Fast and Furious 6

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Block head engine — meet block head tough guys.

Fast and Furious 6 isn’t quite as good as Fast and Furious 5, but it’s better than 2 and 3. Yet the first Fast and Furious…oh, who am I kidding. They’re all crap and I can’t really distinguish one from the other.

This movie had me thinking about a number of things from my childhood. In elementary school playing with Matchbox cars with my best friend Kent Cottle (rest in peace). We’d smash them into each other, making explosion sounds with our mouths. If I were still that age, I’m guessing this movie would be my Citizen Kane.

As a teenager, I remember joking with a friend about commercials we heard on 101 KGB FM. Every year they advertised their Sky Show as being “bigger and better” than the previous year. We wondered what that meant. If they are shooting fireworks off to classic rock songs after a Padres game – how do they make it “better”? Did they add two or three fireworks to the show? Did they add another ZZ Top song?

When Fast and Furious 6 comes out, they don’t bill it as being better than the previous ones. I just think the studio makes money, and they continue making them. There’s already a 7th in the can.

I’m not sure why they even bother with dialogue. It’s just a bunch of forced jokes, goofy bonding moments, and poor acting. Why didn’t they just scrap that and do continuous car chases and stunts? It would give the teenagers and stuntmen out there the perfect movie.

When you think of the great car chases in various films, most of them have one thing in common. There was a story that went along with them. Actors playing characters we enjoyed watching, or situations where you were on the edge of your seat. When I don’t care about any of that, I instead watch them wondering why they all defy the laws of physics.

This series started out being about underground street racing. They played that for a few movies and eventually had car enthusiasts bringing down drug cartels and pulling off their own heists. In this one, Vin Diesel (in all his gravelly-voiced posturing), is paid a visit by Dwayne Johnson (who does seem to get more muscular with each film). No, he’s not there to arrest him or sell Girl Scout cookies (that’s one of the many hysterical lines in the film). He needs his help. There’s a nut job named Shaw (Luke Evans) who has even faster and deadly vehicles, and his driving through Europe stealing parts to build a weapon. Why bother with the FBI or CIA, when you got VIN.

Here’s what bothers me about bad movies. Everyone makes excuses for them. The last Evil Dead was atrocious. Yet people had excuses as to why it was just supposed to be gory fun. With this, they’ll tell you it’s about the explosions, car chases and crashes, fights (they bring in ultimate fighter Gina Carano for that). Why can’t a good script go hand-in-hand with those elements?

With Evil Dead, perhaps not a good script, but at least scare us. If they did that, you could at least say “It’s gory and scares the hell out of you…”

I sat back and enjoyed the escapism fun of a crappy movie like Speed; even when it had scenes with a bus jumping over a damaged freeway. Sandra Bullock was a decent damsel in distress (and we weren’t tired of her bad movies at that point). Dennis Hopper was a great villain. Yet if they’re making these types of movies that just look like video games – why not just sit home and play Street Racer or some other video game? Watch a DVD of the original Fast and Furious and save yourself some money. I got an email from a movie critic a few weeks ago that asked “Guess what action movie I’m watching from 1981 that still holds up?” On my second guess I got it – The Road Warrior (Mel Gibson). Sure, he gave me the hint that it was post-apocalyptic. The point being…you can have cool car stunts and explosions, and a decent story wrapped around it. Order those movies on Netflix and avoid seeing these.

I love music, but if I’m watching a horrible band, I can just sit back and say “Well, the drummer is good. I’ll just enjoy it for that.” And I can’t watch a goofy action picture just because there are some cool stunts and ‘60s muscle cars I dig. They’ve just become so repetitive at this point. Not just the stunts, but characters all acting like tough guys; an FBI agent telling somebody they were “the top of their class.” A bad guy driving a vehicle with “Moscow” being written on the bottom of the screen; jokes like one character telling another about his fiancé “You better get her a big rock…or you better be big somewhere else.”

If that’s your idea of good comedy, or you’re interested enough to buy a ticket for a movie called Fast and Furious 6 – you won’t be disappointed. You’ll enjoy the folks hanging out of car windows, tanks crushing cars, and cargo planes on fire. You won’t mind the poor editing and script. To each their own. I’d rather watch videos of the tank the guy stole in Kearny Mesa and drove all over San Diego years ago.

6 only gets 1 star out of 5.

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