(Rating: 12A, 130 mins) Written by Zen Terrelonge
Starring – Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Luke Evans, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gina Carano.
The Fast and Furious franchise has undergone a radical transformation since launching 12 years ago, with the changes following Justin Lin taking hold of directorial duties from Tokyo Drift (film three) onwards.
The series has made the transition from street races to include drugs, heists, and now terrorism, while lead characters Dom Toretto (Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Walker) have gone from petty thug and law enforcer to wanted fugitives.
With an opening sequence reminiscent of Quantum of Solace, Toretto and Brian screech around mountaintops as the latter readies himself to become a father, demonstrating how adult and family-minded they’ve become. Meanwhile, what follows is a nice refresher for those acquainted with the series and for newcomers alike, acting as a highlights reel to bring everyone up to speed of the events experienced in the previous five films.
The antagonist for Fast 6 is Mr Owen Shaw (Evans), a former special ops military man that uses his knowledge, contacts and fast cars to make robberies for the highest bidder. In this instance, it just so happens he has his eyes on a chip that would incite terrorism in the wrong hands, which prompts baby oil-loving federal agent Hobbs (Johnson) to round up Toretto and his crew for back-up, offering them full pardons in exchange for their services.
London is the main backdrop for the film, which, naturally, features a very corny cameo, though the the bright lights, black taxis and double-decker buses dotted around the city are infinitely more welcome.
For me, five was the best of all of the films, but six gives it a run for its money, taking the stunts to ridiculous new heights (literally). You could, of course, reprimand the film for its use of impossible feats, but that’s the whole point of these films, right? To get bigger and more extreme, as demonstrated with the big and extreme – and always affable – introduction of Johnson in Fast Five.
For me, Johnson changed the game and breathed new life into a franchise that was beginning to get stale, and seeing Hobbs join forces with Toretto and co makes for brilliant viewing. The action is insane and the banter is electric, with the camaraderie between the cast obvious.
The only criticism of the film is its length. There was a particular moment that seemed as though the film had wrapped, though it continued for another half hour, and while what followed was laced with adrenaline and big bangs, the film could have done with a 20 minute tightening.
Shaw isn’t an intimidating or imposing character, particularly when facing off against Hobbs and Toretto, but he is devious, ruthless and sharp, presenting an entirely new threat to the series.
Those in the know will be aware Tokyo Drift threw the timeline entirely out of sequence, but the game comes full circle at the end of the film, and you won’t want to miss the credits sequence that follows…