This appalling sixth instalment in the Fast series sees the family of lovable criminals relocate to London. They have been asked by the bulky Police officer in the previous instalment (Dwayne Johnson, obvs) to help hunt down a super-criminal (Luke Evans) who is evading capture wherever he goes. So Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and co zoom off to England’s capital. Oh, and a face from the past turns out to be not as dead as they previously thought.
Fast Five had problems, but it was still a fantastic movie. It was tight on plot, the script executed smart characterisation without being too obvious and the tension was high throughout. This movie is the polar opposite. The plot is a chaotic mess. The script is so bafflingly awful it sounds like it was written in the dark by a heavily drugged sloth. There is barely any tension to be had. Though spectacular at times, the action sequences go on so long it’s very hard to remain interested.
If the plot and script were not so risible it would be easier to overlook some of the nastier, more pernicious aspects to this picture. Instead, they are open for all to see. Firstly, it shamelessly glorifies illegal street racing around tourist hot-spots in London such as Piccadilly Circus. Apparently endangering the lives of innocent drivers, pedestrians and the Metropolitan Police is super cool. As if this wasn’t horrid enough, the movie has a pretty distasteful view of women. If a woman is good at driving/fixing cars, she has to be gratuitously sexualised. She is also probably a vicious bitch too. Or she’ll just be there to die on command. Some will brush this off by saying it fits the movie’s demographic (14-year-old boys), but the more realistically minded will recognise this for what it is: poisonous misogyny dressed us as mainstream entertainment.
Because this is an American movie starring American actors, but largely set in Britain, the viewer is treated to endless xenophobia that emphasises a caricatured form of American hatred/jealousy towards the English. Practically every Brit they come across is snobbish, idiotic and horrid. There is even a really weird scene where two of our American protagonists make an English car salesman strip to punish him for his class prejudice and borderline-racism. I would imagine director Justin Lin and writer Chris Morgan thought this would be side-splittingly hilarious. It comes across as pathetic and more than a little creepy.
On a purely technical and effects-based level, Fast and Furious 6 has potential. The set pieces look great and the stunts are first class. Sadly, they happen to be part of a film that doesn’t deserve them. If you want a rewarding Fast and Furious experience, go back to Fast Five. It’s ten times the film this will ever be.
Fast and Furious 6 (2013), directed by Justin Lin, is released in the UK by Universal Pictures, Certificate 12A.