Buckeye: Kyra and I, along with our friend Toosh, have just returned from two hours of pure, unadulterated action and entertainment provided by the virtuoso filmmakers and actors behind the Fast & Furious franchise. Fast Six, we’re here to tell you, does not disappoint. It is easily the most preposterous movie I have seen in months, if not years, if not since Fast Five. But I think—and apparently everybody else in our theater, where the audience broke out into applause multiple times, shared this view—this is a reason to embrace the series. You should not bother suspending your disbelief; rather, you should avoid entering the theater with any belief system at all, and let Fast Six overwhelm you. I had a fucking great time; what about you Kyra?
kyra: //slowclap// bravo Justin Lin. You took a franchise that was a joke, and embraced the joke and let us in on it. Not unlike the 24 franchise and Jalen Rose on his podcast, Justin Lin gives the people what they want. Jacoby: and what do the people want? The people want fast cars, hot girls, wise-cracking Tyrese, an oiled-up Dwayne Johnson, the blue eyes of Paul Walker, physics-defying chase scenes…I could go on and on. Fast Six certainly delivers. Before I even get to the movie though, I want to discuss some observations I had from the SEVEN TRAILERS that preceded this masterpiece. I noted a couple things to Toosh: (1) there is an inverse relationship between how many times someone utters the phrase “Where is the money!?” and movie quality; (2) the concept of Jamie Foxx as a rocket launcher-toting president by itself is funnier than the movie The Internship (which I haven’t seen, but I’m sure is not as funny as this); (3) I think the Jeff Bridges-Ryan Reynolds movie R.I.P.D. was made exclusively based on someone coming up with the acronym RIPD as Rest In Peace Department. Get it!? They fight the dead! Any other thoughts Buckeye?
Buckeye: Let me add that every single trailer was LOUD AS SHIT. Kyra, you correctly noted that an absurdly enthralling time was in store based on volume level alone. The people want it loud, and the projection man in the back cranked everything up to eleven, which is the only level at which you can truly appreciate the debauched bombardment of slickness that is Fast Six. I’ve been trying to think about what separates Fast & Furious from all the other shoot-em-up blockbusters featured in the trailers, and I think I’ve got two points. First is something Kyra alluded to above; that once Justin Lin took over the franchise with Tokyo Drift, the third installment, he and the cast decided to refuse to include anything in the movies that wasn’t insanely ridiculous. Dom and Hobbs and Letty don’t just jump; when characters in Fast Six jump they ignite invisible rocket boosters in their shoes and leap either out of a moving plane and into a moving car or from one lane of the highway to another when those two lanes are separated by a cavernous gorge. Seriously, both those things happened. What’s great is that the movie knows it’s okay to laugh your ass off, and this makes the series more entertaining than your typical action comedy bro-off. Second, and I hesitate to discuss acting in regards to Fast Six, is Vin Diesel. Vin Diesel speaks really slowly, and whether or not that’s a conscious choice it’s actually a huge asset, because his dialogue oddly helps to mellow the chase sequences and make them more coherent. Would you say Vin Diesel is a strength, too?
kyra: Would I say Vin Diesel is a strength? Is a pig’s pussy pork? While the original movie may have used Paul Walker as the hero of the story, Dom Toretto is the moral center. His constant refrain of believing and supporting family even when they may turn their back on you (as is the case in Fast Six, where somehow Michelle Rodriguez’s memory has been completely wiped while she remains capable of fighting at a black belt level and retains her vast knowledge of cars) is the take home message of the movie. As the villain Owen Shaw points out, Dom’s loyalty to his family is his weakness. But Dom shows him this weakness is actually a strength! Damn that is brilliant writing. Vin Diesel is obviously one of the reasons you go to see a Fast & Furious movie, but I want to point out that the addition of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in Fast Five to the cast has taken the series to new heights. He is so fucking jacked he makes Diesel look like a shrimp, and he simply has a commanding presence every time he speaks. I know that I feel safe with Luke Hobbs protecting America’s borders.
