Fast & Furious 6
If you like your stunts outrageous and your plot soapy and undemanding, this won't disappoint
For a franchise with simple tastes – gleaming cars, well-oiled muscles and bikini babes – the Fast & Furious series has always been ultra-willing to re-tune its engines. This time, we’re in London – a first – and the gang, led by Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto and Paul Walker’s ex-cop Brian O’Conner, are in league with Hobbs (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), the DSS Agent who tried to bring them to justice in the previous Rio-set episode, when they heisted $100 million.
In a neat switcheroo, Hobbs wants the lawbreakers to help capture pro-hijacker Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) – though it’s not the lure of free pardons for their past crimes that motivates them. Rather, it’s the re-appearance of Dom’s ex, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) – thought dead after the fourth movie – who is working with Shaw. With Hobbs now accompanied by sidekick Riley (Gina Carano), you can almost see returning director Justin Lin rubbing his hands in glee; Rodriguez, the star of Girlfight, against ex-MMA athlete Carano – the female equivalent of last episode’s Rock vs. Diesel smackdown.
If you like your stunts outrageous and your plot soapy and undemanding, then F&F6 doesn’t disappoint. The action is exhilarating, as Lin gives us a 100mph drive-by – Canary Wharf, the London Eye and Battersea Power Station providing the picture-postcard backdrops. A race through Piccadilly Circus is arguably the best use of the landmark since An American Werewolf in London.
Evans’ “precision”-driven criminal a worthy opponent, not least with his ‘flip-car’, a Formula 1-style vehicle that tosses oncoming traffic in the air. If it sounds ludicrous, it is – though it doesn’t come close to what’s to come. Tanks, airplanes and a post-credits cameo that sets up next year’s seventh episode. While the two-hour plus running time may be too much carnage, like those old cliffhanger TV serials of old this is one franchise that knows how to keep the fans flocking back.