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Road To Furious 7: Fast & Furious 6

Road To Furious 7: Fast & Furious 6 Review

The seventh Fast & Furious movie has hit cinemas. We’ve been taking a look back over the series, and now we’ve come to the end of the road.

DNWilliams: Alright, let’s do this thing.

DalmatianJaws: Furious 6! More faster. More furiouser.

DNW: The movie in the franchise that preceded THE FIFTH HIGHEST GROSSING MOVIE OF ALL TIME. How crazy is it that the seventh movie in this franchise made more than Return of the King. More than Skyfall. More than The Dark Knight Rises.

DJ: And still climbing!

DNW: I actually think Furious 6 movie is quite a bit better than Furious 7. It’s Justin Lin’s last Fast movie, and it’s the closest you can get to watching Fast Five without watching Fast Five, which is a good thing in my book.

DJ: While Fast Five through Furious 7 are all freaking great to watch, Fast Five stands out as being the best by far.

DNW: Furious 6 builds on the groundwork Fast Five laid down nicely, and it delivers on the cliff-hanger from the last movie perfectly. It starts with a plot thread from the last film actually, with Dom and Brian racing to the hospital.

DJ: That’s right! A great scene that reminds me of the “driving the kid to school” gag from Furious 7.

DNW: Yeah, it’s a neat little twist in that they don’t try to outdo the opening of the last movie, they just subvert expectations a little – it’s a race, but it’s (bizarrely enough) a character driven race. We then cut to opening credits that recap the saga so far, and they really lean heavily on the legacy here. Six movies deep they could’ve gone either way, especially when this is such a direct sequel to the last film. Prior to the release of Furious 7 I remember it being said that the opening credits of Furious 6 were almost like a tribute to Paul Walker in and of themselves.

DJ: Yep, they’re really acknowledging the nostalgia factor here and it works. I didn’t grow up on these movies, but having watched five in a row, seeing Ludacris’s original hairdo made me go “aaaaaaaah.”

DNW: Haha! The fresh blood they introduce in this movie works for me in a big way though: namely Gina Carano as Hobbs’ partner.

DJ: Oh yeah, she’s from a stunt background, right?

DNW: MMA.

DJ: Is she the one from Haywire?

DNW: That’s her.

DJ: She’s good. You can tell the difference in the fighting. Great stuff. And she’s replacing the woman who ran away from her amazing career so she could lay in bed with Toretto all day.

DNW: That gets super awkward in this movie!

DNW: If you look at actual clips of Carano beating people up in real life… it’s way more hardcore than the film allows for, it’s insane, she’s vicious. She’s introduced being totally okay with Hobbs using a suspect to demolish an interrogation room.

DJ: Such a great scene. Hobbs is such a contradiction, so by-the-book until he gets annoyed, and then he just destroys shit.

DNW: Yeah, he’s unreliable in that sense, but pretty consistently no-nonsense. It’s just, there’s nonsense and then there’s NONSENSE. It’s a stupid little visual gag as well, but I like the fact that they picked a bald dude that could be Vin Diesel until you see his face and he opens his mouth and sounds like Vinnie Jones.

DJ: That gag, I love it!

DNW: The reason Hobbs beats up that dude is because he’s on the trail of Owen Shaw. The Rock says the line “You don’t just pick up Owen Shaw like he’s groceries”, because Hobbs gets all the good cheesy dialogue in these movies, and then we check in on Dom, who’s nice and cosy with his ex-cop girlfriend (literally just dawned on me know how that makes her a female version of Brian), then Hobbs enters and tells Dom that Letty’s alive.

DJ: It’s such a great way to keep the story engine running on this franchise. So much better than “I randomly need you for a mission”, so personal.

DNW: It’s nice and neat. Incredibly contrived, but that’s what I love about it. I was rolling in the aisles when they revealed Letty was alive at the end of Fast Five, it’s an insane twist that should make you gleeful if you have a soul. It’s so soap opera. Brian’s reaction when Dom tells him the situation is telling.

