Fast 6 is Furiously entertaining

Old favorites return for the best installment of the Fast and Furious series yet.

Fast and Furious 6 opens with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) racing through the striking Spanish Canary Islands. Dom’s all-American Dodge Challenger and Brian’s GTR Skyline rocket and bandy for position along the edge of steep cliffs as the cerulean waves crash far below. But this is no illegal street race, and a sudden turn leads them to a charming hospital hidden in the hills for the birth of Brian and Mia’s (Jordana Brewster) son. Though it lacks the extremity of some of the series’ past openings, it’s the perfect start for a film that’s really about family.

After committing a slew of crimes throughout the series, Dom, Brian, and the rest of the crew are outlaws, forced to live abroad where extradition cannot reach them. Although they are doing quite well after their $100 million heist in Rio, not being able to go home is taking its toll.

So when Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) tries to enlist them by offering amnesty in exchange for taking down a team engaging in international “vehicular warfare,” the crew comes back together for yet another job. This isn’t just a chance to go home — it’s a chance to restore their family. To convince Dom to take the assignment, Hobbs shows him a recently taken photo of Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who was supposedly killed in Fast and Furious while working undercover.

Bringing the family back together may be harder than they think, however, as Letty is working with the team they are trying to take down.

It’s hard to say why I enjoyed this movie — and the rest of the Furious series in general — so much. It has ridiculous, completely unbelievable stunts, ass close-ups of half-naked women, and hyper-masculine and often wooden characters, all of which normally irritate me to no end. And yet the over-the-top and sometimes bizarre action sequences are a huge part of why I loved this movie. Fast and Furious 6 is both genuinely thrilling and fun to mock, especially if you see it with a huge crowd that’s really into it (like I did).

This movie has everything you’d want in a summer blockbuster: fast cars, flying cars, flying people (I swear Dom develops super-powers at one point), flying head butts, awesome hand-to-hand combat sequences, a Batmobile/go-cart hybrid, a tank, The Rock revisiting his pro wrestling days while destroying an interrogation room, a haughty Brit with no pants, fairly pointless plot twists, and the longest airplane runway ever.

But there is more to Fast and Furious 6 than insane action. The characters are endearing, and the script is sharp and throws in plenty of laughs. The plot doesn’t always make perfect sense, but it’s clear enough.

Though I wouldn’t call anyone in this film a gifted actor, these particular performers are perfect for their roles. In some alternate universe where he isn’t an actor (the thought!), I could totally see Vin Diesel as a surly, mumbling drag racer. I can also see Johnson as the militant but lovable government agent, and Walker as a cop turned criminal. It also helps that the producers don’t cast buxom Victoria’s Secret models as the leading ladies. Instead, they cast Michelle Rodriguez as a badass mechanic and Jordana Brewster as a sexy but sweet sister. It works because it’s believable!

I also really enjoy the minor characters in this series. Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Han (Sung Kang), and Gisele (Gal Gadot) all add more flavor to the films than the main players, who tend to be a tad dry despite their believability. In fact, without naming names, I’ll admit I was emotionally affected by the loss of one or two of these team members, something abnormal for me when watching the usual summer blockbuster fare.

Although it drags a bit in the middle, Fast and Furious 6 is insane, cool and fun. For those looking to escape the already scorching temperatures, you could do much worse than this hard-driving sequel.

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