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Review: “Fast & Furious 6” impressive and gripping

Review: “Fast & Furious 6” impressive and gripping

From left, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Gal Gadot, Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster and Sung Kang star in “Fast & Furious 6.” Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Review: “Fast & Furious 6” impressive and gripping
May 23
11:32 2013

Preston Barta / Film Critic

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

While most franchises progressively run down to fumes with each sequel, “The Fast and Furious” franchise still has gas left in its tank. It has proven to be the rare exception where its later films breathe new life into the series. A franchise that began with a laser-beam focus on fast cars and hot babes took an unexpected turn as a bank heist thriller, in a commercially and critically successful move. “Fast & Furious 6” keeps all the ingredients that made each film an achievement and still covers new ground. It’s thoroughly entertaining every minute and may be the best entry yet.

Part six takes off where five left off. Since Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner’s (Walker) $100 million heist in Rio, the talented outfit has scattered across the globe rich and complete save for one fact: they can’t return home.

Meanwhile, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers, whose mastermind (Luke Evans) is aided by a fierce second-in-command revealed to be the love Torretto thought was dead, Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez).

The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs brings Torretto’s crew on board and gives them an offer that they cannot refuse.

The biggest reason why the franchise has turned upward is director Justin Lin, who has helmed the last four films. He is a skilled director that has come a long way since “Tokyo Drift” (2006). In each film, he ups the stakes and makes the action sequences all the more engaging and impressive. Despite how over-the-top they may get at times, there is a sense of danger and life in these scenes that are normally not seen. It’s uncommon to come across a movie that makes you laugh, grip your armrest and applaud in a theater, but this film will have you doing all of the above.

Another component to this film’s success is the chemistry between the cast members, who are all back in top form. Like the “Harry Potter” series, we have grown to love these characters over the course of the decade. Walker and Diesel give the film its heart; Tyrese Gibson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges supply the laughs; and Evans (“The Raven,” 2012), brings the chills as the new and memorable villain.

This franchise could teach others a thing or two— sometimes change is a good thing. Though the later movies may have relaxed their strict focus on car racing, the nitro-boosted thrills are still included, satisfying old fans while reeling in a new crowd. This is a film you do not want to miss.

“Fast & Furious 6” opens today.

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