Mania Review: The Fast and The Furious 6 -

Mania Review

Mania Grade: B

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  • Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Paul Walker, Gina Carano and Tyrese Gibson
  • Written by: Chris Morgan
  • Directed by: Justin Lin
  • Studio: Universal Pictures
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Series:

Mania Review: The Fast and The Furious 6

They live life one ridiculous action scene at a time.

By Rob Vaux     May 24, 2013

 All right, The Fast and the Furious, I give in. You got me. It was a tough fight, but I can no longer deny the guilty pleasure of watching you tear through the streets in your ridiculous muscle cars and dispense pop-culture philosophy while engaging in prepubescent flirtations with too-skinny members of the opposite sex. It’s all a grand joke… but for the first time, I really believe you’re in on it. And suddenly, the entire ludicrous affair just clicks into place.

The sixth entry in the Fast and the Furious saga certainly revels in the absurd, particularly in the climax which reverts to a pure roadrunner cartoon with the attendant attitudes in plausibility, common sense and the laws of physics. And that all arrives after someone says – in all seriousness – “how did you know the car would break our fall?” That’s part of the point, fans have argued, but until now I just haven’t felt it. It was all just macho posturing and borderline sexism wrapped around some technically impressive but dramatically inert stunt pieces.  The sixth entry finally cracks that code, what used to be unintentional goofiness now fully embraces its camp side, along with some impressive action sequences and a few welcome new cast members to keep us hopping. The results might be the best F&F movie yet.

It also works in no small part because the filmmakers refuse to rest on their laurels. By the sixth movie, most franchises are in full-bore coast: recycling ideas from earlier entries while the cast does little more than cash a check. But director Justin Lin commits himself to upping the ante in every aspect of the production. “How about a showdown between Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) muscle car gang and an M1 tank? We’ve never seen that before!” And indeed we haven’t. It arrives with a minimum of CG – with real cars and real stuntmen involved – and while we’re cackling at the sheer overhyped silliness of it all, it’s hard not to be impressed at the same time.

So it goes with the rest of the film, as Interpol Slab O’ Man Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) recruits Toretto’s gang to hunt down an evil band of speedsters stealing the pieces of a deadly satellite. The McGuffin immediately sends us into the realm of little boys’ fantasies: the kind involving scores of Hot Wheels and a few G.I. Joe figures thrown in for good measure. The bad guys – mostly British because, you know, England is evil – use modified races with frontal ramps designed to flip over any car that gets in their way. Toretto’s merry crew takes off after them in an equally shiny array of fuck-you-mobiles, and whole thing soon devolves into extended jousts on the streets of London before segueing to the lonely highways of Spain.

The chases never fail to entertain. Nor do the fistfights, choreographed with a considerable amount of flair and making exquisite use of the cast’s physical skills. Former MMA fighter Gina Carano is the most welcome participant, playing The Rock’s stalwart sidekick with the kind of cool confidence we normally expect from more established stars. (Though they really needed to give her more people to hurt.) Mr. Johnson is no slouch himself in that department, and while Diesel keeps the physical stuff to a minimum, his meathead Zen master routine finds a freshness here that we haven’t seen in many years.

The plot is complete gibberish, of course, as are the sophomoric character interactions intended to invest us in what’s going on. We’re looking at living cartoons, not human beings, and the script’s insistence on treating them as such actually becomes part of the joke. (I’m also a littler perplexed at their choice of London for the setting. Let’s face it: it’s not a hot-rod town.) It can take long time to accept these flaws, particularly when Diesel and The Rock look ready to start Frenching at any moment.

Luckily, that’s not the point of the exercise. We want to see cars go really really fast in scenarios that couldn’t possibly exist in the real world, and on that front The Fast and the Furious 6 delivers. It shies away from cheating with CGI, and while some sequences obviously benefit from the safety of computer imagery, they do a whole lot the old-fashioned way. It’s quite a rush and Lin’s certainly had enough time to hone his craft with the previous three Fast and Furious movies under his belt.  He doesn’t allow himself to get sidetracked, and while we’re often shaking our heads in disbelief at the shit he tries to slip by us, we always do it with a smile on our faces.

