Hobbs has Dom and Brian reassemble their crew in order to take down a mastermind who commands an organization of mercenary drivers across 12 countries. Payment? Full pardons for them all.
It began in 2001 with a film directed by Rob Cohen on a production budget of approximately $38 million which then went on and spawned not only a sequel every few years, but more than $2 billion dollars in worldwide box office revenues. Here we are once more with ‘Fast and Furious 6’, directed by Justin Lin who has been the series mainstay since the third film.
‘Fast and Furious 6’ picks up almost immediately where ‘Fast Five’ wrapped, the crew led by Dominic Toretto have walked away from their former lives and are living it up how each of them sees fit. Of course this doesn’t last long before the group is drawn back into action this time to assist in the apprehension of an international criminal.
The new film effectively rounds out a trilogy that Lin started following ‘Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’, with events across films becoming much more closely connected than with the early instalments. Here Lin continues with the approach he took in ‘Fast Five’ which was to deliver much more of an ensemble film, drawing upon the various characters that have been introduced in the series over the years. This formula proved successful before, and does so once again, however there is an overwhelming sense of familiarity starting to set in here which starts to detract from the film.
Story wise there’s nothing complex to be found here, or even overly logical for the most part. The script is comprised of a series of events required to produce some entertaining action sequences while giving each member of the cast a few moments to shine and display their charisma on screen. Character development is managed fairly basically with themes central to the franchise coming up over and over as characters stress the importance of family, friendship, and loyalty. Sound familiar?
With a running time of 130 mins, and such a straight forward plot, ‘Fast and Furious 6’ tends to overstay it’s welcome by the time the credits roll with a number of scenes (and in one case an entire sub-plot) that could have easily been stripped in order to tighten things up. While each character is given their dues through the action scenes depicted in the film, the same can’t be said for the emotional beats along the way resulting in a number of potentially more dramatic moments coming off more trivialised then they should be.
Dramatic storytelling of course has never been the focus of these films, and ‘Fast and Furious 6’ delivers an entertaining non-stop series of action sequences taking place across big set pieces which really do amp things up even more than in previous films. Some of these sequences are quite lengthy and escalate the stunts well beyond the point of believability, in fact some moments are so ludicrous it left my audience in laughter as some of the characters achieve ridiculous feats of strength and prowess, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.
Each cast member is involved to varying degrees in this film however they all naturally fit back into their roles. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker both hold the line with their characters, neither of whom undergo any real growth or change but continue along their macro character arcs. Dwayne Johnson’s character of Luke Hobbs tends to be one of the more interesting characters given his freshness to the series and Johnson’s natural on screen charisma, while Tyrese Gibson and Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges continue with their background witty banter that injects some well received comedy throughout.
Overall ‘Fast and Furious 6’ is a fun, entertaining film that franchise fans will enjoy, however diminishing returns have definitely set in. Without changing much in the last few films, Lin has allowed things to become too stale so it is likely good fortune that this particular story arc within the series appears to be wrapping up and to its credit does so quite effectively in terms of coming full circle with previous instalments.
There’s no denying that audiences love these films, and the franchise isn’t going anywhere yet. Production is already underway on ‘Fast and Furious 7’ with a scheduled release of mid-2014 under the direction of James Wan.
In the meantime, I’m giving ‘Fast and Furious 6’ 5 out of 10 stars, it is screening in cinemas from Thursday 6th June 2013.