Cast your mind back to the release of 2 Fast 2 Furious, a film that was derided from nearly all corners, and then look at this week’s release of Fast & Furious 6. It took a decade, but Universal’s car-racing franchise has evolved into “event” status. Whether you like the films or not, there’s no arguing that under the stewardship of Justin Lin, who took over as director with the third movie, this series of films has exploded as a fan favorite. Lin knows how to manage action, and he’s had a long-term plan to consistently up the ante on that front.
Much more importantly, Lin realized that consistent characters are what bring people back to the films. He talked Vin Diesel back into the fold and then developed a suite of characters to fill out four individual films that ultimately work as one interlocked narrative. It’s an action-movie soap opera, sure, but one featuring precisely the sort of reliance on character that very few other action series get right.
The sixth film pushes outward in every direction: there are more characters and amped-up drama, and the action setpieces are more improbable and ridiculous than ever. Fast & Furious 6 won’t ever be held up as a major moral statement, but there’s a lot to be said for the series’ general tendency to trumpet values in friendship and family. There’s a sense of values here that could also be present in, say, the Die Hard movies, if the last couple McClane sequels weren’t such botch jobs.
With Fast & Furious 6 in theaters now, we’re curious to know how you feel about the film. Does the action work, and do the interlinked stories and characters provide enough meat to flesh out all the time between setpieces? Let us know in the comments below, where spoilers are allowed and encouraged.
I’m still outside this series. On paper, I understand the affection for these movies, but they don’t move me at all. I don’t like the characters, and I’m bored by most of their interaction. I’m glad for the return of The Rock, and I applaud fight scenes featuring Gina Carano (Haywire) and Joe Taslim (The Raid). Tyrese Gibson gets a couple good lines in, and I like the idea of Luke Evans as the villain who really needs a bigger mustache to twirl, even if there’s not much room for him to do more than glower and glare. If only Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan could convince me to care about their ensemble. That would raise the stakes for the action, and make the family-building far more effective.
In the end I like the idea of the interlinked storylines and the emphasis on family far more than I respond to the way they’re put on screen. I can appreciate this series as the template for what a set of action movies can be — realistically, the only other entity pulling off this attempt at engagement is Marvel. I also can’t deny some of the action — the ramp car sequence is thrilling, and a highway chase featuring a tank pushes into the absurd in a way I really appreciate. Not much of the action in this movie is even physically possible, but Lin uses bravado and pure confidence to bring it to the screen.
So what did you think about Fast & Furious 6? Let us know, and go for it with the spoilers.