Action Movie Friday: Fast & Furious 6

It is time for Action Movie Friday, where I treat an action movie like an action movie and not like a drama and stuff. All movie reviews are subjective and while I may like something, you might think it’s shit, and vice versa!

Title: Fast & Furious 6
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release: 2013
Genre: action, crime, thriller
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Gina Carano
Director: Justin Lin
Writer: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Distributor: Universal
Budget: $160 Million
Box Office: $789 Million

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 69%

Gingersnaps Rating:  Three Cookies!

Summary:

Dom and his family have settled into new lives in countries without any extradition. The biggest conflicts on their plate are whether not Brian and Mia’s baby, Jack, is going to drive imports or American Muscle. In London, Hobbs is now running up against a team of international criminals led by Shaw that use vehicles to hijack what they want and what they want is to build a bomb that could take out the communications of an entire country for twenty-four hours. Hobbs needs a team as good as they are and he knows where to find them. He also has the bait to get Dom on his side, Letty Ortiz. The catch is, Letty doesn’t remember any of them and is working for Shaw. Dom and the family come together to work under Hobbs with one goal in mind, bring Letty home.

Review:

All right, so this movie made back almost twice it’s budget in the states alone. It was going to get a sequel no matter what. What the team did at the very end of the last movie, really got people coming to talk and see this movie. Financially, the stunt worked. Emotionally on my end…

Okay, let’s get this out here out of the gate. This movie pisses me off in a fundamental way that I will try to explain. It is a good movie. I like this movie. It still pisses me off. I know this seems to be contradictory. How can you like something and be angry at it? Well, I think it’s pretty simple.

Letty is alive. To top it off, she has the Hollywood version of amnesia. This is perhaps the laziest, most ridiculous, unnecessary and absolutely asinine plot twist ever. Not only do we not need to have Letty back, it completely ruins the entire point of Fast 5. Dom spent an entire movie grieving and getting over Letty, only less than a year later to be told that she’s alive. To top it off, Hobbs knows and uses it as a button to get Dom to do what he wants to do. There is no indication that Hobbs would have told Dom otherwise. If Hobbs hadn’t needed Dom to go up against Shaw, Dom would probably never have known that Letty was still alive. This also means Elena gets thrown under the bus. We’ve spent a movie with this woman getting to know her. We’re relatively invested in her as Dom’s newest girl. And then, we never get to find out how she’s going to fit in this family. Oh, and Agent Monica Fuentes who told Hobbs that Letty was still alive, is nowhere to be seen. I have to eat half a cookie for this nonsense.

The other glaring weak point of this movie is that you have to know every other movie bar one in the franchise to get what is going on in this one. Then, they act like everything that had happened since Fast 4 has been controlled by the puppet that is Shaw. Okay, I know this is a series. I know in most series this is the expected norm. This has never been the case for this series. This is called changing the game without warning. None of this Shaw business was indicated in prior movies. This feels like a gigantic ass pull. If they want to do this type of over arcing story, there are these things called set up and foreshadowing. I’m eating another bite of the cookie.

The remaining part of the cookie stays because the characters act in realistic ways. Dom feels pain over Letty being alive. Brian feels guilty over the whole thing believing it is his fault. The story sticks to the theme of the importance of family and the dialogue reflects that as they all tease each other. The plot isn’t glaringly predictable. If you pay attention, you’ll know the twist before it happens. It was only while the twist was happening that things became predictable. You’ll know what Shaw is going to do to get out of the corner they put him in, because he’s that “evil” of a villain. (They had to make him a ‘bad guy’ somehow.) Seriously, for a guy who was supposed to be about precision and not letting emotions get involved. He was unhinged by the end of the movie.

The world building moved another step forward to more standard physics defying action movie fare. However, it still seems in the realm of plausible. Tanks flatten cars. Guns run out of ammo. And extra weight on an airplane keeps it on the ground. It’s sad however, that they are forgetting the very physics of the first movie that made that movie and this franchise so special. As they move away from racers who use cars to do crime, to racers who use cars to fight crime, there are actually less and less races. And when there are races and NOS is used, we don’t see the physical effects of it anymore like we used to. However, since I have to review on what is presented to me and not what was in prior movies, they keep the full cookie.

I can’t for the life of me remember an explosion that didn’t have a plot point. They blew up a parking garage. They blew up a bridge. They blew up a freaking airplane, but there was always a plot related purpose to it. I have to eat the cookie.

However, there were plenty of entertaining fights. Dom breaks heads at a pawn shop. Brian breaks more heads in a jail cell. Han and Roman go up against an Asian martial artist and fail miserably. Letty and Riley have a take down in the subway. Everybody fights each other on a cargo plane. About the only fight we didn’t get to see was Letty and Dom go at it with each other. She shoots him and then later they race, but that doesn’t really count.

This movie revolves around Letty and returning her to the family. Shaw is sort of this inconvenient bystander standing in the way (an obstacle) along with her Hollywood induced style amnesia. She has her own emotional arc of whether or not Shaw is truly the type of man she wants to be with and if his team is the type of team she wants to be a part of. It’s intriguing to watch and Michelle did an excellent job of conveying Letty’s uncertainty. The character of Riley at first seems unimportant but becomes a major player in the third act. It is unfortunate that Gina Carano didn’t seem to do much with the character. Gisele is her usual outstanding self, a strong woman who isn’t afraid to be a woman. The fly in this ointment is that after Mia tells Dom and Brian to bring Letty home, her and Elena do nothing for most the rest of the movie, except when Mia becomes a pawn. We also learn nothing about the blonde antagonist Vegh, which is too bad. She seemed cool what little we saw of her. I’m going to take one bite out of the cookie for sidelining some of our better characters and then using them in predictable ways.

I maintain that this movie is an entertaining movie. The action sequences and new car chases are intense. They managed to raise the stakes in a realistic manner. I enjoyed the females having a lot to do in this movie, even though two of them were sidelined. However, the glaring weakness of the plot premise pulls it down. No amount of good fights and action sequences can make up for the fact that the basic idea was lazy. The plot was ticking along fairly well until the ‘twist,’ despite Shaw’s stated character and shown character being two different things. Three gingersnaps.

 

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