by Tim Gordon
A Family Affair
After twelve years and five films chock full of fast cars, beautiful women and international adventures, one could easily forgive the filmmakers if they had exhausted the story and had nothing left to give. Fortunately for us, that is far from the case as the latest installment, Fast & Furious 6 is not only the best of the series but the best action film this summer.
From day one, this crew has always been about family. Led by the irrepressible Dom (Vin Diesel) and his partner, Brian (Paul Walker), the two have braved countless adventures largely supported by a crew of friends that value each other as much as the jobs that they’ve pulled throughout the years. After a successful heist in Rio left each a millionaire, they all went their separate ways, fulfilled and seemingly out of the life.
Out of the clear blue, Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) shows up on Dom’s doorstep with an offer that not only can’t he refuse but in the words of Hobbs, “he’ll beg to be a part of.” Apparently, not only is his soul mate, Letty (Michelle Rodriquez) alive but is second in command in a new crew led by a brilliantly cunning former military mercenary Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). In no time flat, Dom gets the gang back together to listen to Hobbs’ pitch – help him and his new partner, Riley (Gina Carano) take down Shaw and his crew in exchange for pardon and their freedom.
SEE MORE: Fast & Furious 6
While the offer is enticing, Dom is laser-focused that the only reason to try to take down this formidable foe is the chance to make his family whole again by bringing Letty home. So armed with brand new toys and some new tricked-out cars, Dom, Brian and Company quickly discover that these criminals are not only smart and well armed but they share many similarities. Shaw is after a piece of military equipment that could be worth billions and Hobbs, Dom and crew have a small window to try and stop them before they are successful.
In order to solve the mystery of Shaw and his crew, they must also encounter an old foe from an earlier film, Braga (John Ortiz) which sends Brian (momentarily) back to jail to crack the case. Now armed with the information, Dom must stay one step ahead of the crafty Shaw, who has everyone on his payroll and is described as someone you can only get close to if that’s what he wants.
SEE MORE: The Ladies of Fast 6
If history is any indication, wherever Dom and crew get down, chaos and mayhem are sure to follow and this film is no different. Instead of tearing up Brazil as they did in Fast 5, London takes the brunt of their heat as high-speed car chases, random shootouts and vicious fistfights in the Tube make up some of the well-orchestrated and highly-entertaining action set pieces that routinely populate the films.
What makes these films so entertaining is the amazing chemistry between the cast but most notably between Diesel and Walker. The two clearly have a connection and Chris Morgan’s script displays that they really are stronger when they work together. Now that they have worked together in several films, they almost are able to make eye contact and the two have an unsaid unspoken understanding of what needs to be done. The film also has some very tender moments between Dom and Letty as the two reconnect and also seems that they are engaging in distant courting as they find their way back to each other.
Almost everything about this cinematic thrill-ride works, from director Justin Lin’s execution of every aspect of the story, the addition of Rodriquez and Carano that gives the film another explosive showdown and some of the most jaw-dropping stunts that are as entertaining as they are preposterous. But in this roller-coaster fun ride, even the preposterous can be excused all in the name of perfect popcorn summer fun.
The Fast and Furious franchise seemingly continues to break all of the cinematic rules as one of the few long-running series that seems to get better the older it gets. The film also works as a stand-alone action film for the novice while providing plenty of background and established continuity for those who are fans of the series from day one. There are so many pleasant connections in the story (Hobbs/Dom, Brian/Dom, Dom/Letty), that coupled with the beautiful exotic female leads and locale plus wonderful stunt work makes this the film to beat this summer.
SEE MORE: Behind the Scenes of Fast & Furious 6
For audiences that far too often pay big money for films that ultimately let them down, one thing is for sure that the cars remain fast and the action is furiously great – and that will prove to be a hard combination to beat!!!