Being based in New Zealand poses some difficulties – driving is done on the wrong side, outsiders think we all resemble Hobbits and movie releases can be a bit behind the rest of the world. So watching the latest Fast & Furious had to be done upside-down and a few days after the American premier. Not to worry, technological advancements in fibre optic Pigeons can now allow me to relay a perspective from down under.
Now, when it comes to movies, I must confess to having simple flavors – Action, Comedy and Anne Hathaway. So naturally, when I caught wind of the latest installment of the Fast & Furious I knew the action box was ‘pre-ticked’ for one’s cinematic enjoyment.
Yet movies are more than just one blockbuster element – it’s the sum of parts determining whether it works as an whole. Some of the previous chapters in this high-speed, adrenalin-packed movie franchise suffered from the singular focused theme. But who am I to judge – it’s what pulls in the punters.
Number Six brings a more holistic balance between the ‘core’ street racing, fight scenes, plot twists and ridiculous action stunts. However, this extra well-roundedness and emphasis on the villains made the film gallop along slower than expected. Fortunately, the well executed camera shots, dust ups and car chases made up for the sometimes geriatric film pace.
Ultimately, my prime interest in the movie were the actual cars and how they were used. Being set in Europe I was hoping for a smorgasbord of automotive delights, which we got – well, partially. I loved the use of the bespoke Jenson Interceptor, Ford Escort RS2000 and the relentless destruction of police-specced, god-awful Vauxhall Vectra’s and Astra’s. Yet aside from an Alfa Romeo Giulietta, a few BMW M5’s and a small variety of exotic hyper-cars, the movie didn’t quite embrace its locational settings. Where was the Dacia Sandero and Fiat Multipla???
Chase scenes were enjoyable, if slightly predictable, with a good balance between vehicle dynamics and character interaction. The villains’ use of a Tank down a busy coastal-set motorway was great viewing for those fond of demolition derbies. However, the following stunt where Dominic jumps off his crashing car, flying airborne over the center divider to catch his amnesic Letty (who is doing the same thing off the Tank traveling in opposite direction) would have to one of the more cringe-worthy stunts seen in a long time.
In all, Fast & Furious Six was well worth the watch. Sure, it had some shortcomings (slightly dubious vehicle selection, drawn out fight scenes and far-fetched stunts aside), yet manages the ‘edge-of-your-seat’ action wrapped into a more engaging package.
No doubt those who have seen it will know a 7th chapter is in the works – Jason Statham’s appearance at the end confirms happy-endings are not in order for Toretto. In which poses a question: Will the Transporter complicate things using an Audi S8? Who knows, although you can bet Fast & Furious Seven will be worth the wait.
By Josh Byrnes
Photo Credits: Fast&Furious 6