Bad movies are rarely as much fun as these “Fast and the Furious” pictures. And make no mistake about it: They’re bad.
They stick to a rigid formula of hot cars, street races where skinny supermodels make up the audience and impossible (and impossibly expensive) road heists.
Fans know that every character will have his or her moments to show off and that no beloved character will be killed off and stay dead. Fans know the cast keeps growing, just like the lineup of vintage and modern hopped-up rides that power slide, drift and burn rubber through the digitally assisted chases and crashes. Bystanders’ vehicles may be crushed and squashed as collateral damage, but you never see the blood of innocents.
And fans know to stay through the credits, where the movies’ gift to cinema car culture just keeps on giving.
“Fast & Furious 6” pulls our boys Dom and Brian (Vin Diesel and Paul Walker) out of retirement one more time to help the feds (Dwayne Johnson and Gina Carano) nail a British villain (Luke Evans, well cast) bent on world domination. He’s stealing parts for a “Nightshade” device that will knock out a nation’s communications, and he’s doing it with wedge-shaped ramp cars and such.
Dom and Brian leave their lovely ladies, Brian’s newborn baby and their Canary Islands retirement for London. And they get the team – played by Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Ludacris and Gal Gadot – back together. The added incentive? Dom’s late love Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is still alive and apparently one of the bad guy’s minions.
These movies are a collection of epic chases, epic brawls, dialogue zingers and guilty pleasures. Yeah, Diesel’s still a stiff, something that adding the colorful ex-wrestler Johnson to the mix only underlines. You can be muscle-bound and expressive, at ease in your skin. Not that Roman (Gibson) notices that. Given most of the funny lines, Gibson announces Johnson’s entrance with, “Why do I smell baby oil?”
The gang they’re battling is the spitting image of their own. “It’s like we’re hunting our evil twins!”
When this comes out on video, you can make “I got this,” “We got your back” and “Get in the car” into a drinking game, thanks to how many times those weary cliches are repeated in the script.
The cars? Cooler than ever, with Dom’s passion for Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge products extending to a big-winged Plymouth Road Runner Superbird of 1970s vintage. He’s chasing Letty, who drives a souped-up 1970s British Jensen Interceptor. And those are just for starters.
Every law in the book will be broken, from traffic infractions to laws of physics. It runs out of gas for 30 minutes or more in the middle of everything. But the easy bonhomie of the cast, the jokey tone of the script and in-your-face slam-bang action (a girlfight for the ages) make this junk food that goes down easily, no matter how little nutritional value it has.