I try not to be snooty about films, Part 1: Fast & Furious 6

I try not to be snooty about films because that really isn’t the kind of film fan I want to be, but sometimes I can’t help myself. It is my firm opinion, for example, that anyone who rated Man of Steel really can’t have a valuable opinion on anything. (Conversely I am highly fond of Jason Statham and The Transporter films but that probably doesn’t work as any kind of defence.)

Generally I try to give films a go before I write them off as I did with the Transformers and Twilight series, both of which I decided I was done with about one and a half movies in. I’d decided not to bother with any of the Fast & Furious films though before I’d even seen thirty five frames.

I’m not sure what changed my mind here. It wasn’t just checking myself on being a film snob because there are still a whole load of Adam Sandler films I’m still not going near. (See Part 2) Certainly the films have been on my mind following the coverage of Paul Walkers tragic death but it might just as much have been the news that fellow series cast member Gal Gadot has secured the coveted role of Wonder Woman in the Man of Steel sequel (see, I’m totally inconsistent). Either way I decided to give Vin Diesel and his gang a go.

Then of course I needed to decide where to start. I had read that the franchise didn’t really kick in until number four so that allowed me to cash in a 50:50 right away. Ultimately I decided charity starts at home so I got hold of the largely London set final film. I think this is the first time I have watched a sequel before its predecessors since Aliens but I’m particularly late to the party on this one.

Well the good news is I really quite enjoyed it. Sure it’s no Transporter, it does star Jason Statham for a start but it is a lot of fun. The plot is clunky and the script is pretty ripe but the characters are likeable, especially Walker and Gadot’s and the action scenes are just great.

It is the fast and furious car chases that these films are famous for and these did not disappoint. In a very early moment bad guy Luke Evans is zooming around our capital in some kind of sleek black little Formula 1 number. This car is like a flatter version of Batman’s tumbler but with a ramp on the bonnet it goes under other vehicles rather than thundering over the them. Of course any car that is under cut by this little dragster is sent impressively flying and twisting into the air. I’m sure I’ve seen this particular defensive vehicular design before, I think it was on Robot Wars.

For reasons I don’t feel any need to get into, Vin is soon entering a road race around The Strand, Westminster and Piccadilly. When I am watching car chases in other films I tend not to question the whereabouts of the other traffic but when you see this happening in a location you know you realise how preposterous they all must be. I’ve been in those parts of the city at all times of the night and in reality the congestion is such that you’d be lucky to reach speeds of 10mph, let alone 100. Still, it all looks good and it always great to see your town in the movies even if the screen is rose tinted.

Then later on, this time on Spanish soil there is another chase involving the villain in a tank and a total abandonment of the laws of physics. Luke Evans’ character, having been a man of precision before, is now inexplicably running roughshod over any motorist he can catch in his caterpillar treads. Cars are crumbling like a Cadbury Flakes at the merest touch until he catches one with one of our heroes in. This dude’s car is pushed down the highway, chassis in tact, until he can jump to safety. Incidentally Luke Evans was lucky to get The Hobbit when he did. He is good in Fast and Furious 6 but you can see a career playing second fiddle to Vin Diesel, Gerard Butler, Danny Trejo and, sooner or later, Jason Statham would have awaited.

The best sequence though is saved until last as Diesel’s hero Dominic Toretto and his entire crew, Brian, Hobbs, Roman, Han, Giselle and Tej are in their motors chasing a plane down a never ending runway. This scene is just great, the action constantly switching from one person to the next, in the plane, behind the plane, under the plane, each of them fighting their own henchman. Each little section is a great sequence in itself but the way that all of the character’s separate high speed struggles are edited together makes it some kind of ensemble action piece.

Ultimately then, hello Fast & Furious, it is nice to meet you, I’m sorry I stayed away for so long. RIP Paul Walker, I think these films are a good thing for you to have left behind and Gal Gadot, I think you’ll be a good Wonder Woman.

I don’t think I’ll go back and watch the other Fast films but I might catch number 7, it does have Jason Statham in it after all. You can imagine how pleased I was to see him turn up at the very end of this one.

Bechdel Test Score = 3

Is this one for the kids?

Fast 6 is a 12A and is on a par with most superhero movies in terms of violence and fruity language. People get shot, blown up and run over but it’s all good fun. There is a little bit of exposed flesh too but I would say it is all fine for anyone 9 and above.

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