I thought for sure that back when they put out "Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift" that this franchise had officially jumped the shark. It would have been too bad too because that would have made it one of the worst trilogies ever. Fortunately, they were able to bring Vin Diesel back and the franchise got a much needed boost. Honestly, I can't even remember the fourth movie though. But when The Rock came on for Five and this one, "Fast and Furious" got even better life breathed into it.
In "Fast and Furious 6", the cast is once again reunited for another adrenaline rush Even bringing back Michelle Rodriguez (which we all knew was going to happen from the post-credits of "Five" anyway). This time around, Hobbs (The Rock...and yes..I will keep calling him The Rock as opposed to Dwayne Johnson) has been tracking a new organization of highly-skilled mercenaries who keep eluding the authorities. His only hope is bringing in criminal minds to catch criminals. Enter Dom (Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and the rest of the crew. But with Letty (Rodriguez) as an integral part of this new breed of baddie, the stakes have risen higher than Dom and his team could have imagined.
I have never been a fan of the method of reincarnating a character by making their death a near miss. I may have to go back and rewatch the movie where Letty died, but I could have sworn that it was pretty clear there was no escaping that explosion for her. So for them to try to use a different angle here to explain away how she was still alive wasn't fully doing it for me. However, they needed a way to infuse some new blood while still keeping the fanbase. The only real way to do that was to bring her back.
Plus, bringing Letty back set the stage for the over-the-top theme that ran throughout this entire movie. Starting from the very beginning when we are first introduced to the new villain Shaw (Luke James). He escapes an impending capture with some nearly impossible driving. Of course it only happens due to a mostly inept London police force. And apparently incompetent police forces seem to be prevalent in movies these days.
That's nothing compared to scene on the bridge where it's cars versus tank while Dom tries to rescue Letty. It was one of those "Mission Impossible III" moments where I just couldn't contain myself. One of those times where even though I know I'm supposed to just accept the ridiculous, I just couldn't do it. It was good to know that I wasn't alone though when I busted out laughing. But there was SO much action in this that even that ludicrous stunt could be overlooked. Or welcomed, depending on your viewpoint.
What I was really looking for was a fight scene as classic as the one between the Rock and Diesel in the previous film. Naturally, those two weren't going to be going at it again. And the new villain didn't look like he would match up physically against either one of them. So who then? Well that's where Rodriguez and newcomer (new to me since I've never seen her before) Gina Carano. Watching those two go at it in that choreographed fight sequence was poetry in motion. A far cry away from the girlfights I remember at Club 2060 back in the day.
As much as I enjoyed the action in "Fast and Furious 6", I would still say it was about 20 minutes too long. There were plenty of things they could have trimmed to make it better. Like the whole sequence where Brian went undercover to prison to get more info from an inmate. Totally unnecessary. Or maybe they could have shaved a few minutes off a car racing sequence here or there. I guarantee they wouldn't have been missed. Despite the fact that the entire premise of the franchise centers around watching cars go fast.
It would have been nice if they would have ended the franchise with the way this one wrapped up. They brought things full circle for the perfect conclusion. And then came the post-credits. With the introduction of yet another high profile actor. So now we have to wait for yet another "Fast and Furious" flick to try to outdo the six before it. Wondering what outrageous stunts they'll come up with next to provide more unintentional comedy. And I will most likely be in theaters to see that one too.
My rating: B -