Unless you feel the need for speed -- and a lot of crash-boom-bang -- there's not much else in the tank for "Fast & Furious 6," the latest movie in the high-octane action franchise starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson.
In a nutshell, even action movie fans have a have a high tolerance for stupidity going into No. 6. While there is plenty of action, the acting is almost non-existent and the dialogue is horrible. This is a summer popcorn movie to the extreme, and clearly not a lot of thought went into this, apart from the choreography of some clearly dangerous and often spectacular vehicle stunts.
The opening credits for "Fast & Furious 6" bring us up to speed on what's transpired through the first five films, and then finds Dominic (Diesel), Brian (Walker) and their crew scattered across the globe as fugitives -- but living large -- after pulling off a $100 million heist in No. 5.
All roads, though, lead back to Dominic's lady love Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), presumed dead after the fourth "Fast" film. Turns out Letty is alive but not entirely well, since she's suffered complete memory loss and working for Shaw (Luke Evans): the ruthless mastermind behind an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries.
Dominic is so desperate to get Letty back that he's willing to work with CIA agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and assemble his team of drivers in London to bring him down before Shaw executes a major plan. As a payoff, Dominic, Brian and the rest of crew will get pardons so they can return home to the U.S.
See my review of "The Hangover Part III" on "KARE 11 News at 11" with Diana Pierce below.
If "Fast & Furious" has anything going for it besides its cool cars, pedal-to-the-metal action scenes and human eye candy (the women are all hotties and the dudes are all ripped), it's often laugh-out-loud funny, but in a so-bad-its-good sort of way. At least the film's stars have all been in the business long enough to realize they're in on the joke -- and parody is something they apparently think they can get away with following the runaway success of No. 5, one of the biggest films worldwide in 2011.
Director Justin Lin is in the joke, too, and is clearly starting to think the "Fast & Furious" franchise belongs in the superhero genre. After all, it's not often where a driver, much less several, can emerge from a violent, multiple rollover on pavement without a scratch. Oh, they all have the ability to successfully leap from one vehicle to the next in a single bound, too.
As you might gather, "Fast & Furious 6" doesn't require much thinking, but rather reacting to what's happening on screen. So, if you're a fan of the first five films and your sole objective is to be entertained, the movie will be a real gas. For the rest of us, the time can't come soon enough for the franchise -- which will undoubtedly continue -- to get into the garage for a serious overhaul.
"Fast & Furious 6," Rated PG-13, 1 star out of four.
See the trailer for "Fast & Furious 6" below.
What other local critics are saying ...
Chris Hewitt of the Pioneer Press gives the film 3 stars, saying, in an era of digital effects, it exhilarating to see the stars of the film "leap from a moving car to a moving tank or drive around a twisty mountain pass or even just speed around their London headquarters."
Colin Covert of the Star Tribune says in his 3 star review that No. 6 is "without a doubt one of the top six 'Fast & Furious' movies."
Bring Me The News film critic Tim Lammers is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and annually votes on the Critics Choice Movie Awards. Locally, he reviews films on “KARE 11 News at 11” and WCCO Radio. As a feature writer, Tim has interviewed well over 1,000 major actors and filmmakers throughout his career and his work is syndicated nationwide.