The MPAA has given the latest instalment of the Fast & Furious franchise a PG-13 for “intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality, and language”. From the sounds of that, Fast & Furious 6 should be a wild time at the movies. So, why was I so bored?
Whether you walked away from Fast Five liking it or not, you at least could’ve left the theatre with some appreciation towards filmmaker Justin Lin for taking a seemingly tired franchise and breathing life into it by changing gears (no pun intended) and driving the story and characters (pun intended) into another realm of escapism entertainment.
None of those surprises are found in Fast & Furious 6. In fact, a lot of the problems stem from what the sixth movie has unfortunately become – a drab, by-the-numbers action yarn.
Moviegoers get a silly story involving that type of grisly villain we’ve all seen before (this time played by Luke Evans as heist leader Owen Shaw) as he issues a commanding plan to his rogue minions involving collecting parts for a power disabling device that could attack multiple regions. Once his weapon is complete, it’ll be sold to whoever is the highest bidder. If Shaw wasn’t too busy driving, he’d also be devising a side plan involving tying a damsel to some railroad tracks.
Dwayne Johnson returns as DSS agent Luke Hobbs and seeks out Dominic Toretto (a role reprised by Vin Diesel) to request his services along with his team made up by former police officer Brian (played by Paul Walker), wisecracking loudmouth Roman (played irritatingly once again by Tyrese Gibson), Tej (played by Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) and the rest of the street racing motley crew. And, yes, this is promised to be “their last job”.
Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan jump to the action right away while the high-octane sequences get more and more dicier and jam-packed as Fast & Furious 6 rolls along. However, I wasn’t bothered by the absurdity in the action being pitched towards the audience. I was disappointed by how it was presented.
This relentless instalment executes everything that’s wrong with mindless action flicks. Lin keeps his camera very close to the action and the hand-to-hand combats have been staged within closed confines. When the camera captures more of a wide shot, the camera movement gets more jittery and cut-heavy. Audiences “get” what’s going on in the scene, but we can never clearly make out what’s going on.
Because the film never learns its lesson, this alleged “edge of your seat” ride grows more dull as we care less and less for what’s happening on screen. I shouldn’t be nodding off during a climactic chase aboard slick cars as our leads try and bring down a jumbo jet as it pummels down a never-ending runway.
I suppose Fast & Furious 6 could’ve redeemed itself if it was celebrating each action scene as if it was proud of its stunts and nail-biting tension. It’s not even guilty of that. Each scene monotonously plays out its action, feeling comfortable with the fact that pulling off the bare minimum is going to please audiences nevertheless. It may, and those avid moviegoers may eat up the laughable mid-credit cookie as well. But for myself, unless this series can learn from its mistakes, I may take the bus when Fast & Furious 7 comes speeding along in the near future.