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Release Date: May 24, 2013
Director:  Justin Lin
MPAA Rating: PG-13

The Fast and the Furious franchise is truly impressive.  The first film capitalized on the street racing culture that gained prominence in the early 2000s and was then followed by a pair of less than stellar sequels, 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift; the latter was directed by Justin Lin.  In 2009 something unexpected happened.  A series of films that was merely about racing and honor amongst thieves had morphed into something else.  Justin Lin once again took the helm for a film where the criminals were now facing off against a drug kingpin and the result was a rare sequel that was better than the original.   Not to rest on their laurels they did it again with 2011’s Fast Five, again directed by Lin, where the scale was even bigger, the scope of the story expansive and the car chases were thrilling.  Again a sequel that was better than the original and even better than the last one.  Lin returns once last time and nearly does it again with Fast & Furious 6.

Picking up where the last one left off, everyone has gone their separate ways and living the good life albeit on the lamb.   In Fast & Furious a major character was killed but in Fast Five they are revealed to be alive and well and involved with some serious criminals.  Hobbs returns and recruits Dom and Brian to take down the crime boss and his crew, all of them.  Dom brings the entire team together as they take their particular set of skills to the streets of London and the vehicular mayhem begins.

While not as good or as fun as Fast Five, Fast 6 continues the winning formula that screenwriter Chris Morgan and director Justin Lin began with the fourth film.  The last thing anyone could have possibly expected was that a B movie franchise would find new life in a solidly developed action trilogy.  The latest does not disappoint in the chase department.  There are three great action set pieces in this one with each one getting bigger than the one before.  As in the previous two installments, chases that would have been the end of film can be found in the beginning, middle and end of this one.  A bridge pursuit in the middle is the stand out.  Plenty of destruction and fun while not as good as the safe chase that concluded Fast Five.

No one, well mostly no one, would be coming to see a Fast movie for stellar acting.  The ensemble cast delivers what you’d expect especially since they’ve been together before.  The chemistry and humor is still there and it clearly looks like they’re having a ball doing it all over again.  The original cast knows these parts and slip into them with ease.  Dwayne Johnson returns from the last and nearly steals the film and newcomer Gina Carano, from Haywire, has some great fight scenes.   Luke Evans’ turn as the villain Shaw is pretty good considering the film series.

Lin once again keeps the action fast and the fights furious as he caps off what is being described as the middle trilogy in the Fast saga.  As ludicrous as the stories have been each film since Fast & Furious began has been a fun ride; pure popcorn movies.  This is likely due to Lin’s reinvention of the franchise that continues to garner notice with each new film. The next one is already scheduled for the summer of 2014.  Of note, be sure to stick around during the end credits for a tease of Fast 7. If you are a fan of the franchise, especially of the Lin films then this is a must see.  If you like a good action movie than it’s worth seeing.  Again it’s not as good as the last but definitely the second best in the series.

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