FURIOUS 6. Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Luke Evans, and Elsa Pataky. Directed by Justin Lin, Vin Diesel et al. Rated M (Action violence and infrequent coarse language). 130 min.
This is an American action movie that has been classified under the title of “Furious 6”, and is also advertised under the title of “Fast 6” and “Fast and Furious 6”, all of which signifies that it is the sixth film in a very popular series of action movies that began originally in 2001 with the title, “The Fast and the Furious”. It is co-directed by six people, including the star of the film, Vin Diesel. Four of its main stars have been in at least four of the series, and four have played main roles in each. The series derives its title through the fact that all of its characters live “fast and furious” lives.
Following past successful heists, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew of professional criminals have gone into retirement. Dominic lives with Elena (Elsa Pataky) in seeming domestic bliss, and his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) have had a son. A security Service Agent, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) arrives on the scene to investigate the destruction of a Russian military convoy. Hobbs believes that former British Special Forces soldier, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), and his crew are responsible. Shaw’s ultimate plan is to construct a High-Tech bomb which is lethally priceless to the right buyer.
It was Hobbs who chased Dominic down in previous movies, but now he needs the team’s support to track Shaw down. Hobbs promises that if Dominic helps him get Shaw, he will grant an amnesty to Dominic and his group.
Dominic agrees to assist when Hobbs shows him a photo of his former girlfriend, Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), whom he assumed was dead. Dominic’s crew try to find Shaw’s hide-outs, but, while it is doing so, Shaw and his hench-men continue to conduct their criminal activities elusively. Letty arrives to help Shaw. She is suffering from amnesia, after surviving a previous explosion thought to have killed her, and shoots Dominic (non-fatally) before escaping. Previously, she had been part of Dominic’s team, but now she has crossed over to the other side and Dominic does all in his power to get her back because she represents “family” to him and the others. The plot takes a series of twists and turns, all replete with massive car carnage and multiple explosions. The furious racing of fast, expensive cars, which is the trademark of the whole series, occurs throughout the entire film.
The camera features pectoral muscles everywhere, and there is some off-putting female violence that is quite unusual for the series. The action stunts in the movie, though, are spectacular, and the movie maintains its tension very well. Knowledge of the other movies allows one to access subtle nuances of characters, but the impact of the movie is essentially built around its action and incredible sequences of car chases and automobile crashes. The stunt sequences are choreographed outstandingly well. There is a nightmare race through the streets of London, and an amazing sequence where Dominic flies through the air in a gravity-defying stunt to join hands with Letty, who is hurtling through air into nothing. Aerial shots of cars and trucks on a costal highway, and a military plane crash, create equally dazzling effects.
It is the thrill of the action that constitutes this movie’s enjoyment, not its plot, or its contrived narrative. Some great visual effects (the runaway military jet-plane, for example) are linked very tenuously with the story-line.
One goes to see this film without any expectations of much character development. But if it is action that is the order of the day, this film supplies it in spades. This is a movie that seeks to entertain with as fast a pace as it can muster. It is filled with jaw-dropping stunts. Morally, it reinforces all the way through that it is “family that really matters”, but one notes that grace is said at the team's meal at the end. Significantly, the prayer ends with the line: “And most of all, thank you (Lord) for fast cars”. Without a doubt, Furious 7 is well on its way.
Peter W. Sheehan is associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.
Universal Pictures International.
Out June 6th 2013.