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Ten Word or Less Review – Shifting down.

I got to this shindig late.  I didn’t see a F&F movie until the semi-glorious delirium that was the fifth entry in the series.  It was like showing up to a party that was at its zenith.  Everyone and everything is peaking as you walk in the door.  Maybe you missed something  by getting there late, but no matter what it was it isn’t going to match what’s going on now.  So if the fifth movie was the peak, this new entry is the first stage of the come down.  That isn’t to say that the party still isn’t rocking.  The music is loud and people are still having a good time, but that guy who was break dancing in the kitchen an hour ago is passed out on the couch.  The music is starting to drone on the ears.  There’s a bimbo with a lampshade on her head, two people pass out while kissing and the first signs of burnout are creeping into the scene.

To cut to the chase, bloat and backstory are what’s keeping this vehicle stuck in 2nd, okay 3rd, gear.  This franchise has become so overpopulated with characters and soap opera plot that things are starting to take on a faint scent of Days of Our Lives.  Dead characters coming back to life who now have amnesia?  I thought this series of movies was about car chases.  There are plenty of those.  The usual gratuitous mayhem this series specializes in.  The first half of the movie is loaded with chases which feel fun and functional but never truly inspired.  Even after just one movie this viewer was struck by how common place all the mayhem feels.  The best stuff though is jammed into the last half hour.  I’ll give the creative brain trust credit for wowing us in the end.  The hilarity is palpable as characters all the basically become gravity defying superheroes.  Vin Diesel should just start wearing a red cape with a big D on his chest at this point.  How invincibly macho is he?  He gets shot and doesn’t bleed.  That’s pretty fucking macho.

What separates these two workable sections of cartoon movie carnage, and kind of screws up the movie altogether, is a deadly dull second act where characters travel the world while blathering about the deadly dull plot.  Everyone is running around chasing a bad guy who wants a billion dollar widget or trying to figure out why Michelle Rodriguez isn’t dead.  Answer?  Narrative desperation.  The movie expends tons of effort jetting characters from England to Spain and back to England and back to Spain and even sends one character all the way to America for 10 minutes for no compelling reason at all.  Why weren’t these people jet lagged?  There’s enough gas in this thing for a 90 minute movie, tops.  Fast 6 runs a very bloated 130 minutes.

Fast and Furious fans will surely be happy with this entry in their inexhaustible and inexplicable franchise.  Those who haven’t made the effort to get into this ludicrous series of movies aren’t going to find much reason to start now.  While it’s already clear that this series will continue to burn nitro into the future, part 7 next summer!, I’m guessing that the wheels are about to come flying off.  Long time series director Justin Lin is jumping ship.  The next movie is rushing to meet a street date.  And worst of all, part 6 flaunts the coming presence of Jason Statham as the next baddie for the series.  If the presence of Jason Statham is supposed to genuinely excite the audience then a wrong turn has already been made.

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