Fast & Furious 6

Fast & Furious 6

***

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The latest vehicle in the Fast & Furious franchise is powered by (Vin) Diesel and the engine of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, with additional turbo thrust from Michelle Rodriguez and Paul Walker, and this souped up little number comes with plenty of cliche under the bonnet.

Although the film picks up stories from previous instalments, which will no doubt please fans, newcomers to the series - of which, I am one - are soon brought up to speed. Character set-up is performed in 60 seconds or less, a scripting choice that is maintained throughout the movie. The main protagonists swap just enough banality to move them on to the next set piece, including gems such as, "I got you five minutes with this guy."/"I only need two." and "Everything changes... our old life is done."

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This last, of course, is a lie. Dominic Toretto (Diesel), Brian O'Connor (Walker) and their crew - covering all cinema target audiences - think they've hung up their car keys for good in favour of the easy life in a country with no extradition policy with the US. That is until US agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) turns up on their doorstep with photos of Dom's old love Letty (Rodriguez) - whom he buried in the fourth instalment - apparently very much alive and well. She's become the sidekick of techno wizard bad guy Owen Shaw (Luke Evans, who doesn't get enough screen time to really cement his Evil status) for reasons that I shan't reveal here.

The deal is, stop Shaw getting his hands on a Nightshade Device - a Bad Thing that would threaten the military - while at the same time as bringing Letty back into the bosom of 'the family' and securing pardons for all. The saving grace of the scripting silliness is a good dollop of humour proving that writer Chris Morgan is fully aware of its daftness. For example, when the crew consider Shaw's henchfolk, one remarks: "It's like we're hunting our evil twins."

These intermittent bits of standing about, in which Justin Lin largely flips from head shot to head shot, are really just basic boilerplate to connect the action machinery - and suffice to say that punters coming to see this film are unlikely to be looking for nuanced character development. What they want is full throttle action and, in that regard the film pretty much delivers. Lin starts as he means to go on with a mountain car chase that helps spike the adrenaline. Out of the cars, when punch ups occur, they're of the bruising, old school sort, even if no one appears to sustain any lasting damage. There's even an obligatory, I'll remove the bullet from my shoulder myself moment from Diesel, who clearly doesn't fancy his chances down at the local NHS A&E.

The girls get as much - if not more - action than the guys and they wear a surprising amount of clothing to do it, given the form of this sort of film. That said, a scene depicting a London street race, featuring scantily clad laydeez, is particularly silly when you consider they'd catch their death on an average night out in The Smoke dressed like that. The car chase eye candy, skilfully captured by Stephen F Windon and a host of second unit others, includes everything from tricked-up motors to a pleasingly imaginative smash-and-grab tank sequence on a vertiginous bridge and some excellent stunts involving a cargo plane. Glasgow-based fans might also want to look out for several key moments shot on the city's Broomielaw and Clyde Waterfront. Needless to say, the franchise shows no sign of running out of road with the set-up for the next instalment playing over the credits.

Reviewed on: 15 May 2013
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The team get back together to thwart a villain after they discover Letty is alive.
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Director: Justin Lin

Writer: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson

Starring: Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Luke Evans, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Elsa Pataky, Jordana Brewster, Gina Carano, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang, Lee Asquith-Coe, Tyrese Gibson, Shea Whigham, Ludacris

Year: 2013

Runtime: 130 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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