Better Late Than Never Movie Review #6 – Fast & Furious 6

And we’re back again here at WildeBeard Reviews with another brand new Better Late Than Never Movie Review and we’re onto the 6th entry in the “Fast & Furious” series, the clearly titled and numbered “Fast & Furious 6”.

Much like “Fast Five”, “Fast & Furious 6” picks up pretty much where the previous movie left off.  Here we see Dom and Brian living it up on the beach somewhere with Mia and Elena.  Soon we see this happiness added to with the birth of Mia and Brian’s baby and then fully disrupted as Hobbs appears asking Dom to rally the troops again to help him fight a former British Agent turned super criminal, Owen Shaw. At first Dom tells Hobbs no, but then Hobbs drops the hammer on him with the knowledge that not only is Letty alive, but she’s working with Shaw as part of his crew. With the knowledge of Letty being alive and with a promise from Hobbs to clean the records of the entire crew, Dom and Brain have to agree to help bring Shaw down.

As soon as Dom and Brian make the call, all our old favorites come running: Roman, Tej, Han (YAY HAN!), and Gisele. The two other guys, whose names I still don’t know, from the previous couple movies don’t appear in this movie and frankly, I didn’t miss them.  Who I was missing though, was Letty and she is back in full force this time around.  While Gal Gadot’s Gisele provides a great strong female character along with Elsa Pataky’s Elena, there’s just something fun about what Michelle Rodriguez brings to a role, especially this role.  Rodriguez isn’t going to win any Oscars any time soon but when ever she brings that rough and tumble female bravado to a character, it always feels genuine.  The “Fast & Furious” franchise is better when she is involved.

Now with that being said…..  it did feel like the writers had to pen themselves out of a corner of their own making.  I haven’t read any trivia or behind the scenes info about Letty’s return to the series but I got the distinct impression that it wasn’t planned from the get go and they had to figure out a way to believably bring her back into the fold. Having her be blown away from her car when it exploded in “Fast & Furious”  (the fourth movie because naming conventions) rather than be inside the car and lose her memory as a result is the kind of eye roll inducing plot point you typically get when writers need to back track on an earlier, unchangeable decision.

Playing the main villain in this movie is none other than Luke Evans, Gaston from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”.  I think he played a good villain in this movie as the threatening yet still somewhat mustache twirling bad guy that the “Fast & Furious” movies need in their current state, however I will say that, for me personally, it was a bit jarring to see him play this type of role after seeing him as the over the top macho man full of bluster and bravado in “Beauty and the Beast”.  I’ve seen one or two of “The Hobbit” live action films but I honestly don’t remember him in them so his role as Gaston and his appearance here are really my only  two exposures to Luke Evans.  This isn’t really a commentary on his performance in “Fast & Furious 6”, but more of a commentary on who he is an an actor, being able to effectively pull off both wildly different roles.

As I have talked about before, one of the running themes in all of the “Fast & Furious” movies, and probably the most consistent one, is that of family.  One of the two core plots of this movie, is doing whatever it takes to bring that family back together and that’s where this movie really shines.  This is our second movie with the entire crew together and they all still work wonderfully together.  Everyone get’s a moment, no one feels left out, and their personalities all gel into one cohesive whole.

At the end of this film, that feeling of family is the strongest it’s ever been.  After our heroes win the day and stop the bad guy (at the expense of Gisele but more on that in a sec), they’ve received their pardons and we see them all back at Dom and Mia’s house enjoying a backyard barbecue as a family. If I’m being perfectly honest, I feel like the franchise could, and maybe should, have ended here. This is the happy ending all our heroes deserved.  Minus Han of course…. after Gisele is killed in the big finale, Han (or the writers anyway) finally has that driving reason to make that fateful trip to Tokyo where, as we know from three movies ago, he dies in a car chase after some Yakuza dealings go south.  It’s sad to see Han sad in what should be and is a happy moment for everywhere else but again,  previous decisions smashing up against unplanned sequels make for writers getting themselves out of corners.

“Fast & Furious 6” felt like the end of a trilogy.  “The Fast and the Furious”, “2 Fast 2 Furious”, and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” were all pieces of a puzzle that eventually got put together and made into the loose trilogy formed by “Fast & Furious”, “Fast Five”, and “Fast & Furious 6” and part of me really thinks that’s where the studio and creators should have stopped because it feels like a natural ending to the story and the character arcs.

That’s it for today folks! Stay tuned for my review of “Furious 7” coming soon – I’ve already watched it and I have….. feelings…. about it…..

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Until next time, Thank You for reading and….

SEE YOU AT THE CINEMA!