This time around, gearheads Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) are yanked from their blissful, post-life-of-crime Canary Islands hideaway by their former lawman nemesis Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) for a very important mission: assemble the team (including Fast faves Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Sung Kang and Gal Gadot) to thwart criminal mastermind Shaw (Luke Evans) and reunite with previously thought-to-be-dead Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who’s now running – er, driving – with Shaw’s UK crew.
The specifics of the mission, and what exactly Shaw’s to-be-thwarted plan actually is, are never clear, but the screenwriters don’t seem overly concerned with plot clarity or logic. The characters (and the audience) are simply informed that Shaw is after a “component” to some thing that can create an electronic blackout over a large area. Thankfully, or not, the particulars aren’t really important to Dom or Brian, either, since their big goal is to get to Letty and find out where she’s been for the past few years.
What ensues is trademark F&Ficity, with one speeding, serpentine car chase after the next, and more than a few hand-to-hand fight scenes with assorted characters on either side of the good/evil divide having their asses kicked. Everything is amped up this go-‘round, too – the climactic sequence involves a humungous cargo plane – and there are all kinds of slick, new rides and gadgets to keep car enthusiasts duly impressed.
The problem, though, is that the editing in F6 is so insanely frenetic that it renders many of the key sequences completely indecipherable. I couldn’t tell who was driving which car, or where anyone was in relation to anyone else (or in space), because the edits were all under one second each and coming so (pardon the pun) fast and furious that it was literally dizzying. I understand director Justin Lin’s desire to keep things moving, but the editing blitzkrieg wound up ruining what could otherwise have been some really impressive sequences. Instead of marveling at what the filmmakers accomplished in what must have been super-skillful automotive choreography, I found myself distracted by, and gradually disinterested in, who was chasing whom. Another big sticking point for me: the film also features an endless chase sequence along what must be the world’s longest runway – the scene, which involves a taxi-ing plane going at near top speed, goes on for at least 15 minutes!
And, yet, despite all those edits, the film could have used more editing where its length is concerned. It felt about 20 minutes too long, and some fat could easily have been trimmed from any number of those very-same over-edited sections of the story.
The cast dials in familiar performances – see: Diesel’s gravelly gravitas, Walker’s surfer-guy dudeness and Rodriguez’s perma-scowl – but complements that with hints of comic relief courtesy of Johnson and Gibson. Gina Carano is unfortunately wasted in a supporting turn, delivering little more than muscle (which, to be fair, is impressive) and, save for Rodriguez, the other women are likewise relegated to the sidelines for the most part, with an almost unrecognizable Jordana Brewster getting the shortest shrift in that regard. Too bad.
I walked into F6 super-amped and with (perhaps too) high expectations, so I walked out a little disappointed. On the upside, a within-the-credits bonus scene gives me hope that the inevitable F7 may make up for this one’s shortfalls.