The Fast & Furious franchise continues to rev along gaining more momentum with each new installment and this sixth one offers more of the same with insane, albeit illogical, action set-pieces but thanks to its core cast, doesn’t really miss a beat even if on the whole is not as precise as Fast Five. Given the post credit sequence, I can’t wait to see what Fast 7 has in store.
Genre(s): Action, Crime
Universal | PG13/Unrated – 131 min. – $34.98 | December 10, 2013
Directed by: Justin Lin
Writer(s): Gary Scott Thompson (characters); Chris Morgan (written by)
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Luke Evans, Gina Carano, John Ortiz, Elsa Pataky
Theatrical Release Date: May 24, 2013
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 45.8 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C (untested)
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
Note: This review contains spoilers about the plot, so readers beware.
Note #2 (12/02/13): This review was written two weeks ago, but wanted to add my own personal condelances to Paul Walker’s and Roger Rodas’ families. It’s a sad end and he will be missed as, from my reading (too late), Walker seemed to be a stand-up guy and not just another celeb who says one thing and does another but instead let his actions speak. RIP.
“All roads lead to this.”
Fast & Furious 6 is the latest installment in one of the more peculiar franchises in history. Following Fast & Furious which re-paired Vin Diesel and Paul Walker once again after two mediocre sequels, the franchise has turned the corner from mere racing movies to outlandish summer action/crime vehicles… no pun intended. This sixth entry apparently ends the trilogy which began with F&F and the seventh starts a new one. How does this one stack up with the others? Well, certainly far and away better than the first four but just a hair behind Fast Five.
The story begins several months after Fast Five. Dominic Toretto (VIN DIESEL) and Brian O’Connor (PAUL WALKER) race to the hospital as Mia (JORDANA BREWSTER) is about to give birth to their son and with that, life is seemingly complete. However, Hobbs (DWAYNE JOHNSON) has other plans tracking down Dom, though Dom wasn’t hiding living in a country with no extradition treaty, and recruits him and his team to track down an elusive and cold thief named Shaw (LUKE EVANS) and the carrot for Dom? Former flame Letty (MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ), thought dead in Fast Five, is alive and kicking with Shaw’s crew.
Of course, Dom takes up Hobbs’ offer and the bat-phone is used to call up Dom’s team to take on Shaw: Roman (TYRESE GIBSON), Tej (LUDACRIS), Gisele (GAL GADOT) and Han (SUNG KANG), the latter making this yet another prequel to Tokyo Drift, though that story is coming to an end. Dom’s team agrees so long as Hobbs grants each of them full immunity to which, after brief reluctance, accepts.
So, Dom and his F&F team track Shaw to London where their first encounter involves lots of explosives, fast driving and a nifty, custom-built flip car named so because, well, it has the ability to flip any vehicle in its path. Shaw’s crew, who had just broken into and stole info pertaining to a destructive device worth billions to right buyer, have their own weapons, ones that can kill computerized vehicles, turning them into aerial projectiles that look really cool for an extended action/chase sequence.
The race to stop Shaw takes two paths, one of them being a car driven by Letty which, of course, Dom follows. After a brief chase, the two get out and see eye to eye for the first time and happy to see one another, reunite… or, she doesn’t recognize him and shoots hitting Dom in the shoulder for a non-fatal injury. In the meantime, Shaw gets away despite the best efforts of Hobbs.
However, now Dom and his crew have Shaw’s attention and he and his own team have their own intel on the group, including background, photos and all around awfully extensive dossiers. I know how he got the info, but still a bit much, though compared with the other situations this movie brings up, it’s absolutely nothing by comparison.
With basically all the cards on the table by both sides, Dom is more determined than ever to rescue Letty while she herself questions her loyalty to Shaw leading to a fun race through London culminating with a sweet conversation as Dom recounts their lives together with each scar on their bodies. That’s really the basics of the plot. Yes, Shaw is after components for an all-destructive device but, as director Justin Lin explained in his commentary, it’s all a MacGuffin and never mentioned again.
The plot gets sidetracked a bit when, in one of the more perplexing sequences, Brian, needing info from old foe Braga (JOHN ORTIZ), whom Brian captured in Fast & Furious, gets himself extradited and put in the same cell block as Braga. From there he kicks some ass, learns what really happened to Letty, with yet another nifty retcon by Lin, and manages to get out before they discover who he really is (he uses an old pal to help get him in under an alias). Not exactly sure how Brian managed to get out but it’s really was an odd tangent. That being said, this does give Brian a bit more emotional depth having felt responsible for Letty’s death.
