Elitist Sonny Bunch has already reviewed Fast & Furious 6, so what I want to do here is answer three important questions about the movie. This is your pre-game. I will also post a post-game today, where we can all talk about how awesome it was. (Well, I'll be talking about it, but you can take it up with me @katherinemiller).
Let me preface these questions by saying: I really love the Nelly remix of the Florida-Georgia Line's "Cruise." If you do too, you will love Fast & Furious 6.
1. Is it good?
2. How good?
Almost every scene is: a fight, a car chase, or broing out. The dialogue is, conservatively, 60 percent one-liners. (The set-up-to-joke ratio in this movie looks something like a layup line before an NBA game.) There is a tank and it is, at one point, on Tyrese's ass. But, seriously: Even though the set-up for Fast & Furious 7 is probably the best part of the movie, director Justin Lin has basically flayed away all the boring stuff, leaving us with the entertainment.
On this count, Fast & Furious 6 reminded me of one of my all-time favorite pieces of pop culture writing about—of all things—the genius of Shania Twain:
So here we have a commercial singer who views her career as a job, who considers her onstage persona a crowd-pleasing creation, and who readily admits that her #1 priority is making music that appeals to as many people as possible. Is there any other pop star you can think of who'd say all this so unashamedly?
And wouldn't the world be a better place if more artists followed her lead? If we lived in a world where (…) say, Sheryl Crow, didn't waste even an ounce of energy defending their credibility and instead said, "Yes, I'm a package, I long to sell millions of records, and what about it? Now leave me alone, so I can put a final spit-polish on this irresistible new hit"?
This is Shania Twain's genius. She's subtracted the notion of artistry from her career entirely and replaced it with a rarefied brand of craftsmanship. Twain's music is designed to be catchy, in the way a well-made table is designed to be sturdy. And she's not ashamed of her consuming interest in carpentry.
Basically: This is the craftmanship of fun. The movie is a hell of a good time. When it is on cable in a few years, you will always watch it. Like Super Soakers, fireworks, Tex Mex, the Nelly remix of "Cruise," and Little Leaguers cutely sporting mohawks, Fast & Furious 6 is just fun.
3. Is it better than Fast Five?
I thought Fast Five was better, but: There is dissent about this. In line at Starbucks this morning, somebody here who saw it last night offered this: Fast Five: Fast & Furious 6 :: Ocean's 11 : Die Hard. Debating the relative merits of each is a vibrant and fulfilling experience that I hope you will have this weekend over a cold one.
So there you have it. I will return with more on this stupid but great front later today.