Last night myself and some brethren journeyed out into the wilds of the Philadelphia suburbs to see the ode to masculinity that is “Fast & Furious 6,” or as the opening credits dubbed it “Furious 6.” True story.
All these hours later, I still can’t tell if that’s cool or not.
Whatever you’d like to call it, this movie picks up where its predecessor, 2011’s “Fast Five,” left off.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to summarize the other four installments of the franchise, because, well, I haven’t seen them. Until The Rock joined the franchise in part five, it wasn’t even on my radar. After all, I know nothing about cars and I drive super slow, so what could a franchise dedicated to folks who live their lives a quarter mile at a time hold for a guy like me, who lives his life doing 5 under the speed limit?
But then they hired The Rock and everything changed. Part five saw our hero Dom Toretta (Vin Diesel) and his lovable gang of street racers and thieves doing battle with a sinister Brazilian drug lord, while being pursued by a relentless and heavily muscled cop (The Rock).
Spoiler alert: The anti-heroes beat the drug lord by working with the cop, a tenuous bond is formed and we all go our separate ways. Until now.
In part 6, the cop needs help catching a team of highly-skilled ex-military drivers turned terrorists, one of whom just happens to be Dom’s old squeeze Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) who everyone thought died during one of the movies I didn’t see. Well, she didn’t.
The cop promises Dom and crew full pardons as well as a chance to get close to Letty is he gets his gang back together for one last job to bring the terrorist types down.
The terrorist types are stealing, piece-by-piece, the parts to make some kind of James Bondian-super weapon that will turn off all the world’s lights or something. Someone gives a quick speech about it at one point, but it’s kind of unclear.
So Dom tracks down new-father Paul Walker, playboy Tyrese, knucklehead Ludacris and adorable boyfriend and girlfriend Sung Kang and Gal Gadot to catch the baddies. I think that’s everybody.
From there, lots of car chases, explosions, double-crossing and sloppy policework ensue.
But the real question in all this is “Furious 6” any good? The answer is easy, if you liked part five, since that’s all I have to compare it to, then you’ll like this one.
Like “Fast Five,” this one is needlessly over-plotted, about 30 minutes too long and yet still manages to feature way too little of The Rock. Also the main villain, played by Luke Evans, is kinda meh.
At one point Paul Walker goes to America at immense personal risk (he pretty much twists his own arm) to learn something that doesn’t seem to matter, learns it, and then heads back to Europe to join the rest of the crew, where - surprise surprise - no one cares at all about what he learned and it gets pretty much forgotten about.
Still though, there’s lots of fun to be had here. The characters in Dom’s band of merry men all have delightful chemistry with each other. The Rock is always a treat and he once again owns in his limited screen time.
We also get some great hand-to-hand fights scenes, including a standout two-on-one match in the “tube” as the Brits call the subway. The action is awesome, the effects are done well and there’s plenty of comedy.
Plus, another spoiler, there’s a quick stinger during the end credits that sets up part seven’s villain, who seems like he’s going to be incredible. The only downside? The reveal is so cool, it kind of makes part six feel like a placeholder to get to an even bigger movie.
But it’s a minor quarrel. I enjoyed “Furious 6” even if I didn’t always understand why the characters were doing the things they were doing or just didn’t care in some cases.
My colleagues agreed, well worth the trip to the Cineplex.
I’d give it a nice solid B-.