Sunday, April 16, 2017

Movie Review: Fast & Furious 6

The sixth installment in this street racer saga begins with Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) racing to become a father with Mia (Jordana Brewster). Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has shacked up with Elena (Elsa Pataky). Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is on the hunt for a new criminal Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) who has built a crew which includes Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), back from the dead. Hobbs recruits Dom to create a team to hunt down Shaw. With a deal for full pardons and the return of Letty, Dom and Brian agree to work with Hobbs reassembling the team from the previous film including Tej (Ludacris), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Han (Sung Kang), and Gisele (Gal Gadot). Hobbs's partner Riley (Gina Carano) also joins the group as they investigate Shaw.

Their first encounter comes from an informer but turns out to be a distraction for a heist of Interpol. Shaw drives a low-riding, hydraulic vehicle with a sloped front that can flip police cars as he escapes. Shaw's team, somewhat a mirror of Dom's team, includes Vegh (Clara Paget), Klaus (Kim Kold), and Jah (Joe Taslim). Owen Shaw's scheme is to build a technology bomb that could knock out the power of an entire city. They learn about Dom's team as Dom's team investigate Shaw's. Their encounter leads to violent chases through the streets and subway tunnels of London.

Letty is confused by the sight of Dom but still shoots him in the shoulder. Dom has been shot in several of these films but he usually shakes it off with a few stitches and a Corona. Shaw questions Letty's loyalty, but she can't remember where she came from or how she knows Dom. Turns out that Shaw knew Braga (John Ortiz) from the fourth film. The series has enough back story and characters to make things confusing for those who haven't sat through each film, but that action brings in new viewers and the plot is never the central part of these Fast and Furious films.

 Brian has to go undercover to a Los Angeles prison to interrogate Braga and get information about Shaw's plan. Dom heads to a street race with a supped up muscle car to find Letty and race her through London. He tells her about her past though she remains skeptical. No matter what the team does to track Shaw, it always seems like they are one step ahead. Hobbs follows the clues to finally catch up with Shaw as he's hitting an airbase, but the plan changes quickly to a convoy chase involving a tank on the bridges and highways in Spain. This explosive scene takes the action of the series to a whole new level of physics defying vehicular insanity.

It looks like the team has won and been reunited when Shaw reveals he has a plant in Hobb's partner Riley and has captured Mia. The finale takes place on a runway in a fight with a giant cargo plane and the team work to take it down. The shocking death of Gisele adds an emotional note to the bittersweet defeat of Shaw. Dom and the crew gain their freedom when he returns the microchip worth billions. Han returns to Tokyo, grieving for Gisele, and in a post credit scene taken from Tokyo drift is seen dying at the hands of Bernard Shaw (Jason Statham), Owen Shaw's brother. 

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