Rajeev Masand, with a media career spanning 16 years, does film shows - Masand Ki Pasand (on Star News), Rajeev Masand Ki Pasand (currently on IBN7) and Now Showing on CNN-IBN. Twice adjudged Best "Entertainment Critic" by the National Television Awards (2008 & 2010), he is currently working on his first book.
Like a well-oiled engine, the Fast & Furious series can be counted on to deliver what it promises on the box: gleaming cars, thrilling chases, and buff stars who look like they’ve stepped out of the pages of a fitness magazine. The new installment, Fast & Furious Six is just as dumb as the previous films, and its action scenes so furiously edited that it’s hard to tell who’s doing what, and to whom. But, as we’ve come to learn, that’s the charm of these movies…the stunts are outrageous, and the plot basic enough for an eight-year-old to enjoy.
The new film opens with our heroes Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) enjoying their retirement, when federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) shows up to recruit them in a mission to capture professional hijacker Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). The incentive for Don is a possible reunion with his ex, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who was presumed dead at the end of the fourth film and who now may be working with Shaw.
Director Justin Lin packs the film with back-to-back chases and set-pieces, never giving you a moment to ponder over the fact that you have no idea till the end, exactly what our villain is after – some codes are mentioned, but never clearly explained. The action itself is outrageous, and whether we’re seeing real stunts or special effects, or a cocktail of both, it’s pretty entertaining stuff. Cars are flipped like pancakes every few seconds, an armored tank creates carnage on a bridge, and an airplane is demolished in the climax.
For those who enjoy their action a little more gritty, you’ll be happy to know Gina Carano (Mixed Martial Arts star, and leading lady of Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire) is cast as Hobbs’ sidekick, and she gets down and dirty in a thrilling girl-on-girl fistfight with Rodriguez in the London Underground.
Don’t expect any improvement in the dialogue – the actors still mouth lines that appear to have been stolen from bumper stickers – and the performances are basically a range of stock expressions: angry, very angry, mad as hell.
At 2 hours and 11 minutes, it’s a little too long, and even the most devoted action-movie fans will sense the exhaustion creeping in. But don’t leave until you’ve caught that post-credits cameo from a popular British star who sets up next year’s seventh installment.
I’m going with three out of five for Fast & Furious Six. It’s loud and noisy, and a lot of fun even if it doesn’t make much sense.