‘Fast & Furious 6’ Review

fast_and_furious_six_ver3

Dir: Justin Lin

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Ludacris, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky and Gina Carano

Synopsis: Hobbs has Dom and Brian reassemble their crew in order to take down a mastermind who commands an organization of mercenary drivers across 12 countries. Payment? Full pardons for them all.

 

 

*Review Note: This is a non-spoiler review as always. If you want to comment feel free but please don’t spoil anything in the comment section.*

 

The tag line “All roads lead to this” was truly a great tag line for Fast & Furious 6. Faced with the task of trying to top Fast Five (which is easier said than done), Furious 6 (as the movie is titled in the opening credits) offers a more international feel and some mind-boggling car stunts even as its story strives to bring the characters full circle while also setting up future installments (which is currently being worked on). But does it actually do that? Yes, yes it does.

Furious 6 finds our favorite street racers and thieves (Diesel, Walker, Tyrese, Ludacris, Sung Kang, and Gal Gadot) having to team up with the man that tried to bring them down before Hobbs (Johnson). Hobbs brings them in to track down an even worse criminal: former British Special Forces soldier Owen Shaw (Evans), who is pulling off a series of auto-centric crimes that are more dangerous and thought-out than our good guys.

Hobbs mentally is like the old saying “it takes a thief to catch a thief.” But the only reason Hobbs has any leverage is the return of the presumably dead Letty (Rodriguez) and the fact that she is for whatever reason working for Shaw. The team agrees to work with Hobbs and his new partner Riley (Gina Carano) only if they get full pardons so they can return home to the U.S). Fast paced actions then ensues.

While many think the Fast and the Furious franchise is all about ridiculous car chases, stunts, and cheesy one-liners (although it sometimes is) one of the prime focuses is the family aspect, which will get to in a minute. However, Fast & Furious 6 primary focus is on the past and bringing the characters’ stories full circle. Letty’s not the only blast from the past here (I won’t say who else returns), but these callbacks should definitely please those who’ve been fans of the series since the beginning. That’s not to say Furious 6 doesn’t also have the future on its mind. Some characters’ arcs reach their conclusion, while big seeds are also planted for what might come next for the rest.

Of course the highlight of the franchise is the car scenes. Fast Five really made it hard for the filmmakers to make whatever set-pieces they had in this movie a bit tough to surpass. However they did succeed with some of the big chases like the tank sequence and the takedown of the plane. Even the first chase that introduces a new car that Shaw drives and we briefly see in the trailer is pretty damn impressive. Although I wouldn’t put it pass anybody that thinks the car chases get a little redundant. One sequence in particular is like that. There is of course humor in the movie which is always nice although some of the jokes fall a bit flat.

As for the cast, they all do a great job although after playing the characters for so long you would think they would. Diesel and Walker being the faces of the franchise still have the strong chemistry they had in the first movie. Although you really can say this movie is all about Diesel’s Dom and him trying to bring back Letty. Speaking of Letty, Rodriguez is nice to have back and is still tougher than she was before they “killed” her. Ludacris, Tyrese, Sung Kang and Gal Gadot all have their moments to shine and Jordana Brewster again doesn’t really have much to do, although this time it’s for a descent reason. Johnson of course shows off more of his muscles and with a future spin-off in the works I’m glad there stretching out his character more.

As for Luke Evans as Shaw, he is really a threat the team has never faced before. He’s not afraid for putting people at risk to get what he wants and isn’t afraid to expose somebody’s weakness so he can get ahead. Finally, director Justin Lin. Lin has already said he’s leaving the franchise due to being a bit burnt out and a fast production date for part seven. Lin has done an amazing job in the movie and has made us care about this characters. He made the family dynamic as important as the crazy car chases and has fleshed out this characters that may have been just one dimensional if another director was bought in.

All in all, who knew the Fast and the Furious franchise would have six movies under its belt and have been getting better as they continued. Does the movie have some over the top moments? Yes, a car comes out of a plane damn it! But, lets be realistic here, it’s an action movie. Would you really want it any other way?

Lastly, stay a little while after the first part of the credits. It’s a nice little surprise and totally worth it.

Fast & Furious 6

5 out of 5

Bullet to the Head

Dir: Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hours, Last Man Standing, Undisputed)

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Jason Momoa, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Synopsis: After watching their respective partners die, a New Orleans hitman and a Washington D.C. detective form an alliance in order to bring down their common enemy

 

Bullet to the Head tries to be multiple things at once. It has some elements of a buddy crime movie, a revenge movie and a graphic novel adaptation. Why a buddy crime movie? Well Hill is arguably one of the directors responsible for making that genre popular with 48 Hrs. This time we have the pair of the Sly Stallone and Sung Kang (from the last Fast & Furious movies).

The graphic novel it’s based on is a French graphic novel by Matz, of the same name that has the same story. A cop is forced to partner with a criminal in order to take down a crime syndicate.

Stallone stars as Jimmy Bobo, an tough as nails New Orleans-based hitman. Bobo doesn’t have any faith in cops (even hates them), and so he does his own form of justice: a bullet to the head. So why does he team up with detective Taylor Kwon (Kang)? Because the two want the justice but of course they want to do it their own way.

The movie starts out with Bobo and his partner Louis (Jon Seda) performing a hit but during it Jimmy lets a witness to the murder live, for a reason I won’t spoil in the review. From that moment on events begin to spiral out of control, and Jimmy realizes he’s being set up. The only person who can help him is a reluctant Kwon. Why is Kwon that way? Kwon has his own reasons for being in New Orleans and can be classified as “by the book” but he also doesn’t agree with Jimmy’s form of justice.

Unlike Arnold with The Last Stand, Sly doesn’t really have any rust when it comes to acting. He’s obviously stayed around after Arnold left but this is from what I can remember his first movie without any heavy hitters like his Expendables cast. However, this doesn’t mean Sly is giving award winning performances but sometimes that doesn’t matter. Sly is pretty intimidating with his physique despite being 66 years old and it’s in full effect when he shows up shirtless at a bath house. But what Sly lacks in acting (sounds means but I don’t mean it in that way) he makes up with humor. There is some back and forth between Jimmy and Kwon although not all of it works.

Kang does pretty good with Kwon and if it were anybody else it would probably been a one-dimensional characters. Shahi who plays Sly’s daughters does okay with her role too but really has nothing to do other than tell Kwon that her fathers isn’t really a bad guy. The criminals are an odd group. Christian Slater has a cameo as a financier who holds vital information but he’s meh. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is the criminal kingpin Morel who has the chance to say some pretty cheesy lines.

Then there his henchman Keegan played Jason Momoa who is the real villain in the movie. His attitude is to fight now and think later. Momoa, despite his appearance in the Conan The Barbarian remake and Game of Thrones, still lacks a bit of the charisma of action stars, such as Arnold, Sly, and Bruce Willis. But, he still holds his own but with the other villains still isn’t enough. He does have his moments when he goes into a bar and takes out a bunch of guys by himself and then fighting Sly with axes.

All in all, Bullet to the Head has some cheesy moments and although it isn’t perfect it does have it’s moments of good action.

Bullet to the Head

3.5 out of 5

bullet_to_the_head_ver3