As a father, it’s no good telling them what to watch, who to listen to or what to think, you have to guide and encourage them to develop their own tastes.
Sometimes allowing them to choose and going with that choice provides unexpected results. Fast & Furious 6 was one such result.
Many years ago, in a land far far away my daughter discovered the original – the all too similarly named The Fast and The Furious and she enjoyed it, though I must confess it never impinged on my consciousness.
She persuaded me to allow her to buy another in the series on one of our family DVD safari outings and so I saw the third in the series Tokyo Drift, which was fun to watch.
Of course I have since learned that the relationship between the films is as over the top as the films themselves, with characters in state of flux; dying, returning and redeeming themselves in later films like nobody’s business.
The franchise is now somewhat of a ‘guilty pleasure’ for us, leading us to go and watch every iteration in the cinema as they roll, and after six films, we have a pretty good idea of what we’re letting themselves in for.
Shifting things up a gear
In Fast and Furious 6 (the ‘the’s’ became such a drag) the story sees all the usual characters in their life of post heist bliss, living the dream.
Vin Diesel continues to flex his muscles as dedicated do-badder Dominic Toretto and Paul Walker returns as the once cop, turned criminal, (turned cop, turned criminal, turned something else) Brian O’Connor.
This time around there’s a new big name added to the mix in the form of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, just to guarantee a dial-up in the mayhem.
The opening credits give you a whistle stop tour of the story so far, to Tokyo and back again, featuring car chases, guns, explosions and metal on metal by the flipped articulated truck-load.
If you haven’t seen any of the previous films before, here are a six fast and furious pointers:
1) Grand Theft Auto – There are lots of cars. Fast cars. Expensive cars. Cars that are indestructible, Cars that roar and slide and avoid all traffic cameras, pot holes and only just acknowledge the laws of physics. In fact, parts of the film are like Top Gear with a bigger budget and a serious destruction fetish.
2) One big unhappy family – It is not all about racing expensive cars through improbable city locations, it’s about relationships, family and loyalty.
3) Studio magic – Everyone is indestructible unless the plot requires it. Even to the extent that the supposedly dead Letty Oritz (Michelle Rodriguez) stands proudly on the film’s poster very much alive. Plus people pummel each other into a pulp but are able to walk away.
4) Pump up the volume – It is loud, very loud in places.
5) Comic relief – It is very funny. There are some fabulous one liners and a great running joke about baby oil… It made people cheer at the characters’ bravado and jeer at their stupidity as it does combine high octane action and low IQ scripting.
6) Heightened realism – It contains Ludicrous scenes of extended car based stunts that are so totally improbable but believable at the same time. Tanks. On Motorways. The world’s longest runway.
In short, the film is total escapism, loud, funny, thrilling, slickly edited and jaw droppingly action-packed. If it doesn’t hit the spot for you, then question your attitude as although it might not be a potential Oscar-winner, it is exactly what it says on the tin (or hub cap…)
So, allowing my kids to choose what they watch resulted in me taking my daughter (who’s now 20) – Where did the time go? ) to see an advance screening and she loved it and is even planning to go and see it when it goes on general release, several times.
That is where the film works – it has a loyal following and they won’t be disappointed, and are already looking forward to the next episode (which IMDB confirms is already on the cards).
It’s great fun to watch, worth investing an evening in, guaranteed to make you laugh (intentionally or otherwise) and like the Bond films, will spawn further offerings, each brighter and louder than the one before.