Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Fast & Furious 6




Directed by Justin Lin and written by Chris Morgan, Fast & Furious 6 is the sixth film of the Fast & Furious franchise in which Dominic Toretto, Brian O’Conner, and the rest of the gang are asked by DSS agent Luke Hobbs to stop a mercenary organization that features Dominic’s lover Letty Ortiz who had been presumed dead. Set almost entirely in Europe, the film has many of the characters from the previous film come together to not only get back one of their own and regain their freedom but also stop a mercenary team who wants to cause trouble for their lives. With Vin Diesel and Paul Walker both reprising their respective roles in Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner while being joined by other franchise regulars in Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang, Elsa Pataky, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Luke Hobbs. The film also stars Gina Carano and Luke Evans as Owen Shaw. Fast & Furious 6 is a sensationally fun film from Justin Lin.

The film sort of picks up where the last film has ended where Dominic Toretto, Brian O’Conner, Dominic’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster), and Elena (Elsa Pataky) all live quietly in Spain just as Mia has given birth to Brian’s new son Jack. While the Torettos and many of their friends live rich and comfortable lives, they’re still wanted fugitives to the U.S. government until Luke Hobbs gives Dominic some startling news that his old flame Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) is actually alive as she is working for a mercenary racing team led by criminal mastermind Owen Shaw. Dominic decides to help Hobbs as he and Brian gather their team to help Hobbs and in return get a full pardon so they can return to the U.S. Yet, Dominic and the gang realize how much trouble Shaw and his team are with Letty also complicating matters prompting Dominic, Brian, and Hobbs to find answers.

Chris Morgan’s screenplay doesn’t just reinforce the theme of family as that is what Dominic, Brian, Mia, and Letty are along with Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), Han (Sung Kang), and Gisele (Gal Gadot). It’s a film that is about a family trying to get back one of their own once they realize that Letty is alive as she was presumed to be dead in the fourth film. For Brian, he feels guilty for putting Letty into that situation as he would seek answers to find out how she managed to stay alive while Dominic tries to reach out to her unaware that she has no memory of the life she had with Dominic. While the two and the rest of the gang were reluctant to work with Hobbs, they realize that Shaw is far more trouble as they help Hobbs nab him. Still, there is something about Shaw and his team that intrigues Dominic as there is a bit of mutual respect between the two as they both live by a code of honor.

Unfortunately, Shaw mocks Dominic’s idea of family as he tries to make his life and the life of his entire team troubling while being one step ahead of him as it prompts Dominic and the team to anticipate what Shaw will do. While Morgan’s script does balance the aspect of suspense and action into the story, there is also humor in the film as it relates to how each member of the team bring something to the table and how they get answers. Yet, it does play into a climax where the two teams collide as it isn’t just about survival but also about doing what is right.

Justin Lin’s direction is definitely stylish and slick where it does play into a lot of the conventions of mainstream action blockbusters. Yet, Lin does know how to balance action and suspense with some comedy while making sure that there is a story to tell and with characters that people care about. While there are a lot of moments where the camera is constantly moving as well as a wide second-unit shots of various locations such as Spain, Hong Kong, London, Costa Rica, and Los Angeles. Lin does manage to keep some things simple in terms of the compositions and scenes he creates where he injects a lot of light-hearted moments as well as scenes that reinforce the idea of family. The action sequences are definitely top-notch in not just some of the racing scenes where there’s cars driving through the traffic of London and Spain.

Since a lot of the racing scenes are fast, Lin knows how to establish exactly what is going on without getting too chaotic as well as play into the stakes of what is happening as it includes some very intense fight scenes. The fight scenes add to the action as it is very choreographed with such precision as it can be set in one location or something that involves a much more elaborate setting. It all plays to this sense of action and a gang trying to fight for what is right as well as proving that family is more important than a team who only works together for money. Overall, Lin crafts a very exhilarating yet thrilling film about a gang going against another racing gang to gain their freedom and bring back one of their own.

Cinematographer Stephen F. Windon does excellent work with the film‘s stylish and colorful cinematography with its emphasis on stylish lights for the scenes at night while keeping things simple yet broad for the daytime scenes. Editors Leigh Folsom-Boyd, Greg D’Auria, Christian Wagner, Kelly Matsumoto, and Dylan Highsmith do fantastic work with the editing where it does play into fast-cutting styles for much of the film‘s action sequences while slowing things down a bit for the non-action scenes. Production designer Jan Roelfs, with set decorator Richard Roberts and supervising art director James Hambidge, does brilliant work with the base where Hobbs and the team work at as well as Shaw‘s own home base where he plans his missions.

Costume designers Roberto Craciunica and Sanja Milkovic Hays do nice work with the costumes as it‘s mostly casual and to the point to play with the film‘s look. Visual effects supervisors Eric D. Christensen, Kelvin McIlwain, and Sean Stranks do terrific work with some of the minimal visual effects which is served as set dressing in order to keep the special effects be as realistic as it can be. Sound designers Peter Brown, Harry Cohen, Stephen P. Robinson, Peter Staubli, and Jay Wilkinson is superb for the sound layering of all of the noises that goes on as well as how the engines sound in those cars to showcase how much power they have. The film’s music by Lucas Vidal is wonderful for its mixture of orchestral bombast with some electronic music as the soundtrack features some score pieces from Brian Tyler from previous films as well as a mix of hip-hop and electronic music from Ludacris, deadmau5, Peaches, the Crystal Method, 2 Chainz & Wiz Khalifa, and T.I. with Lil’ Wayne.

