Who would have thought that the sixth installment of an action franchise like Fast and Furious would race to the top spot of the U.S. box office on Memorial Weekend earning an impressive $98 million from Friday to Sunday, beating the Hangover III ($42 million) and Star Trek Into Darkness ($38 million)? What’s even more surprising is that the series had endured for 12 years and there’s no end in sight as the seventh FF is in the works with filming to start this summer, with Universal having confirmed at Cinema Con that the movie will be released on July 11, 2014. The reason why we’re mentioning all this is to tell you that we went and saw Fast and Furious 6 (FF6) on Saturday. We are no movie critics and we don’t pretend to be, but since we did see it, we thought it would be a good idea to share our ramblings on FF6 and more importantly, ask all of you who watched the movie to do the same in the comments section. Before you do that, though, allow us to warn you that there are spoilers within. So, without any further ado, here are our thoughts:
John Halas: Too Slow, Too Furious and Easily Forgettable I’ll let you in a little secret of mine; for all the mediocre reviews, plot holes and general complaints that I have for the Fast and Furious franchise, I’ve actually seen all of them, be that at the cinema or at home, some even twice when they hit cable TV, and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Why? Well, I could tell you that films like F&F are directly related to my line of work, but truth is, for many reasons, I enjoy watching action and sci-fi movies, even more so if cars are included in the plot. Last night, despite being tempted to watch “Star Trek Into Darkness” and find some lame excuse to tell Andrew, Andrei and Dan after we all decided to go and see Dominic Toretto’s comeback, I did the right thing and handed over my $9 (plus $7.50 for man-sized popcorn) to the makers of the sixth installment of F&F. Now, you may have noticed that you’re well into the fourth paragraph of this opinion piece and I haven’t said a word yet on what I think about F&F. Well, that should actually tell you something about the movie, but if you insist, here goes: Fast & Furious has always been more about the iron and street racing than anything else, but we get very little of both in the sixth installment. Just think about it for a minute; would you ever watch any of the FF movie without the cool rides and the impressive race scenes? I thought so. In FF6, the only noteworthy models with some movie-time are the 1974 Ford Escort RS2000, 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and Jensen Interceptor, and they’re all taking second and third roles in a flick starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson – as if anyone prefers to watch Dwayne Johnson’s acting skills from the sounds of an Interceptor… But here’s my biggest gripe: the film was shot in Europe giving producers the opportunity to deviate from the usual Mitsubishi Lancer EVO and Dodge Charger formula of the previous flicks and entertain us with a fresh batch of Euro rides. That didn’t happen, unless you count the product placement of the Alfa Giulietta… Other than that, there’s no point in talking about the acting or the plot, but I will mention that the action scenes were well executed, even though I must admit to slapping my forehead more than a few times – the facepalm when Toretto jumps from a speeding car into the air to catch Letty still was epic and…it still hurts. If you ask me, the 1st, 4th and 5th installments of the movie were the best of the series and the only ones I’ve watched more than once. Who knows; perhaps they’ll get it right with the seventh FF that will see Jason Statham joining the cast as the bad guy and which will hit the big screen next summer.
Andrew Tsaousis: Lights, Camera, Action – but No Cars Disclaimer: I don’t purport to be a film critic any more than being an astronaut. This a highly objective FF6 review that contains no spoilers. OK, just one, in the end. You have been warned. Don’t be fooled by the title; like Fast Five, Fast and Furious 6 is most definitely not a car movie even if it does feature lots of cars; plus a tank, helicopters and a huge cargo plane. Unlike the first three movies in the franchise, cars seem to be thrown in the plot just to justify the “FF” title. A Hollywood blockbuster demands that you suspend all disbelief once you enter the movie theater. You know there’s gonna be no real plot or character depth to speak of, so you just grab your popcorn, seat comfortably and prepare to be entertained. FF 6 manages to entertain with its stunts. That said, the chases, crashes and general mayhem, which are the elements that actually make or break an action movie, lack originality. It’s as if they handpicked several scenes from James Bond, Mission Impossible, Die Hard and even Matrix Reloaded and threw them in the blender. P.S.: The opening scene is nicely shot but there’s no way a Dodge Challenger SRT-8 can keep up with t Nissan GT-R on twisty Spanish roads. OK, probably there is, provided I’m in the GT-R’s driving seat and someone of Fernando Alonso’s caliber is driving the Dodge.
