The Pitch: I didn’t think there was any way I could top the stupidity of my Fast & Furious 6 review. Well…
The Limerick Review (BOOM! In your face, stupidity):
There once was a man named Rob Cohen Who got this film / car series goin' He directed the first, With his camera immersed In car's exhausts, constantly flowin'. Next, sequels; but Diesel was missing, Then Walker too his role dismissing, As the quality waned We were less entertained And critics were ranting and hissing. But Justin Lin then had a great thought: The cast from the first film were all sought For more thieving car stunts, Once more with Vin's deep grunts For his girl died (or so he had thought). The fifth film showed yet more evolving, The casting door still was revolving, With the stars back en bloc They then added The Rock, So cheesy but oddly involving. The sixth sorted out continuity, But its plotting was lacking acuity. Yet the post-credits scene Kept the audience keen: Add The Stath? Oh what great ingenuity! Wait! The promise of bald Jason's madness Was tempered with deep real-life sadness For Walker died too young; His virtues were then sung. The films had no choice but to digress. The Paul Walker issue's a distraction For he'd only filmed half his action. His brothers helped out And CG's pixel clout Gave once again narrative traction. A year late comes this sixth film sequel, The Stath now arriving to wreak hell Avenging Luke Evans (Near sent to the heavens); Can only be tracked by Kurt Russell. (The adding of Kurt ain't for nuthin': The man behind this film's MacGuffin. By hiring Snake Plissken There's less of a risk in Him fading away to a has-been.) Our gang tours the world with Stath chasing, With barely a mention of racing But cars are the main tools With which they make big fools Of logic, and physics debasing. The main draw's the film's whack set-pieces Whose grasp on the real world decreases With cars in the sky In the blink of an eye; Admit it, the script's mostly faeces. You may think it of me quite petty To complain of amnesiac Letty; There's now so much plot In these films, I forgot! The story's more strands than spaghetti. The emotional core's based on family; A shame that side's handled so hammily. Yet wide demographics Like flashy car graphics - Thank casting spread wide geographically. There's so many stars, some neglected: The Rock's presence barely detected. We lost Han Seoul-Oh And Gisele (Gal Gadot)... Wait, that t's pronounced. (Rhyme rejected.) Not even two deaths have helped thin out The bloated cast list; yet they win out. They might just enchant ya With their cheeky banter And car stunts which might get your grin out. This time Lin has gone, Wan's arriving, Saw's James this time wrangling the driving. This director-for-hire Doesn't raise standards higher His style from the genre deriving. His one fetish greater than fast cars Is his lens outlining each girl's arse As each one that's hot Wanders into his shot Their bottoms are making them film stars. Overall, Fast 7's not realistic Its scenery's quite chauvinistic But if you like a laugh You could do worse by half Than the year's big box office statistic.
Why see it at the cinema:
If you like fast cars and loose women, Then don't hesitate, drop your linen, Get straight down to the flicks For big stunts and hot chicks. (If you miss it you'll be forgiven.)
What about the rating?
The BBFC gave a 12A You'll find out at this link what they say. They gave it for swearing And violence; They're caring About all film viewers. (Not child's play.)
My cinema experience:
A Stevenage Cineworld threesome, (For which I will not give a reason) I also saw two more. The others that I saw Weren't bad either, despite no Liam Neeson.
They did have Russ Crowe and Ben Stiller, With this film to their sandwich: filler. The Water Diviner Was slightly less finer And While We're Young wasn't a killer.
The Score: 7/10
The Pitch: Zapp! Boom! Biff! Kapow! Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! (Unfortunately I used up the “between The Rock and some hard cases” gag on my Fast Five review.)
The Review: The Mona Lisa. Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. The Taj Mahal. Humanity has shown itself capable of producing works of staggering beauty and stunning craftsmanship, enduring for the ages and influencing generations upon generations that followed. When mankind looks back at the first half of the 21st century, surely its gaze will be irresistibly drawn to understanding the significant artistic achievements of the era. Who knows if that retrospective will take in the Fast / Furious Franchise, but in terms of achievement its magnitude isn’t to be underestimated. Quite how anyone could have conjured so much from so little verges almost on medieval alchemy, and a film series that put the drift in Tokyo Drift has succeeded in steering an increasingly unstoppable course over the last three films. Action movies of earlier generations were often content to be stand alone entities, or to meander into a series of increasingly unsatisfying sequels, but many have argued that the enjoyment of the series is actually increasing with old age, and I would be among them. But as we reach a sixth entry, can this sequence of movies based around fast cars and furious men (and occasionally women) keep up the momentum? Is it truly still fast and furious?
