The Fast and Furious films are James Bond flicks for the Ryan Lochte set.
As is the case with the Bond movies, one needn’t see every entry in the gear-head series to understand what’s happening.
Skipping The World Is Not Enough did not dim my appreciation of Die Another Day. Nor have I seen 2 Fast, 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, or Fast Five, but I was still able to enjoy Fast and Furious 6 without difficulty. And whenever something tricky came up—an old foe resurrected or an old ally returned from the dead—the characters were more than happy to utter expository dialogue and clue me in.
Like the Bond films, the Fast and Furious pictures are lifestyle porn. However, rather than exhibiting symbols of classic elegance such as tuxedos and floor-length gowns and martinis and Aston Martins, the Furious series celebrates aspects of the bro-tastic lifestyle such as tight tees and super-mini-skirts and Budweiser and muscle cars.
Episodes of the two series also have similar structures. Fairly ludicrous plots stitch together fantastic and unbelievable action sequences. Still, while the Bond movies try to remain at least slightly believable, the Fast and Furious movies long ago decided "believability" and "coherence" are trivialities bros and bro-ettes don’t care about.
And yet, aggressively stupid films are often entertaining. So is Fast and Furious 6.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around our beloved crew of gear-heads getting back together to help law enforcement agents Luke Hobbs (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) and Riley (Gina Carano) catch Shaw (Luke Evans), a former British special forces soldier who is stealing military equipment to build a weapon that he can sell for billions of dollars to someone. Or something.
Dom (Vin Diesel) pulls together Brian (Paul Walker), Han (Sung Kang), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), and Gisele (Gal Gadot) to help Hobbs and Riley. In addition to receiving pardons for their various crimes, the car enthusiasts have a personal stake in the game. Apparently Dom’s girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is back from the dead—and working for Shaw.
Fast and Furious 6 is in one sense perfect. It delivers exactly what the filmmakers presume their audience wants: big, bold action sequences; hot guys and girls; and a few laughs, prompted by expertly delivered one-liners that ensure the proceedings aren’t taken too seriously.
In another sense, though, Fast and Furious 6 is a poorly plotted mess that makes absolutely no sense. Consider the sequence in which Hobbs and Riley are trying to hold on to a microchip that Shaw wants. The chip is deep within a heavily fortified NATO base. When it’s discovered that Shaw has somehow slipped a spy into the base, Hobbs organizes a mobile convoy to ferry the chip from danger.
To recap: The authorities have decided to protect a priceless weapon from a band of thieves that specializes in hijackings and mobile takedowns by driving the weapon away in a truck.
When Shaw hijacks the truck, we find out the chip is actually inside a tank. Which Shaw then uses to attack our heroes. Who are, I remind you, driving fancy sports cars. And the fancy sports cars win.
Where did the tank come from? Why was it in the truck? Who thought this was a good idea?
More important: Why am I worked up about it? I need to let it go, bro.
As long as "let it go, bro" is your mantra, you’ll have a fine time at Fast and Furious 6. And make sure to stick around for the film’s final sequence, which sets up the inevitable sequel. I won’t spoil it for you here, but suffice to say: I’m much more excited for 7 Fast, 7 Furious than I was for this film.