New rules for the fifth Fast and Furious sequel:
Rule number 1 – Everybody gets a harpoon gun. Yes, everybody.
Rule number 2 – If you are bald, you must spend 90% of your time brooding with your arms crossed.
Rule number 3 – Writer Chris Morgan and director Justin Lin have officially petitioned science to move the law of gravity back to a theory and will ignore said law until the appeal has been heard.
Rule number 4 – Amnesia is caused by too much awesome.
Rule number 5 – FLYING HEADBUTTS WIN EVERYTHING!
The series that began with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker street racing has gone completely off the rails; please know that is a compliment. Instead of spending any amount of time justifying behaviors or motivations, characters in this franchise just do stuff: awesome stuff. Inexplicably, the more cartoonish the series has become, the worse the acting has gotten, the more meaningless and silly the objective, the more purely entertaining things have become. They’ve done away with the main course and veggies, as there’s nothing “good for you” on this plate: it’s just dessert.
This time out, it’s The Justice League versus the Legion of Doom, as Dom (Diesel) and O’Conner (Walker) are told by Agent Hobbs (The Rock) to gather their “criminals but still good guys” car gang to face a “criminals and also bad people” car gang. No joke, at one point Roman (Tyrese Gibson) actually points out that each of the heroes has “an evil twin” on the other side. Still not buying the superhero comparison? Vin Diesel flies in this movie. He also shoots himself at baddies via a flying headbutt, likely because he looks like a bullet.
The theme of the film is family. You’ll know this because all dialogue is either some variation of reminding you that “family is important” or grunting. The backstory involving Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who was dead before but got better, is straight from a soap opera, with convenient amnesia. But who cares? Who cares that our heroes have undoubtedly racked up a higher body count in the last few films than most genocidal third-world dictators? Who cares that nobody seems to possess an IQ that so much as flirts with the median average? Who cares if the continuity of the franchise has gone wibbly wobbley? Did you not read the part where Vin Diesel can fly? Because he can! Plus: Explosions!
Movies are not an either/or proposition, not a zero-sum game. Embracing the profound silliness of the Fast series does not sully an appreciation for profound art like Upstream Color or Blancanieves. There is room for both in the heart’s theater, and Fast & Furious 6 is a love letter to boisterous nonsense. It is an ode to spectacle and a spiritual manifestation of the kinds of treats we love in the summer: ones that are bad for you and melt if they aren’t consumed fast enough.
Grade = B+