Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Furious 6" Is Just as Stupid, Insane, and Awesome as You Can Imagine

Directed by Justin Lin, written by Chris Morgan, starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Luke Evans, Gina Carrano, and Michelle Rodriguez - Rated PG-13

Ha stupid, but so great.
Having recently broken my “no comedy reviews” rule, I inevitably began to think about how pointless a lot of reviews are when it comes to summer movies and sequels.  I suppose it’s because I have to go from reviewing The Hangover Part III to Fast & Furious 6 (simply titled Furious 6 in the actual film).  How could reviews matter when it comes to two series that have gone on this long?  This could explain why I’m writing this review over a week after I watched this movie.  The Fast franchise is just as hard and pointless to review as comedies.  So I don’t think it was any loss that I didn’t get around to writing the review until now.  I’m just going to use this space to go into detail about why I love this movie for all its stupidity and awesomeness (and possibly get into whether or not embracing stupidity makes it okay).  If you still want some kind of normal review, here’s this: If you liked Fast 5, how could you not like Furious 6?
Now I’ll get into why I like this crap (and I’ll probably spoil some of the action scenes so if you haven’t seen the film yet, you might want to skip out on this review, but honestly, why are you reading a Furious 6 review a week and a half after it came out when you haven’t seen it yet?).  This franchise is so stupid I can’t help but love what it has become.  The sixth installment is similar to the fifth in that’s it’s Ocean’s 11 with less famous actors.  It makes little to no sense for these characters to come together a second time.  They are all millionaires now.  Paul Walker has an infant for crying out loud!  Why would everyone just drop everything and put their lives at risk? 
I know that Michelle Rodriguez is back (ugh) so that’s why Vin Diesel has to go.  And Paul Walker has to help family even if it means putting his own new family at severe risk.  (Bonus point to the writers for making Jordana Brewster the anti-Adrian to Walker’s Rocky by insisting that he leaves her and their child to go risk his life before Walker can even discuss it with her.)  But why do all the others drop what they’re doing for this?  Pardons?  They all seemed to be doing quite fine without them, but whatever. 
It’s actually great that there is little to no reluctance for the crew to get back together.  Who wants to spend a half hour watching all these characters we already know (or at least sort of remember) slowly get back together?  We all just want to see fast cars and ridiculous action, and Furious 6 does not disappoint.
Fast 5 had some idiotic and awesome action scenes, but somehow Furious 6 surpasses it, at least in idiocy.  Forget the tank and car driving through a plane that you saw in the previews; this film features Vin Diesel slingshotting himself from the hood of a speeding car to fly across the lanes of a suspension bridge to catch Michelle Rodriguez in mid-air after she had been tossed from a tank that had suddenly been anchored by a wrecked car that Walker had attached to it.  Diesel, of course, catches her and they fly to safety by slamming into the windshield of a stopped car.  That might be one of the dumbest bits of action that was meant to be taken at least a little seriously that I have ever seen.  I was laughing aloud during the whole sequence, but I cracked up the most when Rodriguez later says, “How did you know that car would be there to break our fall?”  Are you kidding me?  That was the crazy part, Michelle? 
As idiotic as that scene was, it was still pretty awesome.  And that sums up this film: Awesome stupidity.  This is a film that can’t allow simple conversation to happen without tossing in a gunshot or making the camera swing a 360 around the actors a la Tony Scott.  In other words, the filmmakers know what their audience wants to see. 
The Rock and Diesel were enemies last time, but now that they’re on the same side, we definitely needed to see them team up for a fight, right?  That part, along with the jokes about The Rock using baby oil, was great.  Most of the hand to hand fights in general were very good, most notably a lengthy fight between Rodriguez and Gina Carrano.  Of course, the cars take center stage at times.  This time around, the villains use these F1 cars that can flip regular cars around with ease.  Any scenes featuring these cars were pretty cool.  Oh, and The Rock just deciding out of nowhere to jump out of a moving vehicle (that he was driving) from a bridge to the top of a car below was hilarious…and awesome. 
Furious 6 is more than just stupidity and fun, though.  Director Justin Lin (who is unfortunately leaving the franchise) films action as good as anyone these days.  He doesn’t have a distinct style or anything, but you get to see how massive and amazing the action is.  Lin doesn’t indulge in slo-mo or add CG to every bit of action, and it is always very clear what is happening onscreen.  He leaves every dime on the screen and the film is better for it.  Lin’s direction is the opposite of what Walker’s character says during one of the film’s action scenes: “We do what we do best: improvise.”  I’ll allow that the decisions the characters make are not thought out at all, and they basically wing it throughout.  Improvisation in an action film is very complicated, though.  It’s one thing for a group of writers to sit around and say, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if…” and another to actually film those ideas.  Hats off to Lin for taking some crazy ideas and making them happen.
As condescending as I’ve been about Furious 6, it really was one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen this year.  It’s okay for an over-the-top action movie to be stupid throughout as long as it’s entertaining.  I had a good time watching this movie with my friends, and that’s all a film needs to do to be considered a success in my book.

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