It takes a certain type to enjoy it, as always, and I’m still not sure I’m that type. This movie has got to be one of the dumbest ever made. But it holds no malice in its heart and approaches its task with cheerfulness and enthusiasm. That spirit bleeds through onto the screen, such that even when you know how silly it all is, you don’t care. They used to save films of that nature for August, when the big boys had played themselves out. Thanks to the previous five movies, the Fast and the Furious 6 now is one of the big boys. It takes glorious advantage of the opportunity, delivering a film whose over-the-top stupidity is exceeded only by its ability to entertain us regardless.


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MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 5/24/2013 12:33:08 AM

 I wasn't going to see this but it was hot as balls here in Thailand and I was about to pass out when I turned and saw the theater.  I wanted to see GIJoe but it wasn't playing and this was. Funnily enough Epic wasn't though it was supposed to. But movies are only four dollars here so I went.

I was surprised I enjoyed it so much. I can't remember if I've seen the last one or Tokyo Drift but I guess I didn't have to because I didn't feel like anything was missing. There are things that made no sense. Like when the cops first surround the main villain. Were they trying to be secret? Because I don't know how they thought they were trying to be.

Also, can't believe they actually killed of Walker and Diesel's characters. That was pretty brave of them to do that. But I can't really see Michelle Rodriguez's character as the main villain in the next film. 

VermithraxPejorative 5/24/2013 4:11:13 AM

They should have killed off the entire franchise after the first POS movie came out. These are stupid, silly, over-the-top crapfests that are a waste of time and about as needed as a lobotomy! Once again, MEH, I'll pass!

saiyiansreign823 5/24/2013 4:15:57 AM

Saw the movie and pretty much enjoyed it for what it was. It's no Fast Five, but it was good. I thought this was the last one, stay for an after credit scene.

@MrJawbreaking - LMAO... Panties will be in a bunch over that tidbit of spoiler info. Lynch mobs will form. Only if it was a lie! ;-)

karas1 5/24/2013 4:21:21 AM

My weekend is booked solid with other activities (a D&D party, a trip to the zoo and if I can fit it in, the flea market) but I will for sure be seeing it next week.  I really liked Fast Five and have been looking forward to it.

I haven't seen all of the previous films either.  I've seen 1 several times on cable and parts of  2 but I need to see all of 2, 3 and 4.

jedibanner 5/24/2013 5:22:36 AM

Man...MAJOR SPOILER ALERT in MRjawbreakingEquilibrium's comment....warning would've been nice.

wish 5/24/2013 5:31:45 AM

love it

hanso 5/24/2013 5:44:02 AM

 Oh oh, its the good old "I come read the comments without seeing the movie then complain about spoilers in the comment section" police.  Guess they never learn.

Mr. Jaw, liar liar pants on fire.

ElBaz13 5/24/2013 5:46:09 AM

Here we go again with spoiler alerts in comments on the Review of the movie.

(Captain Picard facepalm)

hanso 5/24/2013 5:49:55 AM

 Bazzy, they must be masochists or something of the like.

monkeyfoot 5/24/2013 6:36:52 AM


I'm not a particular fan of these movies. I saw most of the first and it wasn't my type of "blowt stuf up" action movie. No biggy because to each its own. I never get upset about the success of any movies, even ones I don't like. I hadn't seen another until the last one on cable Fast & Furious (as opposed to the first movie which was The Fast & The Furious !?!) But I loved it! It was a great ensemble cast caper action movie with the stuf blowt up just the way I liked it. Especially liked the inclusion of The Rock.

I'm tempted to see this one in the theatre for two reasons 1) more caper action like the last 2) Gina Carano.

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