DJ: Doesn’t Brian tell him it’s a scam?

DNW: Yeah, he basically says: he’s a cop, I was a cop, I’d have done stuff like this, don’t trust him. Which is…woah.

DJ: Yep. I loved that part.

DNW: Letty being alive is too good to be true, and Hobbs using that information to get Dom to assist him is manipulative, so Brian’s reaction is natural, but coming from him it means a lot. Doesn’t matter though, Letty’s family, and you never turn your back on FAMILY. So the next thing you know, we’re in London. I love how the city is looking in movies lately.

DJ: It’s a great city for movies. The river with the foot bridges, the giant ferris wheel, that spiral building …

DNW: Yeah, the horizon has changed over the past 15 years, with the Dome, the London Eye, and all the new weird and wonderful skyscrapers. People are getting a bit more creative when it comes to shooting it too. London looked incredible in Skyfall, and then not long after you got this movie and Thor: The Dark World. Anyway, when the team assembles Luda asks why they’re not stealing what Owen Shaw is stealing – which is a good question!

DJ: …mumble mumble… because family!

DNW: It papers over all plots holes.

DJ: It really does.

DNW: This scene exploits the ensemble dynamic nicely. Rome begging for change and The Rock shooting the vending machine is a good bit.

DJ: The stand-around-and-talk scenes are great in this movie. Less so in Furious 7 due to some unfortunate deaths.

DNW: Yeah, with the thinning of the ranks those scenes are definitely going to suffer. In this scene they ask for pardons, which is the team’s motivation. They got the money the last time around, now they want to go home. There’s the real answer to Ludacris’s question.

DJ: True. I’ve said it before, but all cheese aside these movies have strong scripts. Character motivation is very clear.

DNW: Yeah, focussed and unambiguous. I feel like they should’ve asked for pardons before they came to London, but I guess they’d want to search for Letty with or without the pardons. So they go after Shaw, who is played by Luke Evans. He’s great, and I love his car. It’s like the Batmobile had a baby with a go-kart.

DJ: Hahaha, yep! And they make great use of the design being ramp-like. Reminds me of the Nautilus just ramming ships.

DNW: In a particular film adaptation?

DJ: The Disney one. It’s a stretch. I do love that no one can touch them because of this simple design though.

DNW: I just love how FUNCTIONAL it is. It’s the polar opposite to the Fast Family in every way – no flair, no sense of affection for the vehicles, just pure objective.

DJ: Yep. The car is a natural outpouring of the character.

DNW: What do you make of Shaw as a villain and Luke Evans’s performance in general?

DJ: He’s alright, generic villain stuff. I’d much rather Statham play this brother than what he got to play in Furious 7.

DNW: His role in the story is so much better than what Statham wound up with, which is a shame. Letty turns out to be running with Shaw’s gang and when Dom approaches her, she shoots him. He’s okay with it.

DJ: Haha, it’s so great. Brooding Michelle Rodriguez is the only Michelle Rodriguez in my book.

DNW: She does a mean stinkface. I feel like she’s been sorely under-utilised during her prime by Hollywood in general, so I am very appreciative of the fact that they didn’t kill her off in this series. Furious 6 revolves around her too, so it’s a great showcase for her.

DJ: Yep! She really brings it to the table.

DNW: I’m jumping the gun a little but THAT CARANO/MROD FIGHT THOUGH.

DJ: Great stuff. Meanwhile the boys get their asses kicked.

DNW: That’s my favourite thing about the sequence. We’re getting this great fight with MRod/Carano, who are pretty evenly matched, intercut with a two-on-one fight that sees Han and Rome completely outmatched, and just getting DESTROYED in the most embarrassing way. I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: MRod/Carano is better than Diesel/The Rock in the last movie for me.

DJ: Agreed, it’s funnier, there’s more heart. Although the street doesn’t literally win the fight for them.

DNW: What do you mean? The street always wins.

DJ: So, they face off against Letty and her crew and come up short… what happens next?

