|Film review: Fast & Furious 6|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Wednesday, 15 May 2013 09:09|
Director: Justin Lin
If you had to bet on one film from 2001 being turned into a franchise, The Fast and the Furious was never going to be top of the list. But here we are 12 years later and Fast & Furious 6 is pumping its engine full of codswallop and showing no signs of stopping. This is a series where characters say things like “You’ve got serious balls” / “I’ve been told” with a straight face. Where they live by a code that gives them two options in life: ride or die. Not eat. Not sleep. Not wash their hands. Ride - or die. So to call Fast & Furious 6 a bad movie almost seems irrelevant. Bad doesn’t even come into it. It’s ride or die. That’s it.
The film follows a unexpectedly entertaining fifth outing, though. After three lacklustre sequels, director Justin Lin and writer Chris Morgan jump-started the series to life in 2011. Their brainwave? Remove the car races and replace them with car chases. The result was a bonkers action flick that turned cars into Swiss army knives with wheels. (If you thought cars were only for driving, think again; in Fast & Furious’ hands, they can be used to do anything, from mash potatoes to teach you how to fly.)
So Fast & Furious 6 does the only thing a sequel to a bonkers action flick that turned cars into Swiss army knives with wheels can do: gets even dumber. Unfortunately, it gets too dumb. Or it doesn't get dumb enough.
A big part of what made Fast Five so fun was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who faced off against Toretto (Diesel) and his gang, including partner Brian O’Connor (Walker) and his lady friend, Mia. But where Fast Five had the fun of two hairless guys beating the crap out of each other like a couple of very angry baked potatoes, Fast & Furious 6 loses its edge by making them bald BFFs. Luke Evans steps in as our villain, Shaw - not just the bad guy, but the bad guy responsible for half of the previous films' bad guys. Yet despite his seniority in the evil stakes, he's a boring, unmemorable character. The result? A long drawn-out drive with tension running on empty. An unnecessary diversion for Brian to a prison across the Atlantic does nothing to make the journey go quicker.
Every now and then, our ensemble of crooks manages an amusing insult, but where Fast Five's trashy dialogue felt knowing, this feels unintentionally naff. “You walk out that door, words like ‘pardon’ and ‘immunity’ go out with you," snaps Dwayne at one point. “They went out the day we were born," replies a straight-face Vin Diesel, his muscles rippling with intensity.
But just as it looks like this vehicle's run out of gas, Lin suddenly remembers why we're here - and throws it at a plane. Literally. Incredibly, that's just one part of the outrageous finale, a 30-minute testosterone fest that blows shit up like a shit-blower at a shit-blowing convention following a two-year shit shortage. That's when its stupidity makes the most sense: when it's characters aren't allowed to talk, unless it's to say "They've got a tank". The sheer silliness of the brilliantly-edited carnage makes up for the tedium that came before - but only just. Does that make it bad? Yes. Which also makes it sort of good. After all, words like "good" and "bad" have no place in this world of tanks and serious balls. It's ride or die. And Fast & Furious 6 chooses ride. Whatever the hell that means.