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'Fast & Furious 6' takes car worship to the extreme

POSTED: May 23, 2013 1:30 a.m.

Nothing about "Fast & Furious 6" makes sense. The initial premise, every aspect of character development, and every plot point are all ridiculously, shockingly mindless.

Before continuing, let me clarify that I am not a hater of this franchise. In fact, I like it because it has never pretended to be something it’s not.

The "Fast & Furious" franchise is where you go to turn off the critical side of your brain and enjoy a series of well-crafted chase scenes and music videos. It’s also surprisingly earnest. When it comes to its bedrock ideals of family, loyalty and living by a code, "Fast & Furious" completely lacks irony, and these days that’s almost refreshing.

However, even compared to other entries in the franchise, it is difficult to enunciate just how stupid "Fast & Furious 6" is.

I won’t bother giving a synopsis, because there isn’t a coherent story.

Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and the crew are in London helping Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his new partner (Gina Carano) chase another vindictive villain (Luke Evans).

Go any deeper into the story than that, and it falls apart.

The big news is that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is back. She has lost her memory and doesn’t recognize any of the crew. Funny how she still remembers everything else.

That’s just the tip of a very big iceberg of plot points that are so laughable it’s almost insulting.

The filmmakers obviously put the action sequence gimmicks before everything else. They came up with what they thought were cool stunts then concocted something that vaguely resembles a story.

However, I am neither surprised nor disappointed by how ridiculous the story is. I am stunned, though, by how lazy and callous the storytelling is.

The movie is so eager to get to the next action sequence that the dialogue scenes become meaningless. It’s no longer characters speaking to each other. It’s actors verbalizing the setup for the next fight or chase.

The franchise’s central theme of family—which they relentlessly drive home with the force of a 500-horsepower engine—is hard to buy into when human life is treated as disposable.

During one sequence, a tank rolls over dozens of cars, all with people in them, and it doesn’t really bother anyone.

Even when someone within "the family" dies, the movie barely spends a beat to honor them before speeding on to the next gratuitous close-up of Vin Diesel purring some awful one-liner.

The fact that Brian joins the crew on this mission at all shatters the movie’s family code. Brian chooses to risk his life and leave Mia alone with their infant child (who is sitting up and playing with cars just days after birth, by the way), all because Hobbs plops down a picture of Letty. And Mia practically forces him to leave. Family indeed.

The entire Fast & Furious franchise is a sort of man-child’s fantasy, an endless ceremony of car worship. But this movie stretches the deification of all things Car to eye-rolling heights.

In "Fast & Furious 6," characters can fall 200 feet without any injuries—as long as they land on a car. They can be hit head-on, smash the windshield, and be thrown 30 feet—but since they were hit by a car, they can spring to their feet and fight at full capacity seconds later. They can jump from a flying airplane and land safely—as long as they land on a car.

Oh loving, mother-god Car, who watcheth over us in auto-abundance and giveth a fountain of manual pleasure, is there no end to your benevolence?

Atlanta’s own Ludacris once again provides a lot of the comic relief while playing the techie of the group. He, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang and Gal Gadot are all such a joy to watch that I wish I could be nicer to the film.

But there is no way around it. This is one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen.

Jeff Marker is head of the Communication, Media & Journalism Department at the University of North Georgia. His reviews appear weekly in Get Out and on gainesvilletimes.com/getout.


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