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Fast & Furious 6
Genre Action
 
Review:

Fast cars, leggy women, big guns, money and loads of piston-pumping action is the stuff of the Fast & Furious. Six movies in and it's like they're just starting their engines as the flags go down and the winner takes all. Although to be fair, the road has had some twists, veering into new territory with Tyrese Gibson in 2 Fast 2 Furious and then reinventing the series altogether with the third one, Tokyo Drift.

The Fast & Furious franchise has come a long way - peaking with their hybrid of Ocean's Eleven, The Italian Job and Elite Squad in Fast Five. Throwing Rio de Janeiro culture and Dwayne Johnson into the mix certainly added to the weight, machismo and chemistry of the team, piling on plenty of pressure for the London-based follow-up, Fast & Furious 6.

The burgeoning Fast & Furious family continues to expand. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson reprise their long-running co-lead characters, while it's a welcome return for Fast Five heroes: Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, Jordana Brewster and a long lost Michelle Rodriguez. Each actor brings their particular set of skills to the team with great tension between Diesel and Johnson for star and team leader. The new recruits include MMA and Haywire star, Gina Carano, as a second-in-comand for Hobbs and a slick British villain in Luke Evans.

The sixth film is set in London and takes some cues from Sherlock, a new contemporary TV series, which inspired at least two scenes involving observation and sniper rifles. Justin Lin has directed the majority of Fast & Furious films, including Fast Five, and has a good handle on what works. This sequel focuses on three major action set pieces with plotting, posing and humour filling in the gaps.

The team are doing "one last mission" for Hobbs to take down a high-powered criminal in exchange for a full pardon. What results is a Fast & Furious versus Fast & Furious showdown, as the "Ocean's Eleven" crew are pitted against an equal-opposite British team, who are arguably stronger, better equipped and more street savvy. The high octane action continues, knocking things up a notch with some Burnout style takedowns and high tensile cable mayhem.

Fast & Furious 6 has a spill of new characters and egos to worry about, giving ample time for each player to show their stuff with prevalence towards an amnesia plot involving Diesel and Rodriguez. The film see-saws between the teams as they try to stay one step ahead of their competition without falling prey to the police or bad intel with Rodriguez and freedom as main prize.

It's spectacular, bringing the same level of stunt work and special effects as Fast Five, within the confines of a bustling London. The effects team have used tensile steel cables to elevate action pay offs - connecting vehicles for more death-defying moments. Unfortunately, Lin's imagination is unhinged and the third act goes from unbelievable to virtually impossible.

The film must have been partly inspired by the success of The Avengers, which was a compilation of three climax-worthy action set pieces. In doing so, they've given the characters special attributes that make Dwayne Johnson's other film, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, look like a documentary. Yet, these two films are bound by more than a central star. They both share similar popcorn aspirations, leveraging the success of Fast Five or "The Brazilian Job" and pushing the audience to the limit of possibility.

The quick pacing, solid action cast, slick visuals, funny chirps and video game plot make for easy-viewing. However, the final climax just seems unnecessary, over-the-top and unintentionally funny, turning what started as another solid sequel into a ridiculous thrill ride in the realm of superheroes. It's not terrible, it just becomes terribly funny as one miraculous stunt dwarfs another.

The bottom line: Entertaining

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