A Spoiler-Free Review of Fast & Furious 6!
Guilty pleasure: something pleasurable that induces a usually minor feeling of guilt
I'm not a fan of the term "guilty pleasure." If you enjoy something, there's no need to defend your fandom. My love for a dog who happens to be skilled at basketball in no way diminishes my understanding of James Joyce's Ulysses. I didn't understand the novel before watching Air Bud, and I certainly won't understand it after.
Fast & Furious 6 may very well be the most entertaining installment in the history of the franchise. If you've never seen a Fast & Furious movie, watching Fast 6 may be comparable to waking up after a long nap, letting out a relaxing yawn, and then getting hit in the face with an ice-cold water balloon...OF EXCITEMENT (and water). It has everything you could ask for in a summer movie: tough guys bantering, Vin Diesel emoting, fast-paced action sequences, Vin Diesel doling out life advice, ridiculous car chases, Vin Diesel, explosions, and, as Ludacris so eloquently states in the trailer, "Uh guys, they got a TANK!" Every future Fast movie needs to include a similar line:
Fast 7: "Uh guys, they have a VEHICULAR SHARK!"
Fast 8: "Uh guys, I think they're driving a GHOST CAR!"
Fast 9: "Uh guys, I think they're driving the EMPIRE STATE BUILDING!"
Fast 10: "Uh guys, I think we accidentally drove to OUTER SPACE!"
What separates the Fast & Furious franchise from similar action series is its ability to toggle between absurdly entertaining action sequences and moments of subtle, self-aware humor. Fast Six is in on the joke, you guys. It's the cool teacher that let's you call him Larry. Which is weird because his name is Harold, but that type of comedy is just classic Larry! The Fast franchise doesn't hesitate to poke fun at itself—kinda like an action version of the Scream franchise. The relationship between this franchise and its fervent fan base is simple: We're going to give you the most unbelievable action sequences you can possibly fathom, and all we ask is that you leave your suspension of disbelief at the door. Then leave town. Then purchase one of those old-timey costume mustaches and change your name so your suspension of disbelief can never ever find you. We basically need you to assume the identity of the Pringles man.
The plot of Fast Six is fairly simple. The Rock recruits our recently retired gang of lovably murderous thieves to assist him in capturing an elusive squad of vehicular hijackers. But why would our ragtag group of renegades help the man who attempted to arrest them in Fast 5? Because The Rock has reason to believe that Vin Diesel's dead ("dead"?) ex-girlfriend is working with the enemy! Jaw, you've been dropped.
Wearing her signature combination of a tank top and a frown, Michelle Rodriguez snarls her way back into the Fast franchise complete with the permanent facial expression of someone who's been told her flight out of Anger Island has been delayed indefinitely. Before our "heroes" agree, they ask for one tiny favor: to be pardoned for all their previous crimes (hijacking, stealing millions of dollars, lots and lots of direct and indirect murder, loitering). Which basically leads to this exchange:
The Rock: I can't promise you that.
Paul Walker: Yes, you can.
The Rock: (flexes) Okay.
The Rock may be awful at his job, but the man has a beautiful smile and the physique of a push-up obsessed mountain, so I'll allow it.
From there it's wall-to-wall, zero consequence action! At one point Vin Diesel gets shot—WITH A BULLET FROM A GUN—and reacts like he stubbed his toe. You may have noticed the part in the trailer where Michelle Rodriguez gets thrown by a tank, and Vin Diesel attempts to catch her by jumping out of his high-speed vehicle. ***MINOR SPOILER ALERT*** They both land on a car and are 100% fine. This franchise has mastered the art of satirical action. In the world of Fast and Furious, people don't feel pain. Hit by a car? Walk it off. Get punched in the face by The Rock 500 times? Make a witty joke regarding baby oil! If The Rock punched me I'd instantly turn to dust or blink twice and disappear like I was a villain in a 1980s arcade game. It saddens me to say this, but maybe I wouldn't survive in the world of the Fast & Furious.
Actually, that's not true. I'd be the guy at the street race yelling, "Hey fellas, I know we're all here to have fun, but let's keep two hands on the wheel! Ten and two." Then Vin Diesel would stare me down and I'd explode. RIP, me. (Michelle Rodriguez face).
Let's delve a little deeper into the beauty of Fast Six.
Fast & Furious 6 Yays and Nays:
One of the major themes of Fast 6 is that everybody lives by their own code. My code? Never make eye contact with a pigeon. Their code? Do whatever it takes to take care of your makeshift family. Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster have a newborn baby, but when Vin Diesel asks Paul Walker to help him chase down a super-villain on the off chance that his ex-girlfriend may still be alive, Jordana Brewster's like, "Yep. You gotta do it." I don't think that's how committed relationships are supposed to work, but in fairness I don't live my life a quarter-mile at a time, so what do I know?
The unofficial Fast and Furious code rankings:
10,873: The law
1,983,373: The safety of innocent pedestrians
Yay: The Final 45 Minutes
In all honesty, I'd watch this gang of code-loving misfits do anything. After Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber's son Waffle Bieber costars in Fast 15: Shut up and THRIVE maybe we shift the focus away from cars for a few movies? Maybe Fast 16 could center around Vin Diesel and Paul Walker opening a fun new pizza shop?
The Rock: You boys better sell 1,000 slices of pie before midnight or (flexes) it's off to jail.
The Rock grabs a soda and exits without paying. Rude.
Vin Diesel: It's like we always say, "Ride or Pie."
Paul Walker: Isn't it "Ride or Die"?
Vin Diesel takes an angry bite out of a slice of pizza as if to say, "Not now, Paul Walker."
The last 45 minutes of the movie are an absolute thrill-ride. Sorry. I'm legally not allowed to review this movie without including the term "thrill-ride." I honestly thought the tank scene was the climactic end of the movie, only to discover there was still another 20 minutes of non-stop action!
Yay: The Final Scene Between The Rock and Vin Diesel
Trust me. The word amazing doesn't do this scene justice.
Fast 6 is a fun, immersive treat that achieves the ultimate goal of any summer blockbuster: entertainment. If you're a fan of action movies and can leave your suspension of disbelief at the door, I highly recommend Fast & Furious 6. It's one of those rare movies you can both genuinely enjoy and sarcastically ridicule at the same time.
Do you plan on seeing Fast & Furious 6? Have you seen any of the summer blockbusters yet?