3.5 stars. Rating: PG-13, and somewhat generously, for intense and relentless violence, action and mayhem, along with occasional profanity and sensuality
By Derrick Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 5.24.13
The Fast & Furious series has long been known for physics-defying stunts that strain credibility, while nonetheless inspiring well-deserved admiration for the way so many of these crazy chases and assorted skirmishes look (somewhat) authentic, as opposed to the obvious fakery of computer-enhanced sweetening. (Make no mistake: CGI plays an important role in these films, but much of the driving is real.)
Even by those standards, however, Fast & Furious 6 boasts audacious, jaw-dropping set-pieces that are just plain nuts.
But they’re also tautly edited, reasonably suspenseful and quite entertaining. As comic book movies go, this series delivers ingenious thrills ... even if they are guaranteed to make mechanical and aerospace engineers snort with laughter.
Director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan deserve considerable credit. They’ve collaborated on four of these films now — all but the first two — and they have the formula down cold. Take an ever-expanding “family” of familiar characters, grant them plenty of interactive banter, season with vehicular chases every 15 minutes or so, and blend with aggressive punching matches between good guys and bad guys, usually one on one, but sometimes two on two.
Toss in a James Bondian “head villain” with an equally malevolent sidekick, spice with babe shots — because under-dressed women are such an essential part of street-racing — and call it a movie.
And yes, before you ask: Morgan already is scripting Fast & Furious 7 for new director James Wan (Saw, Insidious), which will add Jason Statham to the mix when it roars into theaters next summer.
It’s all absolute and utter nonsense, but thrilling and adrenaline-pumping nonetheless. No doubt responding to demands for bigger and better, Lin and Morgan have customized 6 with road-rage chases involving all manner of souped-up cars, not to mention a tank and a massive Antonov 124 cargo plane (!). And yes, the latter eye-widening melee, during which half a dozen four-wheeled vehicles try to prevent said plane from lifting off, occupies 15 climactic minutes, during which the accelerating plane magically never runs out of runway.
Heck, even allowing for the cross-cutting needed to show simultaneous action on the ground and inside the plane, I figure that runway must’ve stretched at least 20 miles. Land must be cheap in Spain.