DNW: Well, we skipped over one moment the Tej/Hobbs pairing where they get a dressing down by a snooty car salesman, before literally giving him a dressing down. Afterwards Shaw threatens Letty, and a Braga/Shaw connection is revealed that ties this film back to the fourth movie and gives Brian a side-mission in prison.

DJ: Oh that’s right! Man, the plot really tangles a bit in the middle, but I do love the connection to the fourth movie.

DNW: There is that one bit in the prison scene that makes it worth it for me – when Brian’s talking to Braga from inside of his cell and starts to say what he’d do if the door were open and then right at that moment, the door opens.

DJ: Yep, it’s a great bit, and also highlights what a badass Brian can be. He’s a pretty boy but he’s a deadly fighter. For no real reason… but it’s cool. That whole plotline feels a bit forced, but it’s well done.

DNW: Yeah, I think very consciously sending a team member away from the team without pairing them off can feel odd in a movie like this, so there’s something about it that’s off. Meanwhile, goddamn Rita Ora shows up to start a race that Dom and Letty take part in, because Dom is a glutton for punishment. FAMILY.

DJ: Haha. And faith. Don’t forget faith, which is a big part of the best line of the franchise, which is coming up.

DNW: Spoiler – I have a strong feeling we agree on what the best line of this franchise is. When Dom and Letty race through Piccadilly circus (which if you know London at all is a pretty damn funny place to be able to race through) Justin Lin repeats a visual gag that he did in Fast Five where there’s a baby on the bus watching the race happen. In Fast Five it was when the safe was getting pulled through the streets. I really, really love that he put it in again, and I love how self-aware it is. He wants to reduce his audience to this babylike state of just being mesmerised by the cool car stuff that’s happening.


DNW: Also, it reminds me of this Onion sketch:

DJ: That sketch is brilliant, and kind of true.

DNW: It’s very true, right down to the “I know where I’ll be every summer” line. After Dom and Letty have their heart to heart at Battersea Power Station (again, I really love what they do with London in this movie) he meets up with Shaw, and Shaw summarises the series to this point by saying “Street kid – starts out stealing DVD players in LA, ends up heisting $100,000,000 in Rio.”

DJ: It’s great when screenwriters use IMDB to write dialogue. Then it’s off to Spain, right? Everyone prepares for a big attack at the base, and Shaw screws with them again by attacking the convoy.

DNW: Yeah, they’re on the way to the main action set-piece after this. I’ve decided Owen Shaw is the best Fast Foe. He’s what I wanted Statham to be in terms of role in the story. Statham gets the more grandstandy moments, but Evans delivers thematically and plotwise in a way Statham is never allowed to. He’s also drives, which Braga and Verone don’t.

DJ: Yep. I think they’ll sell the eighth movie with a really great villain, they need to bump that up, but let’s face it, the eighth movie is just going to be xXx. But we digress.

DNW: Yeah, so we’re on a highway and, as Tej says, THEY GOT A TANK. They just keep upping the stakes. I mean, a second ago I called this the main set-piece, completely forgetting that they end chasing a damn plane.

DJ: The tank is better in some ways, unexpected and clever, like the safe chase scene. The plane is awesome and huge, but the tank is just so WTF you can’t top it. The way that scene builds is cool, they are so outmatched, yet they use all their dinky cars in cool ways.

DNW: This is where the stunts start to push their luck with suspension of disbelief. I think you either have to accept that these characters are going to get away with doing stuff that they should be superhuman to accomplish, or you’re just not going to be onboard. The key moment here, which is later brought up in the form of the best line in the franchise, is when Dom catches Letty and manages to change the direction in which she’s being propelled before landing safely on a car bonnet/windshield.

DJ: It’s just so jaw-droppingly stupid and fun… it just works. It’s the crap we did with our GI Joes when we were kids. I watched this for the first time at home, and I literally stood up off the couch and threw my hands in the air when I saw this stunt. How often does a movie make you do something like that?

