Monday, January 19, 2015

Fast & Furious 6 (2013) Review:

By this point in any movie franchise, if a series of films all related and connected to each other reach beyond two sequels, there must be a loyal following behind it. That also means something is being done right to the franchise (for some). Now although Universal's The Fast and the Furious (2001) feature film debut and subsequent sequels all do not have glowingly positive and overwhelming reviews, the production managed to find its demographic. When The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) came out with writer Chris Morgan and director Justin Lin handling the project, who would've suspected that they would have collaborated for three more films in the franchise. Amazingly even with writer Chris Morgan back tracking by introducing a later sequel earlier, the franchise persuaded its loyal fans to stick to it and keep following the later entries.

Time for another round?....ehh why not?
After breaking free of the law and living in a secluded life from trouble, newly appointed father Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), wife Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) finally could enjoy the time they always wanted together. Or so they thought; Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) returns to Toretto showing him recent pictures of what Dominic thought was his dead girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguiez) who turns out is working for a group deadly mercenaries headed by a man named Shaw (Luke Evans). Upon this newly discovered information, Hobbs and Toretto agree that if Hobbs gets Shaw, Toretto will get Letty. So in order to capture Shaw, Toretto regroups once more with the crew he gathered from Fast Five (2011) in hopes reclaiming Letty and helping Hobbs out. For what started all the way back in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Chris Morgan's screenplay finally,....finally realigns itself to the timeline it initially broke from. Out of all things, this was one of the most crucial things that needed to be fixed and by golly it’s wonderful to see everything add up again.

But aside from this, Morgan shows that he had an appreciation and respect for the films he did not write for earlier because of how he treats the characters. Dominic Toretto's underlining factor to why he's so good is because of the family he has. In the early entries it was about racing, hot girls, slick cars and understanding one's place among all that. Later on, it turned into revenge and then fleeing the law. Now, it's just about family. It doesn't get anymore selfless than that and it feels more genuine than ever among all the previously established characters (including the recently new ones). Now everyone works together for a common cause. There's no second-guessing this anymore and that's just the writing alone. The fact that this is written into the script and the actors can pull it off without having to act as so much as being themselves is also a plus. The installments before this did have emotion and arguments related to family matters, but this film feels authentic in every sense of the word when it comes to feelings.

Every actor plays off each other like it was another day in the life of the job they do daily. There's no tension at any point between any of Toretto's crew because they know what makes each other tick and that makes it all the more preferable to see when it comes to interactions. Luke Evans also feels like the most formidable villain Toretto and O'Conner have ever come up against. Not only is he smart, agile and callous but also tends to be one step ahead of Toretto and Co., even Hobbs. For once, Toretto can't keep up and to see him challenged is definitely a new thing. The action that ignites between Toretto and Shaw's gang is much more interesting to watch this time too. Although it is still way over the top (if not more than before) and the physics behind such reactions remain unlikely, the sequences feel much more creative this time. This is probably due to that this particular plot is no longer a heist; it's more of a rescue.

I believe I can fly.....
However that still does not go over easy when people go flying into things or roll around in cars and handle walking it off only with a few scratches. Some of these particular events are simply impossible for the human body to withstand at once or all in one day. Sometimes it feels almost like a superhero movie because of how invulnerable some of these characters are portrayed. Again though, it’s only for certain scenes. Stephen F. Windon again gives his audience the usual airy and spacious cinematography that almost every other entry in the franchise has received. Lots of road and aerial views for audiences to see how big of an issue these chase scenes get. The music is a puzzling choice however. Instead of Brian Tyler scoring the film, this time composer Lucas Vidal is doing the job. This is Vidal's only mainstream film score and to be honest it sounds a lot like Tyler's anonymous music. I guess Tyler was over scheduled for other films this time. Nothing sounds that much different though; it does sound good but not memorable in any way. It's just there like all the other scores to this franchise. All in all though it is still one of the better films.

Justin Lin's latest entry contains lots of the same generic music and over-the-top action that feels physically flawed, yet it entertains better with Luke Evans' imposing presence and a story that is more about unity than it is about who has the faster car. Also after watching this, the confusing timeline will finally come into place.

Points Earned --> 7:10

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