Directed once again by Justin Lin, his fourth go-around, Fast & Furious 6 continues its bizarrely awesome transition through this ongoing franchise. Yeah, there’s still some racing, mass destruction and carnage, but it’s shifted to thriller territory even if it is inane and completely illogical capping off with the final action sequence. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s all awesome and entertaining as all hell to watch, but don’t let your brain try to understand any bit of it otherwise it will explode. Some of the actions by the characters, like Hobbs allowing a certain something to happen, are off-base and merely serve to get us to the next action set piece. Again, not complaining.
As far as the cast is concerned, at this point they are going through the motions and having a good time getting together again. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are the heart and soul of this franchise while people like Sung Kang, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris help round out the crew with chemistry not unlike that built in the Ocean’s remake. It’s a who’s who of the franchise only to grow for Fast 7. With regards to Luke Evans, he’s become one of my favorite on-the-rise actors and although his villain role is pretty mundane, he does give the movie its first real seemingly unstoppable antagonist even if he’s completely secondary to the main cast.
And speaking of which, based on the post-credit scene, it would seem the franchise will take yet another turn in genres going from heist to crime-drama to now revenge ramping it up a notch.
As it stands, Fast & Furious 6 might not be as cohesive in story as Fast Five, but it’s still one hell of a ride and yet another notch in a franchise brought back from the dead and finding not only new life six movies in, but showing no signs of slowing down, although we’ll have to see how James Wan does taking over the reins and how much the studio will muck with it given this is their only cash cow at the moment.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
The first-print run comes with a glossy and reflective slip cover. Inside the standard Blu-ray case there is the retail DVD Copy and a download code for the Digital Copy (both UltraViolet and iTunes).
Extended Version (2:11:02; HD) – There’s not a whole lot of differences between this and the theatrical version so I don’t think there’s any problem viewing this one instead of the other… ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Feature Commentary – Director Justin Lin sits down, presumably for the final time in this franchise, providing enlightening trivia about the sixth Fast movie and his approach to filmmaking, working with the actors and other tid-bits.
Deleted Scenes (1:40; HD) – Only three scenes though nothing special and are more or less filler, though there is one at the prison where they find Brian’s cell empty…
Take Control (19:18; HD) is what was supposed to be a U-Control feature but instead everything placed together to watch at once. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
The Making of Fast & Furious 6 (TRT 26:43; HD) has three parts: The Fastest of Them All (10:06), Reuniting the Team (7:34), Letty’s Return (4:42) and The Mastermind and the Mole (4:21). All provides behind-the-scenes footage and cast/crew interviews. It’s pretty basic but informative enough.
Planes, Tanks, and Automobiles (TRT 24:17; HD) – Split into four parts – The London Chase (7:56), Highway Heist: The Convoy Attack (6:28), The Antonov Takedown (6:18) and Dom and Letty Race Again (3:35) –, these sets of features takes us on set for the various action and stunt sequences. ** Blu-ray Exclusives **
It’s All About the Cars (TRT 15:06; HD) – Is a 3-parter on the cars, and stunts involved with them, featured in the film: On the Set with Vin (3:16), Gearhead’s Delight (6:27) and The Flip Car (5:23). ** Blu-ray Exclusives ** except for “On the Set”.
Hand to Hand Fury (9:44; HD) covers the fight sequences (i.e. Letty vs. Riley) and the stunt training involved. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Fast & Furious 7 First Look (1:54; HD) is a scene from the next installment.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
Universal releases Fast & Furious 6 onto Blu-ray presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition (MPEG-4 AVC codec) transfer. Unsurprisingly, the picture looks amazing with excellent clarity and the detail levels sharp. There’s a wide range to judge with many scenes taking place at night which shows off stark darkness yet not blown out to the point of losing features of what was going on.
AUDIO – 5.0/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track provided is great showing incredible depth between the few quieter, dialogue-drive, scenes as well as the numerous action sequences. It’s not just that the track is loud but it comes across as evenly dispersed from each channel culminating with the big action-packed finale. It’s a solid track worthy of reference material to show off to your friends and family.
OVERALL – 4.25/5
Overall, the Fast & Furious franchise continues to rev along gaining more momentum with each new installment and this sixth one offers more of the same with insane, albeit illogical, action set-pieces but thanks to its core cast, doesn’t really miss a beat even if on the whole is not as precise as Fast Five. Given the post credit sequence, I can’t wait to see what Fast 7 has in store. The Blu-ray released by Universal has a fair amount of features but the highlight of this set is reference quality audio and video transfers.