Andrei Nedelea: Fast and Furious Six? More like Fast Five plus one if you ask me… So, I went to see the new Fast and Furious Six movie, which just came out in theaters across the world. It takes the familiar story of Dom, Brian and the crew further and has them driving fast cars of all sorts recklessly, doing millions of dollars-worth of property damage, using gadgets and guns in the pursuit of their goals. However, things get a bit more complicated with the sixth installment, as Dom finds out that his beloved Letty has amnesia and is working for the movie villain, the despicable Shaw. It’s a nice little plot twist for the series, but it could have been executed much better and in a much more subtle fashion – one gets the impression that those who made the move don’t really want to challenge the viewer’s mind in any way. Sitting in the theater, the introductory montage for the film features various important scenes and characters from the previous iterations of the series, as if trying to forcefully link this latest movie to those earlier ones. Still, it’s at least good that they got the complete cast of characters, and weren’t forced to make up some preposterous excuse to make some of them disappear. The idea is that if you’ve seen Fast Five, and liked it, then this will be right up your alley, with spectacular stunts, a tank and a huge plane crash at the end. One thing I didn’t like, aside from all the action movie clichés it inevitably suffers from (innovation in the genre seems very hard to come by), is the fact that not enough emphasis is placed on the cars, which is a shame because their pick was an excellent one (1970s Ford Escort rally car and Jensen Interceptor really stood out for me). Strangely, during the few instances the characters do take the time to talk about cars, it feels like a bit of an afterthought, and does not feel cohesively done. A real shame! Now, they have announced that work is already underway on the seventh movie, and not only that, but they’re going to feature a very special new bad guy, played by your favorite Audi-driving Transporter actor, Jason Statham. However, I personally hope that they take a really good look at what makes a car movie great (perhaps look at some older pictures), and shift more towards that. If you may not have noticed, all of the above hints at the fact that Fast and Furious Six is just another sequel/action movie which tries to impress with lots of stuff we’ve seen before countless times. Most of it is fighting and explosions, and not exciting car chases. I’m sorry Furious Six, and while you may be better than Fast Five in many ways, you’re nowhere near as good as Fast and Furious, the original – a movie which would have been better off without any sequels, perhaps? Even the destruction of many Vauxhall Vectras and Astras in the making of fails to make me appreciate it more. Overall, while I’m the furthest thing away from a movie critic, I have seen a few relevant titles before, and this is not one of the best, regardless of which genre you try and fit it into. Will rate it 6 out of 10 overall. Plus points: – Good choice of cars; – Interesting plot twist (though not fully-flushed out); – More engaging and entertaining than Fast Five. Bad points: – Too long, with too much filler (pointless hand-to-hand fight scenes); – Too many action movie clichés; – Far too little emphasis on the cars.
Dan Mihalascu: Not my cup of tea, but see it if you love fast cars, beautiful ladies and… fighting (lots of it) I’ll say it straight from the beginning that Fast & Furious 6 is the first film from the franchise that I have ever seen. Thanks for asking, but no, I haven’t been on the Moon for the past 13 years – it’s just that I never felt the impulse to go see any of the previous five installments. So why did I go now to the theater for Fast & Furious 6? Well, I decided it was time to see for myself what the fuss was all about. So let me begin with the cars, as they were the main reason I bought the ticket. As far as the car chases are concerned, you can tell a lot of effort (and money) were put into it. Considering that more than 300 cars and 2 tanks were used (most of them destroyed) during filming, I’ll have to say the chase scenes looked pretty realistic and the way they were filmed was impressive. My favorite car from the entire movie has to be Letty’s customized Jensen Interceptor – such a badass ride that fits the character perfectly and it looks to be made for London’s streets. Moreover, the movie’s main villain named Shaw, drives at some point a post-apocalyptic-style single seater model, similar to what a Formula 1 car would look like in Mad Max. As for the rest of the cars, I can’t say that I’m very impressed; sure, there’s the usual mix of Nissan GT-Rs and Dodge Chargers, but I would have liked to see even more exotic machinery at work. I won’t talk about the storyline too much because I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen the movie yet. Although, let’s face it; in a movie where crazy car chases and ridiculously long fights are the norm, the plot doesn’t matter much. Be prepared to see many clichés, though. While the stunts are spectacular, some are too far-fetched, like the one when Dom crashes his car so that he’s catapulted in the air to catch a “flying” Letty, with both of them landing safely on a car. It was a hilarious moment, and the entire theater (a figure of speech, as less than half of the seats were occupied) burst into laughter although the director’s intention was not that. Also, in the final scene, where the bad guys are trying to escape by driving their cars onto a cargo plane that’s about to take off, the runway would have had to be at least 100 miles long to make the scene realistic. But if you’re going to this movie seeking entertainment and only entertainment, you will not be disappointed. There’s so much crashing and fighting involved that those looking for action won’t have time to be bored. As for me, I can’t wait for the premiere of the “Rush” movie. Being a fan of racing movies like Steve McQueen’s “Le Mans” and John Frankenheimer’ “Grand Prix”, I want to see if their modern-day equivalent will rise up to expectations.