It’s probably easy to make a movie when it’s plot is a one-liner: “Cars go BOOM!” But to make six such movies requires not mere talent, but raw genius. And that is precisely why director Justin Lin is the Leonardo Di Vinci of the “Cars go BOOM!” genre of movies and The Fast and Furious series is his Monalisa.
For the last four installments of the Paul Walker and Vin Diesel starrer The Fast and Furious series, the director has managed to keep things interesting, whether by introducing more brawn (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), or by introducing more brawn (Kim Kold – look him up!), or by introducing, you know, more brawn (Gina Carano, ahem).
Lin has long transcended these commoner labels like “action film director” when he revolutionised the entire franchise by doing something far more badass and thrilling than the stunts themselves: he got rid of a ‘Furious’ in the fifth movie’s title (that’s how he rolls, bro) and transformed Fast Five into a heist movie from a, er, movie. Fast Five became the highest grossing of the series as well as one of the highest grossing franchise films ever.
The Furious is back in the title this time as is Michelle Rodrigues, whose character Letty died in the fourth movie. Except that she didn’t, because Lin, that little mastermind that he is, obviously planned to bring her back for the sixth edition, in one of the smoothest sauten sequences ever seen in cinema. Elsa Pataky’s character Elena, who had shacked up with Vin Diesel’s Dom in Fast Five, literally lets Dom go find Letty in this installment, because “that’s who she is”.
Dom then recruits Paul Walker’s Brian, who has given up on the bad(ass) life at the beginning of the movie because he has a son now. Brian’s wife Mia lets Paul go five minutes later because “that’s who she is”. Then the entire crew – starring people with more swagger than Bappi Lahiri – come on board because “that’s who they are”.
And then you don’t really care, do you? Neither did I. Because when the action starts and the cars (including a Formula One type race car) go BOOM!, the only thing that you think is, “WOAH!” And all the spiel about who they are and “we are family” and “I remember that scar under your belly button happened at the age of 15” (I kid you not) is an unnecessary waste of time that slows the film down by trying to introduce things like plot and all those silly terms critics keep throwing around. It’s because of these distractions that the length of this movie is over two hours. An entire hour, for example, is taken up by Vin Diesel trying to finish his FOUR lines.
But when the action is focused solely on the action, it does not disappoint for a second. It’s incredible how many different types of car stunts the same writer (Chris Morgan) and the same director can make the same cast do, and still make it look awesome. There are also a bunch of hand-to-hand combat sequences, to justify Gina “MMA Champion” Carano ‘s presence, and that’s always a welcome addition.
Luke Evans (of The Three Musketeers fame) makes for a worthy villain, because a British accent always makes for a worthy villain. Everyone from Diesel to The Rock look suitably credible when driving cars. But the USP of this edition is the humour, specifically the banter between Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris. Gibson, particularly, is hilarious and really deserves to be seen more on the big screen.
The heist scenario as well as the Rio setting still make Fast Five the best of the series, but thanks to the humour, all that brawn, and of course, ‘cars going BOOM!’, this film is a must watch for every action movie junkie. The climax of the film alone, featuring a bunch of cars and an aeroplane (YES!), is worth the price of your ticket. Hang around for the post-credits scene that reveals a hint about the next installment. So. Bloody. Exciting!