It’s cnertainly fast. so fast that, to keep up with it, I don’t even have time to correct my spelling mistakes in this paragraph. thank goodness I’m a reasonable typist. The opening gredits serve a s a reminder to anyone who may have missed the eralier entries with thier unusual choronology (1-2-4-5-6-3 is the timeline at present) and also to see how much babyfaced Paul Walker has actually aged over the past ten years. Where he and Vin Diesel started out as mortal nenemies with a synmpathetic love of drag racing, they are now bosom boddies with families in tow, ready to settle down and mature gracefully. That’s until Fwayne “The Rock” Johnson appears, having no trouble finding $100 millon thieves – as Vin says, they weren’t really hiding anyway – and coerces them into helping hinm capture evil car mastermind Shaw (*luke Evans) whocan apparantely only be brought down by stopping him with equal amounts of vehicular mahyem but in an opposite direction. the coersion is applied byt the temptation of Letty (Michelle Rodrigues), Toretto’s former squeeze previously thoguht dead byt now in cahoots with Shaw. Toretto and O’Connor put as much of hte gang as they can find in a montage back together and set out to help the Rock and his feisty sidekick Gina Carano (off of Haywire) before they destroy any more of central London’s fine pavements or, even worse, capture the mysterious macguffin they’re after.
It’s also furious, which I will now also literally and somewhat pointlessly express through the medium of words. THERE’S LOTS OF MEN WHO APPEAR TO HAVE ARMS BIGGER THAN THEIR HEADS DESPITE NEVER SETTING FOOT IN A GYM WHO DRIVE CARS IN INCREDIBLY PRECISE WAYS THAT DEFY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS AND WHO HAVE SEEMINGLY UNLIMITED RESOURCES THAT SEEM UNLIKELY EVEN FOR A GROUP OF PEOPLE WORTH MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OR WHO WORK IN LAW ENFORCEMENT. THEY SPEND HUGE AMOUNTS OF TIME POSTURING OR DRIVING FAST CARS AND PASSING UP OPPORTUNITIES TO RESOLVE THE PLOT WITH A LOT LESS EFFORT, BEFORE HAVING FIST FIGHTS ON THE TUBE WHICH THE POLICE STAND AND WATCH OR DRAG RACES AROUND PICADILLY CIRCUS! THIS IS ALL BEFORE THE INSANE, BRIDGE-BASED TANK CHASE WHERE PEOPLE FLY THROUGH THE AIR OR THE FINALE ON A CARGO PLANE ON SEEMINGLY THE WORLD’S LONGEST RUNWAY WHERE THE ROCK DOES FLYING HEADBUTTS!! PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING ENDS UP IN THE AIR AT SOME POINT, WHICH FOR A MOVIE ABOUT CARS IS PRETTY DUMB AS AREN’T THEY SUPPOSED TO STAY ON THE GROUND?!?!
I’ll be honest, this is about the stupidest review I’ve ever written, but I’m hoping that it will get by on general goodwill and no small amount of chutzpah on my part. It’s fair to say that Fast & Furious 6 (which might just be called Furious 6 but hopefully you’ll be having too much fun to care) is aiming to get by on exactly that strategy. It’s not quite as fun as Fast 5 but it holds up just about better than anything else in the series. I recently criticised Star Trek Into Darkness for being five different kinds of stupid (spoilers here); Furious 6 is around 400 different kinds of stupid but it not only knows that, it’s actively seeking them out and there’s only one or two that let it down, mainly when the characters fail to question the most obvious plot twists staring them in the face. Far from running out of nitrous, a little sag around the start of the second act aside this entry still has plenty of momentum, with a host of established elements that work well and strengths that are consistently played to, a continued willingness to freshen things up (and hints that a large scale cull might be on the cards in the next, James Wan-helmed instalment) and a mid-credits scene that had people literally squealing with delight, and this could just be the guiltiest pleasure of the summer, with the emphasis on pleasure. Lovers of fine art need not apply.
Why see it at the cinema: The action lives up to both words in the title, and seeing this with any audience who are fans of this kind of malarkey will certainly enhance the experience.
Should I stay for the credits: There’s a mid-credits scene, setting up Fastly Furious 7 (or something), which is so ridiculously over the top the person behind me actually exclaimed “No… way!” You’ll be back.
What about the rating: Rated 12A for frequent moderate violence and one use of strong language. Additionally, the film carries a disclaimer at the end, as did previous entries, not to try these stunts at home. I would suggest that, if you have your own tank at home, that warning applies even more so to you.