DNW: I just didn’t know what to do with this when presented with it. It made me doubt my sanity. People talk about switching your brain off for movies like these, but it was like my brain was accidentally on standby and got switched back on just long enough for me to reject the probability of this event, despite the fact that numerous equally dumb things had been given a pass already. That said, best line in the franchise: “How did you know there’d be a car there to break our fall?” Just like that, they pulled me back in.


DJ: Yep, that’s my favourite line too! Followed by the equally ridiculous: “you just gotta have faith.” Even after six movies, it’s like the filmmakers don’t even know that cars are made out of glass and metal. But they do. They totally do. They’re just fucking with us.

DNW: Haha. The lines are delivered with such unironic conviction, it’s beautiful.

DJ: Agree. Totally. It’s that kind of wink to reality that make parts 5-7 work so well.

DNW: Best of all, IT’S KINDA ROMANTIC.

DJ: Oh man I love it so much. Every girl wants a Vin Diesel to body slam her into a windshield to save her life, despite the fact she doesn’t remember him.

DNW: I just love the audacity of showing us the craziest, most outlandish, patently illogical thing conceivable in that moment, and then completely normalising it with a couple of lines. They could’ve ignored it and just hoped people would accept it, but they doubled down.

DJ: Yep, it’s that dialog that makes it all work. They’re basically saying “relax, just go to your happy place, we’ve got this.”

DNW: Just a few more little bits: Mia is taken hostage by Shaw, and it’s revealed that Gina Carano has been on Team Shaw the whole time.

DJ: Which kinda doesn’t make sense whenever it’s done in a movie, because it begs the question why didn’t she take care of things sooner? But who cares, it’s still fun.

DNW: The thing that bums me out is how much I enjoyed her and The Rock as a duo up to that point. It would have been cool to see that moving forward, as I don’t think we gain all that much seeing her as part of the opposing team at this late stage. Anyway, somebody make a Carano/Rock movie, I’m there.

DJ: I’ll write that. He’s this big oaf that everyone thinks wins all the fights, but it’s actually her. Kind of a brutal MMA version of Remington Steele.

DNW: I love it. Right after that, they gotta catch a plane…

DJ: They wait so long in this movie to get to a large action set piece, then top it in terms of scope just like fifteen minutes later. But man oh man is it a great one, and it kills off like half their crew! Well, okay, just one I guess. Han dies later as a result of his grief-stricken trip to Japan

DNW: Yeah, Gisele got fridged to explain Han’s exile. One of the cool things they take the opportunity to do here is have Dom and Hobbs team up for a fight, which is a natural progression from where things were left at the end of the last movie where they beat the snot out of each other. The fact that they even FOUND a guy bigger than The Rock… and I don’t know about you, but the first time I saw that tag-team clothesline move in the privacy of my own home I had to do an action replay.

DJ: That dude is such a find. When I first saw that shot of all three of them together I thought maybe it was an FX shot. He’s SO freaking huge! It’s a great sequence, best part of the plane stuff I think.

DNW: My last few notes are: plane blows up good, they bring back the Toretto Barbecue, and we get the Statham tag.

DJ: Toretto is all about family, but he barely bats an eye when Gal dies. That kind of bothered me. I mean, I know he’s glad to be alive and all, and just drive through a burning airplane, but still.

DNW: Mia asks “where’s Gisele?” and there’s a little bit of a mournful hush, but the real grief is all Han. The rest are mostly just pleased Dom is alive to drive fast and sip Coronas another day.

DJ: At the barbecue, where they also deal with Dom’s little love triangle the only way they can: with humour. I laughed so hard when they hint at a threesome, because every single guy watching the movie was already thinking that.

DNW: Not all guys, James! But yes, I imagine a significant percentage. You mentioned before that you felt bringing back the BBQ scene at the Torretto homestead was a great move, what about it resonates for you?

DJ: It’s what the whole franchise is really about. In the first movie what stands out is that awesome, unique dynamic where Toretto is a surrogate father to all these car-obsessed underachievers. The crime is just how he focuses them and makes money. He’s just a big softie at heart and they all know it. I just love that this hardcore action series that is seemingly just about engine porn and upskirt shots of pretty girls is actually about family, even if it’s super cheesy. I love that about it. I’m not ashamed to say that I [REDACTED] when Brian drives off at the end of the seventh movie. I mean, obviously that’s because of what happened in real life, but still.

DNW: I never cry at movies, but I did a lot of blinking for sure. The ending of Furious 6 feels like a true end to the franchise in a way, because they’ve come full circle, but there’s no lingering threat of being punished for their crimes like there was when they occupied this space in the original film. They have the family, their funds and their freedom. The dynamic is forever changed right at his point, because they’re not really criminals anymore. And there’s a new lingering threat… How do you feel about the whole Jason-Statham-killed-Han retcon?

DJ: It’s fine. I didn’t remember enough about Tokyo Drift to know how forced it was.

DNW: I watched Tokyo Drift long after Furious 6. It’s not THAT FORCED. I did clock that people rush to see if the guy in the car that hit Han was alright in Tokyo Drift, whereas here he strolls out and threatens Dominic Toretto. It’s badass, and full of promise in a way the next movie didn’t really live up to. The potential is there though. Final thoughts? Series as a whole?

DJ: Agreed on the seventh movie. Statham’s intro in the seventh movie is genius, then they spend the whole film avoiding the conflict. Weird choice. As a whole, this has rocketed to be one of my favourite franchises ever. I never would have thought that going in. I’m not a huge action movie guy, don’t give two shits about cars. But I really, REALLY love them. I’ll never re-watch 2 Fast 2 Furious or Tokyo Drift, but I’ll definitely make parts 5-7 part of my yearly viewing rotation. I went full Bro on this franchise. What about you?

DNW: Absolutely. Fast Five was a game-changer for how I feel about the series, even though I had a fondness for the first couple films and was satisfied by the fourth, and what I thought would be final film. I was unprepared for the greatness of Fast Five, and while I thought Furious 6 didn’t quite live up to it initially, it’s way better than I originally gave it credit for. My ranking would be 5 > 1 > 6 > 4> 2 > 3 probably. I think I’m going to have a ritual of revisiting a Fast movie, eating a tuna sandwich with no crust, and drinking Corona.

DJ: I’d be: 5 > 1 > 6 > 7 > 4 > 2 > 3

DNW: I forgot about 7!

DJ: Where would you rank it?

DNW: I dunno, maybe equal to 4.

DJ: You realise that this will decide whether we finally agree 100% on something.

DNW: Probably above, so we’re essentially exactly the same. I think 2 Fast 2 Furious is more re-watchable than 4 though, confusingly. Just, in terms of quality… I do basically 100% agree. Nutsness.

DJ: I love what 4 tried to do, but in trying to be better it forgot to be fun.

DNW: Nailed it.

Rest Of The Series

The Fast and the Furious . 2 Fast 2 Furious . Tokyo Drift
Fast & Furious . Fast Five . Furious 7

Also See

James Bond Series . Star Trek Series

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6 Comments »

  • The Host said
    The Host

    Awesome summary of this franchise, guys! Any plans on doing a Road to Ant-Man or Phase 3 in the near future?

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    • dnwilliams said

      I’ve actually been avoiding superhero movies because Comics Alliance were doing similar recaps of X-MEN and SUPERMAN around the time we took on Bond and Trek, but an MCU thing seems like an inevitability. Probably for something *ahem* bigger than ANT-MAN, like CIVIL WAR.

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  • Sheridan Passell said
    Sheridan Passell

    I also concur with the rankings of the movies at the end. Such agreement is unthinkable. Is this the stars aligning in a beautiful moment of movie criticism? Or have we become like ants? …Maybe I’d swap 1 and 5.

    I wonder how long Vin Diesel had to train to jump over that bridge, it’s incredible. Also Dom sure wears a lot of white t-shirts, he’d be really easy to shop for.

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  • The Host said
    The Host

    Here are my rankings: 5>7>1>6>3>4>2

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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