Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Luke Evans, Gina Carano
Written by: Chris Morgan and (based on the characters created by) Gary Scott Thompson
Running Time: 130 mins
Release date: 17th May 2013
And we’re back! The sixth entry to a series that just won’t die, of the fast cars, faster stunts Fast & Furious franchise is now heading into towards double figures and doesn’t seem like stopping just yet. Well after watching this latest film, maybe they should start thinking about putting the breaks on as this film proves, they are running out of new roads to go down.
Agent Hobbs is after a nasty individual, Owen Shaw, who keeps slipping through his net along with his band of road running car drivers, out to steal from the military for their own personal aim. Hobbs has no option but to turn to now retired street racer and criminal, Dominic Toretto, who, with his partner in crime, former cop, Brian O’Conner, are now living in Spain, Brian with a new son. Hobbs pressurizes Toretto into bringing his crew along to stop Shaw , by showing him a picture of the woman Dominic loved, who he thought was dead, alive and working for the villain. The gang head to London, with one thing on their mind, to get Letty, who is suffering from amnesia, back with her family.
Now, it is very easy to dismiss these noisy, popcorn blockbusters and the makers have tried their best to reinvent the series. It is a very different creature now to what it started out to be and thanks to Fast Five, the last entry, it was becoming an enjoyable, if somewhat mindless, affair. So entering number 6, I wasn’t so worried that I wasn’t going to be entertained. The last film was, in all sense and purpose, fun. This time, however, making the gang of street racers into almost a Special Ops unit, has made them lose their edge slightly. It’s also a futile way to inject new blood into the franchise but it doesn’t really work.
Fast & Furious 5 (or Fast Five) was a film that mixed the world of the criminal neatly with a chase around Rio as Hobbs, who seemed so much more desperate then, was determined to catch Toretto. This time, he’s not so desperate and having his adversary right beside him has made the pair less exciting (plus Diesel and Johnson are getting older, maybe they need to sit down more often). Hinging a story around the values of family makes it come across like some fuel-injected Disney fare than a macho, testosterone action flick. This is the film’s downfall. The audience this is aimed at doesn’t want sentimentality about bringing a lost love one back to their clan, they want action, explosions, chases and cars draped with scantily clad women. We get that, in droves but we also get long scenes in which Diesel tries to prove he can act by delivering lines to convince his former love that she is still part of him and his “family”.
The action scenes are also becoming tiresome. It’s perfectly acceptable to stretch reality in these films. Hell, we’ve had the car junkies flying out of trains and over ravines before but this time they are even pushing the patience of the most harden fans to the limit: a chase across a bridge where cars take on a tank with people flying (literally) from one bridge to another; a race through Piccadilly when we all know that the fastest you can get through the London landmark is about 5 mph and a 20 minute finale in which cars take on a cargo plane on the longest runway ever! What makes it even more infuriating is that they aren’t that exciting anymore. There’s no sense of peril, of tension. There’s a little bit of plot (which seems perfunctory to say the least) then a chase, then more plot, then another chase and so on. The only incident of excitement comes right at the end when we get a sneak peek of who’s coming in Number 7 but even that makes you go, does there have to be a number 7?
The performances, well, happen. Diesel is Diesel, Paul Walker looks older than he did at the start of the series (we get a montage during the credits of the past films) and Dwayne Johnson isn’t given anything much to do but flex his muscles and raise the odd eyebrow, The Rock style. This isn’t a film about performances, though, this is about action and cars. Well, they are there.
Running at over two hours, it could have been trimmed by 40 mins and no one would have cared. They have always been slightly disposable, almost instantly forgettable experiences (serious, can you tell one from the other?) If Number 7 has the promise of…him (I won’t give the game away) then it might be worth investing in but on the result of this, I wouldn’t hold your breath. The car is starting to stall and maybe needs to be put out to scrap.