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Fast and Furious 6 (2013)

May 29, 2013

movies-fast-and-furious-6-posterFast and Furious 6 is a different breed of cat when it comes to action films. A polarizing product, there a two camps when it comes to The Fast and Furious franchise. There’s the camp of moviegoers who view it as mind numbing, brainless crap that is nothing more than a prime example of all that is wrong with Hollywood these days. Then, there’s the camp that view the franchise’s over-the-top action as a purely thrilling piece of spectacle. I’m in the latter of those camps as I will proudly state that I love The Fast and Furious franchise. I know, I know. The Cinephiliac? The person who hates franchises? The person who condemns the bullshit that Hollywood feeds mindless movie goers on a regular basis? Yes, me because The Fast and Furious franchise, for whatever reason, is just different.

The first time I saw The Fast and the Furious, I fell in love with everything about it: Paul Walker’s gorgeous blond locks on top of that cute, expressionless face; Vin Diesel’s rippling muscles and abnormally gruff voice; the presentation of sleek, sexy cars zipping their way down streets at impossible speeds and decked out in Day-Glo paint jobs and beaming lights; these factors glowed like stars in my eyes. Now if you ask me if I watch the Indy 500, I’d laugh in your face, then feel insulted. Cars and racing bore me to tears. I could give a crap less about what’s under the hood of a car. In fact my personal favorite cars are all about the utlitlty and not the performance. A 1950s Volkswagen Bus may not be the best bet for gas mileage, but dude, look at it! And you can camp out of it too, it’s a win-win.

As a 14-year-old girl perplexed by the muscles and brawn in The Fast and Furious, I watched it enough times to make my eyes bleed. 2 Fast 2 Furious made its way into my life and disappointed me beyond belief, mostly because it was missing a key element: Vin Diesel’s abs. It’s only pro was introducing the phrase “trah too fast, trah too furious” into my vernacular thanks to rapper Ludacris’ induction into the cast. After seeing Tokyo Drift in theaters, my high school self was titillated enough to attempt to drift my 97 Dodge and Country minivan in the theater parking lot. Fast and Furious and Fast 5 escaped my grasp, thus making me hell bent on not missing Furious 6, especially after the trailer promised  images of a tank chase and a car being driven out of a plane. I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore fan, but a fan I am and Fast Furious 6 was everything I wanted in a spectacle and more.

Beefed up Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) finds himself at the mercy of Dominic Torreto (Vin Diesel) when a Russian military base is destroyed by a group of highly equipped, fast paced racers lead by a Special Forces solider Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). Hobbs is desperate to catch the criminal, thus recruiting Dom and his outlawed band of misfits to take down Shaw and his group. Hobbs promises the crew immunity from their previous crimes that currently keep them from entering U.S. territory, and also answers for the mysterious reappearance of Dom’s former lover Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), a character who died in the 4th film. Dom and his crew must up the ante of faster cars, more powerful weapons, and bigger balls to take down Shaw and receive retribution.

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The main complaint I keep hearing from opponents of the film is, “since when did these characters become super heroes?”I understand the question, but argue that they aren’t. The fight sequences featured throughout the film are nothing more than what happens in a Jason Statham film or your average action genre movie. What’s the ” superhero” in Fast and Furious 6 are the cars themselves; the character’s prowess are just extensions of that. When a character jumps mid-air off a moving car with outstretched arms to save the life of another, it’s the car that allows him to excel in such an unrealistic task and a car that ultimately saves the life of both. Yes characters have the strength to hold on to moving cars and punch each other with such power their opponent breaks through walls, but how is that any different from the action in Kill Bill?

Fast and Furious 6 takes the car and revamps its power a step above what previous films of the franchise have laid out. Furious 6 gives viewers action sequences that will bewilder and shock you, whether you like it or not is all a matter of personal taste. And what’s more is that Fast and Furious 6 actually focuses on the story and its characters enough for viewers to understand motivations and sympathetic moments. Sure, there are plot holes as wide the English channel and yes certain elements of the film just aren’t explained, like a major twist in character allegiance, but considering a f*cking car drives through a plane what  more do you want?

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Furious 6 does the bare minimum of what a film should do: It sets up a problem, delivers a protagonist and pits them in an all out battle against the antagonist, and it employs a few twists and turns to keep the momentum somewhat fresh. However, as an action film, Fast and Furious 6 does one thing exceptionally well and that’s show viewers a world in which we’ve never seen before. A world with all the bang bang, shoot em up moments that we can stomach. It shows cars doing what we don’t expect them to; moving at the near speed of light, whipping around in 180 degree turns, flying through the air, and effortlessly sweeping across streets. It’s a film that’s an homage to the Hard Body genre. A genre in which muscles and physical prowess are celebrated in the same way that professional wrestling is. It gives a wow factor and wants viewers to do nothing more than sit back and munch on popcorn in between gasping at the “cool moments” that take place. It’s about letting go on preconceived notions of reality and being entertained. And I damn sure was.

SEE IT. If you have the gut for the Hard Body action genre, then prepare to be pleasantly full by the end. If not take a Pepto Bismol to prevent the inevitable churning that will happen.

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