Movie Review: ‘Fast & Furious 6’ is One Sweet Ride [Video]

Twelve years and a half-dozen speedometer-busting adventures later, the Fast & Furious franchise is still going strong.

The “Fast & Furious” franchise’s sixth installment skids into theaters on Friday, and all of the “Fast” cast is back.

“Fast 5” left off with Dom (Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker), and their crew high off an elaborate heist in Brazil that netted them $100 million, but also forced them to flee, so they scattered themselves around the world to avoid being caught.

However, this one seems to be all about a family reunion as Dom repeats “Family” as many times as possible, what give this chapter its unexpected heart.

Still Fast & Furious 6 has to find a good new reason to bring them all back together — and it’s not nearly so graceful with the heavy lifting.

The first five minutes somehow summarize the five “F&F” films that came before as we travel around the world from the Canary Islands to Moscow to London.

Somehow director Justin Lin just keeps topping himself, with bigger fights, badder villains, bolder chases. And while Diesel was born to make these movies, his pit crew has grown into a satisfyingly connected team.

Porting over a plot from some generic spy thriller, Furious 6 opens with Dwayne Johnson’s DDS agent from Fast Five coaxing Dominic (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and the rest of their crew (Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Sung Kang and Gal Gadot, among others) out of early retirement to stop a powerful mercenary with terrorist designs.

Dom’s long-ago love, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who was killed in the fourth film and resuscitated in the fifth, now works for some evil team of elite stunt-driving thieves led by British-accented mastermind Shaw (Luke Evans).

He is on the verge of building some sort of technological warfare, and Special Agent Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), in his turn, has been trying hard to track Shaw and his group across 12 countries.

So, naturally, he turns to Dom and his crew for help, and offers them all pardons in return. Dom also has his own interest in this story as he is willing to rescue Letty and bring her back into the family. Sounds like a pretty good deal. For fans of the series, this might just be the most exciting one yet.

Decamping to London to head off the villains, Dom, Brian and the rest – including tech expert Tej (Chris Bridges) and fast-living power couple Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot) – find themselves initially overmatched against a crew whose members are basically cracked-mirror versions of themselves – an amusing conceit that Chris Morgan’s screenplay leaves underdeveloped.

Fast 6 pits Shaw’s crew against Dominic’s in a high-tech battle royale, but it has a devil of a time explaining why everyone should hop into their cars.

Lin peppers the film with action beats, including a good piece of hand-to-hand combat in a subway station, but the fact is that the surveillance work necessary to track down Shaw is more practically accomplished on foot.

Lin understands this track inside and out, backwards and forwards — four directions out of countless others in which he spins us, says the NY Daily News.

Some actors do a better job of standing out against the chaos; Rodriguez and Evans are particularly strong; Johnson has genuine star presence and looks right in his element leaping from speeding cars and head-butting henchmen; Carano and Jordana Brewster, as Dom’s sister, are especially stiff.

The plot, though serviceable and boosted by humor, remains an excuse on which to hang breathtaking chases, meticulously choreographed hand-to-hand combat and the occasional explosion.

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, a gear head, or just a fan of Vin Diesel, you may still enjoy the flick with it’s outsized action, cars, fights and other elements typical of such movie genres.

So just relax and join the “Family”!

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