US$100 million richer from their heist in Fast 5, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his gang of illegal street racers are living it up. That is, until a group of elite hijackers forces Diplomatic Security Service Federal Agent Luke ‘Samoan Thor’ Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to sieve them out of hiding to enlist their help. After all, it takes a crook to catch a crook. The deal they strike with Hobbs is this: amnesty for all their past criminal activities, in exchange for helping him catch British villain, ex-Special Ops soldier Owen Shaw (Luke Evans).
Here’s the additional catch, Dom’s allegedly dead ex-girlfriend Letty Ortiz, (Michelle Rodriguez), is apparently working for Shaw. That’s all it takes to convince Dom to assemble his team to take Shaw down in this high-octane, action-packed film that has made this 12-year-old series one of Universal Pictures’ biggest franchises to date.
Veteran FF director Justin Lin wastes no time showing his fancy new group of car racers so that the audience can see what Dom and the crew are up against in London. Immediately, the chase scene enthralls with its thundering sounds of engines, and refreshingly new and highly dangerous stunts. The film also introduces new F1-ready vehicles that—although small and flat can overturn cars 10 times its weight. Brilliant!
Adding to the list of the unfamiliar is Hobbs’ assistant, Riley. Played by former mixed martial arts (MMA) star Gina Carano,she shows off plenty of grappling techniques in her fight scenes with Rodriguez in London’s underground station. Throw in Joe Taslim from The Raid, and FF6 not only has pretty stunning car chases, but some impressive hand-to-hand throw downs too.
With FF6, the focus has shifted slightly from the cars and the money, to the code that Dom lives by, family. Sure, the fight scenes are riveting but Lin probably predicted that the appeal of these materialistic things alone has been eroded over the years.After all, in the dozen years since the first movie, a lot has changed. Dom has settled with Elena (Elsa Pataky), Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) now have a son, while Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot) travel all around the world.
The first thing that comes to mind while watching the film is that the action scenes, although gripping, are too long. Despite how they grab your attention at first, they fail to hold it due to the predictability of the scenes gets after a while.
At 130 minutes, FF6 is the longest one in the series. And as a result, the quality of some parts of the film was compromised. For example, the scene on a highwaywhere Dom had to save Letty from the falling tanker was extremely fake. Of course, when watching a film like FF6, scenes were ludicrous unless one doesn’t expect the laws of physics to apply. In fact, some remarked that the scene was abrupt and a huge disappointment. It seems like Lin, who has helmed the series since its third installment, might be running out of new ideas.
Another thing that can clearly be seen is the reference to the previous films. From the famous saying (Ride or die, remember?’) to the similar car chase sequences, and even the video montage at the opening credits, fans of the series feel like they’re reminiscing the good times that Dom and the crew have gone through. Those moments were probably the best ones in the film. For fans, those moments tug on the heartstrings and might even feel like homecoming.
Storyline wise, the film’s entertaining moments came from Tej and Roman’s constant witty one-liners of ‘why do I smell baby oil?’. Still, writer Chris Morgan sent some parts into overkill with his cliché lines, from ‘You coming babe?’ to ‘Wouldn’t miss it for the world’) and unrealistic storyline. Take for example the part where Elena was perfectly comfortable with Dom leaving her to pursue Letty. Furthermore, with so many characters, most of them didn’t have sufficient screen time for development, and this made it hard for viewers to keep track of each one of them. Perhaps that’s why Lin felt the need to kill off some.
Overall, FF6 enthralls audiences but doesn’t quite live up to its predecessors, although some might disagree. Compared to Fast 5, the storyline for FF6 appears weaker and no longer packs surprises like it once did before. Seems like Justin Lin’s been at this for too long. It’s a good thing that the next FF film will be handed over to James Wan, as he might be able to offer a refreshing take on the series. It’s worth the watch,but only if you leave your brains at the door when you enter the cinema.
Release Date: May 23
Runtime: 2hrs 10mins
Censorship Rating: PG-13
Director: Justin Lin
Main Actors: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker