June 7, 2013

2013 blog FF6 poster

People, we need to talk about Dwayne Johnson’s arms.

They’ve gone a few inches beyond the requisite ‘guns’ sported by your typical action hero. In fact, they’re more reminiscent of cannons.

Seriously, the man formerly known as The Rock can’t even lay them flat at his sides anymore. They stick out at a 45-degree angle, like chicken wings or something.

I meant it as a compliment, Dwayne. Please don't hurt me

I meant it as a compliment, Dwayne. Please don’t hurt me

I say this not out of any untoward sense of admiration (well, maybe a little envy) but because Johnson’s physique is kind of representative of Fast & Furious 6, the latest instalment of the high-octane film franchise in which he co-stars.

They’re both pumped-up to a ridiculous degree. Ridiculous, I tell you!

And just as Johnson steamrolls through the movie like a Sherman tank (seriously, he’s a great addition to the series), Furious Six – the actual title, according to the opening credits – crashes right through any cynicism you may have and barrels directly into the part of your brain yearning for some big, dumb fun.

With the equally entertaining Fast Five, the franchise reinvented itself as a hotted-up heist caper – a pedal-to-the-metal Ocean’s Eleven.

This time around, though, it zooms past anything resembling reality to become something more akin to a superhero adventure. It’s The Avengers with a shitload of speeding tickets.

And it works. It works like crazy.

Yeah, this happens

Yeah, this happens

At the screening I attended, the audience burst into applause no less than five times when the saga’s motley crew of daredevil drivers defied the laws of physics to pull off some audacious stunt.

The story? Oh, it’s something to do with said motley crew – led by gravel-voiced hulk Dom (Vin Diesel, surprisingly charming at times) and lawman-gone-rogue Brian (Paul Walker, wooden as always but functional nevertheless) – being recruited by Johnson’s no-nonsense federal agent Hobbs to track down and take down the villainous Shaw (Luke Evans, not quite villainous enough).

In his quest to steal the various parts of some super-weapon, Shaw has hand-picked a crack team of bad guys…including Dom’s ex-girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez, fitting right back in), who was supposedly killed in the fourth film.

"There's no escape, is there?"

“There’s no escape, is there?”

Nope, she just got amnesia, it seems! But even though she’s gone to the dark side, Dom won’t abandon her.

After all, she’s part of the makeshift Fast & Furious family…and as Dom points out about 300 times during the movie, you don’t turn your back on family.

Yes, it’s cheesy. But it also balances that cheesiness with a likeable sincerity and a winning self-awareness. And stunts. Lots and lots of stunts.