The casting by Lucinda Syson is amazing as it features some notable appearances from Shea Whigham as O’Conner’s old FBI Stasiak, John Ortiz as the drug lord Braga that O’Conner confronts, and Elsa Pataky in a terrific performance as Elena Neves who understand what Dominic is going through as she stays behind with Mia in Spain. In the roles of Shaw’s team, there’s Clara Paget as the blonde driver Vegh, Kim Kold as the muscle Klaus, Benjamin Davies as the driver/fighter Adolfson, and Joe Taslim as the martial artist Jah who gives Han and Roman a very hard time in a memorable fight scene. Gina Carano is wonderful as Hobbs’ partner Riley as she is a badass who helps the team while going toe-to-toe against Letty in a very memorable fight scene. Luke Evans is fantastic as the main antagonist Owen Shaw as this mercenary who believes in a code that is about precision and getting the job done as he aims to make things hard for Dominic and his team.

Tyrese Gibson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges are superb in their respective roles as Roman and Tej with Gibson being the wise-cracking member of the gang and Bridges as the more technical-based gadgets man. Gal Gadot is excellent as Gisele as this woman who is good with weapons and cars while also using her sex appeal to get some answers. Sung Kang is brilliant as Han as the driver who knows how to get things done while being the chameleon who can blend in towards any situation. Jordana Brewster is very good as Mia Toretto who stays behind in Spain to take care of her newborn son while hoping that Brian and Dominic bring Letty home. Michelle Rodriguez is incredible as Letty Ortiz as Dominic’s former lover who has no memory of her old life as she becomes confused about what she’s doing for Shaw as well as what Dominic tries to tell her.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is marvelous as Luke Hobbs as a special agent who asks Dominic and Brian’s help to capture Shaw and his team while giving them something in return as Johnson brings some humor and some intensity as he proves to be a vital part of the film’s success. Paul Walker is great as Brian O’Conner as a former agent turned criminal who takes part in the job to find some answers as he takes some major risks for the team as Walker is the perfect straight man to his partner-in-crime in Vin Diesel. Vin Diesel is remarkable as Dominic Toretto as a man who learns that his lost live is alive as he tries to get her back while dealing with Shaw as he tries to regain his freedom and put together the family he had come to care for.

Fast & Furious 6 is a phenomenal film from Justin Lin that features top-notch performances from a great ensemble cast led by Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Not only is it an action blockbuster that has a lot of elements that gets audiences excited but it’s also a film with substance as it has a very engaging story and characters that audiences can root for. It’s also a film that allows the franchise to be taken seriously as it is a film that is a whole lot of fun but also has some brains. In the end, Fast & Furious 6 is an exciting and enthralling film from Justin Lin that kicks a lot of ass and more.

Fast & Furious Films: (The Fast & the Furious) - (2 Fast 2 Furious) - (The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift) - (Fast & Furious) - (Fast Five) - Furious 7

© thevoid99 2014

6 comments:

Wendell Ottley said...

Cool review. For me, this movie just good, dumb fun.

ruth said...

I gotta admit I was late in seeing all the F&F movies. I just wasn't interested but I ended up enjoying this one for what it is, a popcorn action flick! I agree the ensemble cast actually work well here and props for Justin Lin for making it so darn entertaining!

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell Ottley-I like the fact that this is a film that refuses to take itself seriously as well as just being fun and actually has some substance. I think I want to revisit the entire franchise next year in anticipation for the next film.

@ruth-I was very dismissive about the franchise until Fast Five which won me over and made me want to re-evaluate the entire series as this film was just as fun but also was very smart.

J.D. Lafrance said...

I have to admit that I never gave this franchise the time of day until this one as I was curious to see if HAYWIRE's Gina Carano was any good. Nice fight scene between her and Michelle Rodriguez that would have please Russ Meyer to no end, I'm sure.

Yeah, the script is beyond sub-moronic but let's face it, we're not watching this film for the dialogue, but to see stuff blow up which this film delivers then some.

thevoid99 said...

@J.D. Lafrance-There's a difference between what these films do and what Michael Bay does.

The people who do the Fast & Furious franchise don't take itself so seriously as they know what it wants to do but also has some substance since they give you characters to care about it while giving something for everyone in terms of fights and explosions. Especially in regards to women who are very strong characters. Michael Bay is just the exact opposite since he has no soul to begin with.

J.D. Lafrance said...

Agreed. The FAST & FURIOUS movies have no illusions as to what they aspire to do whereas Bay thinks he's all that. Good point about the women characters as well. Love Michelle Rodriguez. I may have to go back and see the others. I also am curious to see the next one as I heard Kurt Russel is in it and Jason Statham plays the baddie.