Main cast: Vin Diesel (Dominic Toretto), Paul Walker (Brian O’Conner), Michelle Rodriguez (Letty Ortiz), Jordana Brewster (Mia Toretto), Luke Evans (Owen Shaw), Tyrese Gibson (Roman Pearce), Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges (Tej Parker), Sung Kang (Han Seoul-Oh), Gal Gadot (Gisele Yashar), Gina Carano (Riley Hicks), Clara Paget (Vegh), Kim Kold (Klaus), Thure Lindhardt (Firuz), Elsa Pataky (Elena Neves), and Dwayne Johnson (Luke Hobbs)
Director: Justin Lin
It looks like this franchise is going to get all meta and interconnected, with a shift of focus from racing to committing heists, as Fast & Furious 6 delegates the speed race aspects that formed the root of the franchise even further into obligatory filler moments. This one follows the events of Fast Five, so there are spoilers of that last movie here, specifically with regards to Dom’s love life. Then again, is it really a spoiler when Michelle Rodriguez’s face is on the movie posters everywhere?
So, yes, Letty is back… and alive! Our “Samoan Thor” (as Tej calls Luke Hobbs) interrupts the blissfully happy lives of our gang to bring them some news. Sure, Dom and Elena are enjoying a happy moment together, Han and Gisele are talking about taking their relationship to a more serious level, and Mia and Brian have a son to raise. Roman is enjoying life with his own private jet and bevy of beauties, and Tej has his workshop and his groupies. What can go wrong?
Well, Hobbs needs the help of Dom and the gang. You see, former British special op Owen Shaw and his own gang are on the loose, and Hobbs has been trying to catch them for a long time. When he discovers that Letty is somehow alive and helping Shaw, he shows photographs of Letty to Dom, knowing very well that Dom won’t be able to resist searching for Letty. (Elena lets him go – she understands, how sweet of her.) Brian still feels guilty over what happened to Letty, and Mia says that she’d be more comfortable with Brian going with Dom, as the two men would protect one another better then. Besides, Letty is family. As for the others, Hobbs promises full pardon. So, everyone’s in, although Roman naturally whines a lot. It’s actually quite sad how his character has regressed – he’s now double the whine factor.
The word “family” is bandied a lot, mostly because Vin Diesel is morphing his character into that one guy Steven Seagal keeps playing in all his movies. While I’m pretty sure Mr Diesel won’t bloat himself up to take up three-fourths of the screen with his bulk, he has the monotone, singular scowl, and wooden acting down pat. Fortunately, there is Paul Walker who is just slightly less wooden, his earnest goofiness a great foil to Mr Diesel’s sage kung-fu master act. Dwayne Johnson gets to scowl and punch things a lot, and Luke Evans manages to steal a few scenes by playing the only guy who seems to be on the joke. Oh, and Dom wants to help Letty remember, so much so that tinkling piano music plays each time the two of them look into one another’s eyes. Well, the audience needs a cue that Dom is hurting, after all, and that is not so obvious from watching Mr Diesel trying to emote.
Fortunately, the action scenes more than make up for the sappy and often under-acted “emotional moments”. There are lots of crashes, explosions, and more here, and while the last half hour or so is positively ludicrous, those scenes get the blood pumping. Fast & Furious 6 follows the formula that made the last two movies a joy to watch, and this franchise is fast on its way to becoming one of the most entertaining dumb franchises ever.
Oh, and one reason to really loathe The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift: the film people aren’t changing anything about that crap movie, which would take place next in the timeline of these movies, so they have to kill of Gisele here and, of course, Han dies in that movie. Two of the more entertaining secondary cast members gone, sigh.