Furious Six [AKA Fast and Furious 6] 2013

While the movie can’t quite decide what it’s title is, that fits because it also can’t decide on what sort of film it is. Is it a heist film, a spy film a racing film, who knows? Maybe since it has all of those elements we should not be too worried about classifying it, and more worried about the whiplash we get as we move from one action sequence to another. Maybe the transitions are supposed to be made easier by the brutal fight scenes that break out around them. 

Logic aside, Furious 6 has some great things going for it. The return of Dwayne Johnson gives the extended plotline a little more coherence. Johnson drips charisma and he gives Vin Diesel someone to act against who disappears into the scenery. This time he is accompanied by another DSS agent, in the form of Gina Carano, another actor with charisma to match the counterparts on Dom’s team. Carano’s character, Agent Riley,  engages in an extended fight with Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty in the London Underground. These characters are as brutal as any man would be in a similar fight, and I suppose the justification for this is so Letty can have some combat scenes and not have to be pounded on by one of her male co-stars. The resolution of Riley’s storyline is disappointing because she could have been a compelling recurring character. I guess they have enough of those already, so adding to the reoccurring cast was undesirable. 

Location shooting in London looks great, and as a Bond fan, I always appreciate when Great Britan is featured at the center of a spy story. The villain of this episode is Owen Shaw, played by Luke Evans, and his character is basically Bond gone bad. As if Dr. No persuaded double o seven to join SPECTRE and commit international terrorism on a scale only dwarfed by the events of 9/11. Most of London gets bruised in the early section of the film, and then Spain gets the destruction of hundreds of cars with passengers in them for a chase scene involving a tank. I’ve read that the tank crushing of the cars was real and not just a CGI animation. I can believe it because the weight and mass of a tank in comparison to some European sedan would be massive. There was an incident several years ago where a deranged Army Vet stole a tank and decimated a neighborhood in San Diego. You can see in the news footage that a tank can in fact run over a car with impunity. Where the scene gets it wring is in the use of a couple of cars to try and anchor the tank so it will flip. It is also a big stretch to see Dom, flying through the air to catch Letty and then landing safely on the road. 

A good suspenseful climax that gets drawn out by a series of complications is always welcome, but it needs to be somewhat grounded. The plane/car chase here is just not acceptable for suspense purposes, but it is fine for spectacular action. Cars getting on and off a plane, a harpoon gun taking down the whale of a cargo jet, and an extended fight sequence in the belly of the plane are all fun but at no point do you think this is going to come out wrong for our heroes. Even the apparent death of one of the female crew is nearly dreamlike, we never see the outcome, just a moment of vanishing, but into the dark and we are not sure how far of a fall is there. Characters in this series get revived from the dead all the time, so i would not “Wonder” if a certain actress were to return in a future film. 

The best payoff in this movie is the thirty seconds of Jason Statham, glaring at the camera and scowling as he makes a threatening phone call that will set up the action in the next film. I think the best way for me to keep track of these movies which are all fun but forgettable, is to check the location and stunt moments. Furious 6: London Car Flipping, Spanish Tank Chase, NATO base with the longest runway in the world and a car plane chase. There, that should help you remember more than Letty does for most of this film. 

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