Six. 6. Siiiix. 10-4. Sex-minus-E-plus-I. Six whole films. And plans are already in place for Fast And Furious eight. Eight! That’s more sequels than Police Academy! How did this happen? Who is to blame?!
Well, you are. Or at least, we as a species are: the films keep making money. After the comparative failure of the Vin Diesel-less second and third films the shiny growler was brought back, and with him came a nudge-wink self-awareness that served the films incredibly well. The two that followed, Fast & Furious and Fast Five, were daft as tickled mongeese and some of the most fun cerebral hemispherectomies it was possible to subject your common sense to.
The addition into the regular cast of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson tells you everything you need to know about the direction the series decided to take, and will also probably help you decide whether this sixth instalment is for you. Because – and let’s be realistic – it is clearly not a good film.
So, Diesel’s Dom and Paul Walker’s wetly-name Brian, following their heist in the last film, are living the high life of Riley, ensconced in a country of lax extradition laws. Agent Hobbs (The Rock) cuts a hot yellow slice through the ice sculpture that is their retirement when he turns up on Dom’s door: he needs their help, for some illogical and irrelevant reason, and in return offers them someone they thought they’d lost – Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty.
“But didn’t she die in Fast & Furious?!” we can hear none of you howling, and all none of you would be dead wrong. So Dom reassembles his crew and joins The Rock in London, where some cheesy talk about family, some noise and some fast things happen, fastly, and regularly.
Look…what do you want to know? Plot? Ok. For an idea of the plot, try writing ‘PLOT’ on a bat or club of some kind and asking a friend, stranger or acquaintance if they’d mind pelting you over the cranium with it. There’s your plot.
Acting? Walker is…physically present, most of the time. Michelle Rodriguez plays Michelle Rodriguez better than most people we’ve met. Vin Diesel sounds like Paul Robeson after giving deep throat orals to a rowing oar wrapped in fibreglass. Gina Carano, ex-UFC hardnut, joins The Rock in not really being asked to work on the film because of any particular talent in acting, but both are fine. Then there’s the rest of Dom’s crew and the big baddie Shaw, who generally succeed in doing and saying things while being filmed by a camera.
What about the action, you say? Finally! For the most part, it’s superb, with several vehicular set-pieces and a couple of fisticuff-ier ones among the most shamelessly entertaining stuff you’ll see this year. On more than one occasion the screening OTB attended burst into spontaneous applause – ironically, yes, but the film’s in on the joke, and it verges on the joyous. Some of the stunt work is as spectacular as it is impossibly silly.
Criticisms? Well, aforementioned plot, cheesiness, leaden script and acting issues aside, its middle section droops unforgivably, nudging the film well over the two hour mark, which is simply too long. It’s also quite tricky to see what’s going on sometimes, with director Justin Lin’s occasional predilection for quick edits something of a detriment. There’s also an obtuse category-F swear, one of which you can get away with in a 12A, but here it feels oddly crowbarred in solely to tick a box. Sorry, did we say box? We meant fuck.
Nevertheless, Fast And Furious 6, against the standards to which it judges itself, is a success. It’s like going out on the piss in Blackpool: if you haven’t been warned what to expect then you deserve compensation or, at least, sympathy. If you know what to expect and go anyway, knowing you’ll hate it, then your hangover and brand new STD are your fault so you should probably just shut up.
For everyone else? You’ll have a great time.
Fast and Furious 6 is in cinemas on May 17 2013
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