Save up the popcorn… you’ll need lots of it!
It’s probably easy to make one movie with a single-line plot that reads: ‘Cars go BOOM!’ but to make six such movies requires not mere talent, but raw genius. And that is precisely why director Justin Lin is the Leonardo Di Vinci of the ‘Cars go BOOM!’ genre of movies and the Fast and Furious series is his Monalisa.
Lin has managed to see a design, a construct, even a purpose (that being: $$$$$ *cha-ching*!) where a mortal eye would see ‘BAM DUH UGH BOOM’, also known as ‘what Vin Diesel sounds like’. For the last four instalments of the Paul Walker and Vin Diesel starrer Fast and Furious series now, the director has managed to keep things interesting, whether by introducing more brawn (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), or by introducing more brawn (Kim Kold – look him up!), or or by introducing, you know, more brawn (Gina Carano, *ahem*).
Lin is not an action movie director anymore – he long transcended these commoner labels when he managed to revolutionize the entire franchisee by doing something far more badass and thrilling than the stunts themselves: he got rid of a ‘Furious’ in the fifth movie’s title, and had it named ‘Fast Five’, because, you know, BOOM! *THAT’S* how he rolls, bro.
He also transformed Fast Five into a heist movie from a, err, movie, and the film then went on to become the highest grossing of the entire series, as well as one of the highest grossing franchise films ever. The ‘Furious’ is back this time, probably ‘cause Lin wanted to show that he can do whatever the “freak” he wants, bro (except use the word ‘f**k’, because that’s so old now).
Also back is Michelle Rodrigues, whose character Letty died in the fourth movie, except that she didn’t, because Lin, that little mastermind that he is, obviously *planned* to bring her back for the sixth version, and that is proved in one of the smoothest ‘sauten’ sequences ever seen in cinema. Elsa Pataky’s character, Elena, who shacked up with Vin Diesel’s Dom in Fast Five, literally lets Dom go find Letty in this instalment, because “that’s who she is”.
Dom then recruits Paul Walker’s Brian, who has given up on the bad(ass) life at the beginning of the movie because he has a son now, and his wife Mia – literally – lets Paul go five minutes later because “that’s who she is”. Then the entire crew starring people with more swagger than Bappi Lahiri’s entire life come on board because “that’s who they are”.
And then… you don’t really care, do you? Neither did I. Because when the action starts and the ‘cars (including a Formula One type race car) go BOOM!’, the only thing that you are thinking is, “WOAH! THE F**K WAS THAT!” And all the spiel about ‘who they are’ and ‘we are family’ and ‘I remember that scar under your belly button happened at the age of 15’ (I kid you not) is an unnecessary waste of time that slows the film down by trying to introduce things like ‘plot’, ‘story’, and all those silly terms critics keep throwing around. It’s because of these distractions that the length of this movie is over two hours: an entire hour, for example, is taken up by Vin Diesel trying to finish his FOUR dialogues. Really, if Diesel could speak any slower, he’d have been cast in The Walking Dead for free.
But when the action is focused solely on the action, the action does not disappoint for a second! The setting moves from Rio in Fast Five, to London in this one, but it’s incredible how many different types of car stunts can the same writer (Chris Morgan) and the same director make the same group of people do, and *still* make it look awesome. To accompany the automobile action, there’s also a bunch of hand-to-hand combat sequences, to justify Gina ‘MMA Champion’ Carano ‘s presence, and that’s always a welcome addition to things blowing up.
Luke Evans (of The Three Musketeers fame) makes for a worthy villain, because everyone with a British accent *always* makes for a worthy villain. Everyone from Diesel to The Rock, down to the actors specifically there to represent their minorities… look suitably real when driving cars (you really want me to talk of acting here?). But the USP of this edition is the humour, specifically the banter between Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris. Gibson, particularly, is hilarious and really deserves to be seen more on the big screen.
The heist scenario as well as the Rio setting still make Fast Five the best of the series, but thanks to the humour, all that brawn, and of course, ‘cars going BOOM!’ make this film a must watch for every action movie junkie. The climax of the film, featuring a bunch of cars and an aeroplane (YES!) alone is worth the price of your ticket, and that one post-credits scene that reveals the KICKASS antagonist (So. Bloody. Exciting. ) of the next instalment, is worth the wait for Fast and Furious 7. Save up the popcorn, you’ll need lots of it!
Note: This review first appeared on Firstpost.com on May 25, 2013
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