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61 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vin Diesel & Co. take you on a nonstop thrill ride, May 21, 2013
This review is from: Fast & Furious 6 (Steelbook) (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD with UltraViolet) (Blu-ray)
Usually, the longer a film franchise carries on, the more diluted it becomes - eventually leading to recasts, reboots, and whatever other attempt movie studios can think of to preserve their moneymakers. Just a few of the franchises that have had to reinvent themselves over the years includes James Bond, Batman, and basically any of the popular horror series. Outside of the horror genre, most of the series additions these days are above average or at least average in terms of quality, with The Dark Knight and Skyfall being a few of the best examples, compared to Batman & Robin and Die Another Day being examples of their polar opposites. Now, let's turn our attention to the Fast & Furious franchise. After the release of The Fast and the Furious (2001), the franchise clearly took a tumble without Vin Diesel in the driver's seat, spawning two mediocre (yet successful) sequels before "rebooting" with the original cast in Fast & Furious and Fast Five. The majority of that cast returns once again in the fifth sequel, Fast & Furious 6.

Directed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious, Fast Five), Fast & Furious 6 stars Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, along with Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner - reunited once again when Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) approaches them for help to take down a rival crew, run by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). Shaw's crew also includes Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), Dom's former girlfriend that was allegedly killed while assisting the FBI - who has been suffering from amnesia since her supposed fatal car accident. With official pardons being used as collateral to clear their names, Toretto, O'Conner, and the rest of their crew must assist Hobbs in stopping Shaw and his crew from stealing components to assemble a devastating weapon that would have the ability to knock out electronically crash an entire region. Jordana Brewster, Gina Carano, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, and Tyrese Gibson also star in supporting roles.

After the conclusion of Tokyo Drift, it would have been hard to imagine the Fast & Furious franchise surviving long enough to make another film - but here we are, three sequels later with another on the way in 2014. To be honest, Fast & Furious (2009) didn't have a whole lot going for it other than it reunited the original cast, but it was enough of a commercial success to spawn Fast Five, which is by far and away the best film of the franchise. With that being said, it was always going to be a massive undertaking to exceed the entertainment value of Fast Five. However, Fast & Furious 6 definitely gives Fast Five a run for its money - due in large part to the addition of another crew that is just as talented as Toretto's crew, not to mention the return of Michelle Rodriguez.

Fast & Furious 6 is basically split down the center with two different plots coinciding with one another, the first being the crew assisting Hobbs to take down the Shaw gang, and the second to return Michelle Rodriguez's character to her once prominent position as one of the franchise's main characters. The Letty storyline is a bit silly when you really think about it, but then again the whole franchise is pretty silly in itself - since basically all of the characters should either be dead or in jail. Still, the storyline works enough to get Rodriguez back in the mix and to be completely honest, the franchise was really lacking the role of a dominant female that Gal Gadot and Elsa Pataky had been desperately trying to fulfill in the past two sequels. Now that Letty is back in full swing, ***SPOILER - it should be no surprise to see that Gadot and Pataky were essentially written out of the franchise by the conclusion of Fast Six***

It's not as though the Fast & Furious films are overly impressive with the overall quality of acting or meaningful dramatization (they star Vin Diesel and Paul Walker for cryin' out loud), so it shouldn't be too surprising that these films have taken on a watered-down, soap opera-ish feel to them. Regardless, viewers are obviously invested in these characters, clearly having fallen in love with them and continuing to want to know what happens to them. At the same time, you have to wonder how long these films can keep going at the rate they are progressing - because no matter how many times a character says their predicament presents "another level" of difficulty, it still feels the same as the last film. That's not to say these films aren't exciting, because they absolutely are, but the more action these films dish out, the harder it will be to get to the finish line the next time around.

The best part of these films (outside of the cars) is waiting to see in what direction the story will be taken next. Like the popular Marvel films, the Fast & Furious franchise has adopted the "scene after the credits" to help set up the lead-in for the next film. For example, Fast & Furious was a direct lead-in to Fast Five, while Fast Five's ending saw the return of Eva Mendes to drop the bombshell about Letty still being alive - and well, Tokyo Drift supposedly taking place out of order is just plain strange (especially since viewers already know the ultimate fate of Han). How does Fast & Furious 6 end? Well, you'll have to go to the theater to get the answer to that question, but let's just say a HUGE A-list actor will be taking the reins in Fast 7 as the main villain. This scene also ties up a MAJOR loose end from Tokyo Drift that wasn't even a loose end at the time. Sound confusing? Well, go watch the film and ask questions after.

Overall, Fast & Furious 6 is a terrific addition to the franchise, featuring no shortage of big engines, big thrills - and a rather large tank. Team Torreto continues to hit on all cylinders and will easily cross the finish line at the box office with another victory under their belt - paving the way for next year's sequel (which everyone will be clamoring about after the final scene of the film). Feel free to buy your tickets in advance, because Fast & Furious 6 is a MUST SEE.

Overall Grade - B
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 24, 2013 10:22:55 AM PDT
Taikero says:
Just swinging by to make a quick note that Justin Lin also directed The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. His directing skills have vastly improved from that movie to Fast Five (Yet to see 6).

Posted on Jul 17, 2013 6:04:21 PM PDT
Nice review
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