Based on the reviews I’ve put up so far, it’d be a fair assumption that my movie tastes skew towards “dumb actioner”. Certainly, if I’m paying to see a film, I’d prefer it’s one that needs to be seen on a big screen. This week it was the latest in the Fast and the Furious franchise, which calls itself Furious 6, in the manner of a teenage boy calling himself Razor or Death Machine because he thinks chick’s’ll dig it.
Given that this movie is basically just a random assortment of ludicrous action scenes bolted together however they’ll fit, this review will be a collection of random observations in no particular order.
I was genuinely worried that just watching this film would generate a wormhole in the cinema.
Well, no, OK we have to start with the name first. If I’ve got this right, it went The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious, Fast 5 and now Furious 6. They’re painting themselves into a corner with the naming a bit – having experimented with dropping out key words in the name of a catchy moniker, all they have left to try is And 7. I guess they’ll have to go in a different direction for the next one – my money’s on SeFFen. Or they could call it FFVII and piss off Final Fantasy enthusiasts the world over. That’s justification enough for a sequel as far as I’m concerned.
Anyone who doubts the Theory of Evolution, or the idea that humans are still evolving, should be made to watch this film, where we can witness first hand the bifurcation of the human race into two sub-species: Actors and Everyone Else. Not only does Dwayne Johnson look like a smaller man wearing an inflatable The Rock costume that’s been pumped up too hard (with most of the male cast not far behind), most of the female stars have been slimmed, sculpted and botoxed to the point where they’ve passed from “ethnically non-specific” to “not fully human”.
As with other long-running franchises (looking at you, Saw), the Fast & Furious chain has reached the point where it’s starting to disappear up its own arsehole. See, it turns out that the bad guy from 6 was behind the stuff that happened in 4, and then it turns out that the death of a character that happened in 3 (which is actually set after 4, 5 and 6) was done in revenge for what happened in 6 and then it turns out that my ears are bleeding. I’ve actually only seen bits of 3 and none of 4, and I was about to claim that as a result I don’t understand what happened in 5 and 6, but then I remembered that they crashed a car out of the front of a cargo plane after being chased by a tank, so I figure “understanding” isn’t really at issue here.
I’m entirely in favour of the idea of Dwayne Johnson sporulating like a fungus and settling over the entire action genre – he’s breathed life into GI Joe and done the same here. However, once (spoiler?) Jason Statham showed up in this film, I began to worry that it’s the other way around – is the Fast & Furious franchise spreading out to colonise the rest of the action world? The fact that we’re six installments in, with a seventh announced by the post-credits scene, shows that the series clearly cannot be stopped – it will outlive us all, locked in furious battle with The Expendables for all eternity. Quite an encouraging thought, actually.
As for the action scenes themselves, “physics-defying” doesn’t begin to describe them – I was genuinely worried that just watching this film would generate a wormhole in the cinema. Cars fly though the air, people fly through the air, faces get punched, guns go bang, things explode, but (like with GI Joe) I don’t think I saw a single drop of blood actually leave a person’s body. Oh, and the bit where the baddies are driving a tank down the motorway and indiscriminately crushing any vehicle in front of them? Are we to assume that, except for the few cases where a person is shown leaping out of their car, that all of those commuters were ground into paste? There’s no way there wouldn’t have been a few families out driving – that sequence was remarkably callous, given the tone of the rest of the film, which is big on honour and family and “having a code”.
At one point, Dwayne Johnson is obliquely referred to as “Samoan Thor”. This alone makes the film worth it.