My cinema experience: Saw this at an early evening showing at Cineworld Bury St. Edmunds, which despite being on a school night was packed out. The only problem I encountered, rather than any projection or sound issues or the length of the trailers, was that my late arrival after a long day at work left me sat in the second row from the front. I could practically make out every vein on The Rock’s forehead. (I initially took a seat on the far left of the main block, but a preference for vertical neck ache over sideways neck ache caused me to move. I’d just like to reassure the lady who I originally sat next to that, despite her concerns, she doesn’t smell and it was nothing to do with her.)
The Score: 7/10
The Review: Can it really be ten years since Rob Cohen gave us The Fast And The Furious? It seems so long ago now that it’s difficult to remember what it was all about all those years ago, and as the series has gone on it’s become more and more removed from those humble beginnings. Sorry, did I say humble? I meant to say outlandish, garish and injected directly into your eyeballs. Very much style over substance, it did see Vin Diesel at the height of his early career (and, for that matter, Paul Walker, but since his career has consisted almost entirely of these movies, that’s maybe a little misleading), and they seemed to be heading the way of almost every other diminishing returns franchise. Then something strange happened: Justin Lin, director of the third movie in the series, also got the fourth and persuaded both Walker and Diesel to return for the first time together since the original, he widened the scope of the movie and took it away from street racing a little, and it romped to the biggest opening weekend in April in US box office history, and the biggest take of the franchise. So Fast Five does what every good big budget sequel does, and takes those successful elements and cranks them up a couple of notches.
This time, then, rather than just Walker and Diesel (and Jordana Brewster as Walker’s girlfriend and Diesel’s sister), pretty much everyone who’s had a speaking part and is still alive among the good guys is back. Indeed, death is not an obstacle, as one of the crew died in the third outing, Tokyo Drift, making this a sequel to the prequel to that film. Still paying attention? Well don’t worry, the movie opens directly where the fourth one finished, just in case you’ve forgotten (I had) and from there the pace doesn’t let up, at least for the first half an hour or so. Now on the same team again, Brian O’Connor and Dominic Toretto attempt to pull a job in Brazil, which goes wrong, so to get the bad guys and the cops off their backs they attempt one last job, which requires the intervention of the whole crew. But remember that job before the last job that went wrong? That’s attracted the attention of the Feds, and when they want someone caught (not that often, it would seem), there’s only one man they call for.
Special Agent Brian Hobbs. Better known to us, of course, as Dwayne Johnson, and even better known as The Rock. The testosterone is ramped up to hitherto unprecedented and frankly dangerous levels, and most of the middle of the movie consists of planning, scheming and a fair bit of posturing. The series has survived and thrived by evolving, so street racing is almost now an afterthought – you get one, and even that’s glossed over fairly quickly, and a second happens off-screen – and Fast Five comes over as the mutant love-child of Heat and Ocean’s Eleven, set in Rio. The cop / criminal face-off in which no-one gets arrested, the massively weighty cast, and even a high-powered shoot-out in the favelas all call to mind a dumbed-down version of Michael Mann’s finest, but the nature of the heist itself, some tricky reversals and the dialogue all give mind to a similarly low rent version of Steven Soderbergh’s movies.
Yes, the dialogue. Let’s test your level of potential interest for Fast Five. If quotes such as “This just went from Mission: Impossible to Mission: In-freakin’-sanity” or “Sexy legs, baby, what time do they open?”, at which point said sexy legs owner pulls a gun on their admirer, don’t put a giant smile on your face at the sheer dumb bravado of it all, then this is not the film for you. Similarly, if you’re not impressed by films that defy the laws of physics, ignore the fact that to pull this job, our heroes have a seemingly limitless supply of cash or that people swap sides almost at will, then this also isn’t the film for you. But if you’re looking for one of the most enjoyably simple, ridiculously hyped action movies of this or any other summer, then step right in. There’s a ten minute sequence around an hour and a half in where it all takes itself far too seriously, but other than that this will slap a big cheesy grin on your face and keep it there right through to the extended finale and a credits sequence that twists the franchise into the shape ready for its next inevitable outing. Fast Five features some of the most wanton destruction ever committed to celluloid, and if you’re looking for a way to disengage your brain ready for the summer season, then look no further.
Why see it at the cinema: The action scenes are what modern cinemas were made for, with director Lin making the finale look like Bad Boys 2 times The Blues Brothers in terms of carnage, and there’s plenty of sweeping vistas to make the most of the screen. It’s also the closest to a party atmosphere you’ll get in the cinema this early in the summer.
The Score: 7/10