May 25, 2013
I have not seen a single installment of the "Fast and Furious" franchise, one of only a few, I'm sure. I never got around to watching the first one at all, consequently I never did get to watch the second, nor any of the five, not even the last one "Fast Five," despite positive buzz. Now, this time, since Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez made the effort to come over to our country and grace this film's premiere here last week (the first Hollywood premiere in Manila, I believe). I made it a point to watch "F&F 6", and I'm glad I did.
Now I see what the fuss was all about, and why this franchise has lasted this long and still going strong. The car chase scenes (this franchise's main claim to fame) were amazingly planned, executed, shot and edited. There was that chase scene on the freeway with a tank, ending with a superhuman midair rescue you simply have got to see to believe (or not believe). As if that is not enough, the entire last sequence was about cars trying to get a Russian cargo plane from taking off, all the while fighting off the enemies mostly mano a mano. I commend director Justin Lin for these ace pieces of imaginative and energetic action direction.
In between these big action sequences, there are the scenes of the team led by Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) talk about about being a family and never leaving anybody out. Among the members of the gang, the loquacious Roman (Tyrese Gibson) stood out, being the film's main source of comic relief. His funny one-liners also came fast and furiously hilarious. I will have to watch the other films to get to know the other guys and gals more. These in-between scenes may have taken more time than they should as this film clocked at two hours, when it could have been less than that.
Matching big and beefy Vin Diesel is big and beefy Dwayne Johnson. The Rock plays a cop, Agent Hobbs, who sought help from Dom and his team in apprehending another team of mercenary drivers doing terrorist errands led by Owen Shaw (played by Luke Evans). In return for their help, they asked Hobbs to work for their amnesty so they can all go back to the States, instead of hiding in countries without extradition as they are now. The unexpected return of their former colleague Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who was apparently thought to have been killed in a previous episode but now was working with the enemy, provides dramatic focus for the characters, particularly Dom.
Overall this is one very entertaining and exhilarating film, which I understood and appreciated well even if I have not seen any of the previous films. Well, I am sure fans who have seen all the movies will love it even more since they have known and loved all these characters already from the previous five films. The top-notch explosive action sequences left nothing to be desired, really breath-taking. These heart-stopping car stunts are all admittedly impossible and maybe downright ridiculous, but that was why they were all so awesome to watch! 7/10.