Judge David Johnson is slow, but he's furious!
Way faster. Way furiouser.
I'm just going to go ahead and commandeer this spot for a brief hat-tip to Paul Walker. I've always liked the guy. What he may have lacked in acting chops and technique, he made up for in earnestness. In his films, he always struck me as genuine and as obituaries spill out following his death, he apparently lived his off-screen life in similar fashion. His finest film and finest performance is hands-down Running Scared (2006), a film I am convinced will go down as one of the cult classic all-timers. But he made his name in the Fast and Furious movies, so it's suitable for this, the best of the bunch, to offer the lingering memory of seemingly an all-around cool guy. R.I.P.
Facts of the Case
When we last left our group of antiheroes in Fast Five, Rio was a flaming ruin and The Rock was pissed. Fast-forward, and Dom (Vin Diesel, Pitch Black) and Brian (Walker, Into the Blue) are living it up in a non-extradition country. But when Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) shows up with a picture of the previously-thought-deceased Letty (Michelle Rodriguez, Avatar) and the promise to clear their names and take down an international terrorist, they can't resist jumping into their racing harnesses again.
Foreseeing what is sure to be an awesome time jumping off of cars and battling tanks on the freeway, the gang transforms itself from a group of car thieves into a petrol-crazy superhero team. And the world is better for it.
Great flick! I emphasize the word "flick," and all the connotations that come along with that term: breezy, macho, explosive, cool. Fast & Furious 6 has been engineered to blast you, the viewer, with as much high-octane, ridiculous action as can be conjured. In a summer full of big-ass popcorn blockbusters, I found Fast 6 to be the popcorniest and bockbusteriest of them all.
I'm saying this with no hint of smarminess either. When a franchise goes six movies deep, particularly an action franchise, the law of diminishing returns would kick in big-time. The Fast folks have managed to sidestep the vortex of mediocrity by continually re-inventing their franchise. Fast & Furious drifted more towards action and away from the Point Break knock-off stuff, Fast Five introduced Hobbs and went total heist movie and, now this, a full-scale blow 'em up that makes only a cursory node towards the series' street-racing roots.
Seriously, it's inspired to take this assemblage of antiheroes and turn them into actual heroes, like having them fight murderers and defend American freedom and stuff. In addition to make everyone totally root-worthy now, it cements Dwayne Johnson as member of the team and, if anyone fits into this universe, it's this guy. Adding Luke Evans as a slick villain drops in the final ingredient, leaving only the writers to come up some of the battiest action sequences you've ever seen.
Not hyperbole either. The hijinks they cook up are eye-popping and, thankfully, only get bigger and better. They work their ways up to the fireworks and they deliver. The one-two punch is a back-to-back pair of set-ups involving a tank and then a bonkers cargo plane chase. Nothing I can write here will do them justice, however; see this film on the biggest, loudest home theater rig, and bask in the lunacy of one the most surprisingly entertaining summer movies I've seen in a long time.
High performance Blu-ray all the way: a sharp, beautiful 2.35:1, 1080p transfer pumps out the visuals with the type of verve and, well, fury you would demand from an extravaganza like this; for audio, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio delivers, dropping motor noise, a hyper score and an enveloping effects experience. Good stuff in the extras as well: deleted scenes, on-set footage featuring Vin Diesel, a making-of documentary, Justin Lin's director's commentary, an in-movie experience featuring cast and crew and four featurettes on the fight scenes, the cars, the special flip car and the tank and plane chases.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Fast & Furious 6 (Blu-ray) includes the extended version. It runs 131 minutes. The theatrical version? Also runs 131 minutes. Uh huh.
How much of a win is Fast & Furious 6? It made me not detest every minute Michelle Rodriguez was on the screen.
Not Guilty. Vroooooom.
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