Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mo' Fast, Mo' Furious, Mo' Fun

Fast & Furious: More of the Same, and Funny

By Skip Sheffield

You can only go so fast or get so furious. In order to keep a franchise going, you finally have to add a third F: funny.
That’s exactly what Jason Lin has done with “Fast & Furious 6.” This is Lin’s fourth time as director of F&F, so he must be doing something right.
Entertainment Weekly magazine featured Fast and Furious as its cover story of its May 17 issue: “50 great Guilty Pleasures.”
Since I like car chases and amazing stunts, FF 6 was the easy choice over another sequel, “Hangover 3.” How many different kinds of hangovers are there? Whereas car chases, crashes and stunts have an infinite variety.
ET provided a handy-dandy guide to all previous F&F movies, dating back to the first in June, 2001. For each episode it categorized the bad guys, cars crashed and the time it takes for the first car to crash. Suffice it to say, with each feature the crashes came sooner, happen more often, and are more spectacular.
For FF 6, Lin has reunited a whole mess of heroes and villains for one big mixup.
In the previous “Fast Five,” ex-con street-racer Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and FBI agent Brian O’Connor’s (Paul Walker) heist toppled a Brazilian bad guy and rewarded their crew with $100 million.
The crew scattered across the globe, but when you are accustomed to living fast and furiously, retirement can seem rather boring.
While the crew snoozes, tireless FBI agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has been tracking a ruthless gang of mercenary drivers across 12 countries. The chief bad guy is Ian Shaw (British badass actor Jason Statham), aided by a mysterious badass girl.
The girl is Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez), Dom’s former girlfriend he thought was dead.
Nope, Letty is very much alive, but in Chris Morgan’s screenplay she conveniently has amnesia. When Hobbs challenges Dom to re-assemble his crew in London and do battle in the streets, you just know he will accept the challenge.
In addition to being an action-adventure and a comedy with a smidgen of romance, FF 6 is also part-travelogue, starting in Russia, moving to Macao, London, Los Angeles and all over Europe.
The cast is a United Nations of ethnic and racial types: Italian stallion Vin Diesel, Latina lovely Michelle Rodriguez, Caucasians Luke Evans and Paul Walker, Asian Sung Kang, African-Americans Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris, and part-Samoan former University of Miami Championship football player and professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Johnson in particular has gotten better as an actor, with a sharp sense of comic timing that contrasts humorously with the guttural, deep-voiced, laconic, but much smaller Vin Diesel.
There are so many car crashes, you tend to lose count, but I’m sure someone will. What is unforgettable is the use of a combat tank for wholesale vehicle destruction. What possibly could be next one wonders? We will find out next summer with installment seven.

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