Now veteran director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan (who have teamed up on three previous cars-girls-n-guns outings for the franchise) are largely relegated to connect-the-dots duty when it comes to patching together a narrative to prop up all the blustery action.
The story, such as it is, finds the So-Cal gang of hot-rodders living high on their ill-gotten riches in various expat paradises outside U.S. jurisdiction. But when burly diplomatic security agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) shows up on the Canary Islands doorstep of retired con Dom Toretto (Diesel) with a secret dossier and a dangerous assignment, the derring-do gang is quickly pulled back together.
The job relates to ruthless ex-SAS operative Owen Shaw (sneering Luke Evans), who fronts a murderous cabal of military equipment hijackers. It seems they’ve compiled a massive arsenal of weapons that threatens the future of the world as we know it. So Toretto and his pals are assigned to speed around the grimy streets of London and stop the bad guys. There’s some mumbo-jumbo plot turn here involving Toretto’s former lover, Letty (Michelle Rodriquez, looking very buff), whom everyone thought was dead but who now seems resurrected and fallen under the evil thrall of Shaw.
The rest is everything we’ve come to expect from a series that, boiled down to its essence, is really just auto-stunt porn. Big, bulky vehicles (they’ve even thrown in tanks and jet aircraft to the revving mix) racing and crashing; actors uttering blunt, puerile dialogue and delivering ludicrous performances (Hey! There’s even Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, performing), and breakneck stunts that defy gravity played out to screeching sound levels cranked up to 11 – it’s all there to stimulate, aggravate, titillate and pound our popcorn-loving brains to pulp.
It’s fast, it’s furious, it’s “Fast & Furious 6,” and apparently we love it so much that “Fast & Furious 7” is already queued up in pre-production for a summer 2014 checkered flag.
- Dennis King
“Fast & Furious 6”
2 1/2 stars
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez
(Intense sequences of violence and action throughout, some sexuality and language)