Buckeye: Luke Hobbs is not a person, he is a living monument to patriotism. Literally, the dude is a goddamn monument; he’s ripped and round and has a shaved head…basically Michael Chiklis, only twenty times taller and with a rocket launcher. There’s a scene in which Hobbs grips a British cop’s hand so hard that my own hands practically broke. There’s an earlier interrogation scene starring Hobbs, too, with the twist being that it’s not an interrogation scene: Luke Hobbs absolutely does not interrogate, okay. He throws the poor schlub through a glass table, into the wall diagonally across with room with one hand, and upwards into the ceiling—that’s how he gets his info. I don’t want to keep issuing these disclaimers, but again, this shit actually transpired.
Like Kyra I also want to speak to Fast Six‘s symbolism and deeper meaning. We chatted after leaving about the dexterity of the script; Letty (Rodriguez) has two fights with another character, and the first go-around you’re rooting against Letty (who, because the coma erased her memory, works for Shaw), but by the second incarnation Letty is back with Dom and his “family” while her opponent has turned heel. I’ll say that if you’re not looking for sagaciousness in the Fast & Furious series, you are missing out. When you can glean wisdom from a fight that’s occurring in a cargo plane barreling down a runway while five cars have hooked harpoons into the side of said cargo plane, well, there’s nothing more you can really ask for. Kyra, how fucking long was that runway?
kyra: During one particularly gripping scene, cars are chasing an airplane trying to get off the ground on a runway. I kid you not the runway would need to be the length of the United States to sustain the amount of time they were chasing it. But in the world of Fast & Furious, we just let these things slide.
Speaking of symbolism, I enjoyed a speech given by the villain, Shaw, early on in the movie that’s meant to show how he thinks. One of Shaw’s men (supposedly unbeknownst to him) has been turned by the Feds and is now returning to home base to show them Shaw’s whereabouts. The double agent finds Shaw tugging at some lugnut or something (in every non-action scene a character is using a wrench to tighten something because apparently these bolts get very loose!) and he removes one small part to replace it with something else. Shaw points out that it’s amazing how one small piece can ruin the entire car. OH MY GOD, IT’S A METAPHOR! He realizes that this guy must have been turned while he was in police custody! The director Lin has now taught us an important lesson early on in the movie: you gotta get up preeeetty early to pull a fast one on Owen Shaw. I appreciate that Lin allows me to figure that out for myself rather than spell it out LOL.
Buckeye: It’s odd to say this, but there are few movies out there with more respect for their audience than Fast Six. Lin has total trust in the viewer when it comes to discerning Owen Shaw’s motivations. By allowing us inside the (master)mind that is Owen Shaw, Braga’s observation that “you only get close to Owen Shaw if he wants you to” has extra resonance with us. That Braga (the villain from the fourth installment and the guy who successfully disguised Letty’s death) could impart such a striking observation was made possible only because Brian O’Conner flew from London to LA himself in order to break himself into prison and get a face-to-face meet. In all seriousness, though, Fast Six does respect the viewer immensely, because it knows what it is and knows what it isn’t; that’s more than you can say about most pictures out there. So many movies are parts of trilogies these days, but to quote Vin Diesel, Fast & Furious is a TRILOGY OF TRILOGIES. Kyra, Vin Diesel is blowing my mind with this shit—you too?
kyra: Without a doubt. In the HBO sneak preview of Fast Six, which I highly recommend everyone watches even if they’ve seen the movie already (and credit to Toosh for showing me), the opening remarks come from Diesel. Vin is sitting on a stool in front of a Fast Six banner, typical DVD extras stuff, when he gives the greatest quote of all time. He says, “when we finished shooting Fast Five, we just knew there was so much story left to tell.” Amen brother. I am ecstatic to hear that we have another another THREE movies in store, and the movie has me chomping at the bit for more with the way they reveal the villain for flick 7 after the credits. I won’t spoil it here, but INCREDIBLE CHOICE. In the words of Bart Scott, can’t wait.
[kyra addendum]: I wanted to add one more thing that is a classic feature of movies like this. Namely, the villain is seeking to steal a chip that ‘could be worth billions if it fell into the wrong hands.’ Somehow everyone buys into the premise that this one piece of equipment alone is enough to fell nations. I love it.