What started out a dozen years ago as a mid-budget B-film followed by two equally unambitious (but enjoyable) sequels, is now a six picture mega-franchise worth billions of dollars to Universal Pictures. It is also a franchise just getting started. Part 7 is already in production, which will be the first part of a whole new trilogy (4-6 are considered a trilogy, as well) – and why not? “Fast & Furious 6” is the biggest commercial hit of the series and the greatest movie ever made.
That’s right, “Fast & Furious 6” is the greatest movie ever made, and I’m only using a little hyperbole. But how else to describe a film that from first frame to last is the only movie you want to watch. Let me put it this way: I dare anyone to shut off “Fast & Furious 6” to watch “Casablanca,” “Gone with the Wind,” or “The Graduate.”
Now that I’ve made my point…
The ongoing adventures of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), picks up about where last year’s “Fast Five” left off. After robbing a drug dealer of a hundred million dollars in Rio, our anti-heroes are now living comfortably in a country without extradition. Mia and Brian are new parents, and although he is trying, Dom is not having much luck getting over the death of Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) with Elena, a police officer he hooked up with in Rio who is as emotionally wounded as he is.
In Rio, circumstances demanded an uneasy alliance between Toretto’s fugitive crew and Diplomatic Security Services agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). That relationship gets a lot less complicated when Hobbs discovers he now needs Toretto’s unique skills to stop Owen Shaw, a former British Special Forces soldier attacking military convoys all over the globe.
In return for their help, Hobbs offers a full amnesty to Toretto’s crew and a photo of Letty, who not only isn’t dead, but is working with Shaw. (This is not a spoiler. It is a plot point revealed in the part five’s post-credit scene).
This set-up is brilliantly simple and the execution at the hands of director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan (both of whom have been on board since chapter 3) is absolutely perfect. With a $160 million budget and superbly conceived, choreographed, and filmed action set-pieces, “Fast & Furious 6” is a never ending feast for action fans.
And it is not just the action involving moving vehicles that thrill. The fight sequences are every bit as good, especially when Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano duke it out in a subway tunnel.
Thanks to a terrific group of likable and charismatic actors filling out the supporting roles, the quieter character scenes are just as entertaining. One theme that has always run through this franchise is family, which gives the story its heart.
Be sure to sit through the end credits or you will miss an extra scene that not only sets up chapter 7, but throws the series’ timeline in reverse.
Also, be sure to read Christian Toto’s insightful look into why the “Fast & Furious” franchise is box office gold.
“Fast & Furious 6” is available for Digital Download now and on Bluray from Amazon December 10.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC