Fast & Furious 6

Year: 2013
Studio: Universal
Director: Justin Lin
Producer: Vin Diesel/Neal H Moritz
Writer: Chris Morgan
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Gina Carano, Luke Evans, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Elsa Pataky

What happens when a car-racing movie becomes a brasher, younger version of James Bond? Test audience reaction to Vin Diesel showing up at the end of Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift convinced Universal to give the franchise one more whip round, and a couple of hundred squillion later, they're still patting themselves on the back for it.

Of course, the only way to top the hard-driving antics of the first few movies was to go upwards, which his why this latest installment is about huge guys beating the crap out of each other and cars tethered to a military cargo plane to stop it taking off rather than just boring old car races.

I'd barely stood up to leave as the credits rolled when I was saying to myself 'that was the longest runway in the world', but I also knew I had no choice but to forgive Universal and director Justin Lin for what must be the most glaring error of logic in the movie. It's pure globe-hopping, gun-fighting, action movie fantasy, where a car thief who grew up on the mean streets of LA can shoot, fight, and remove a bullet from his own body in the sweaty back room of a mechanic workshop without breaking a sweat (in fact, Diesel is so laid back he looks and sounds like he's about to fall asleep at any moment).

The whole overstuffed crew is drawn back together with special agent Hobbs (Johnson) tracks Dom (Diesel) and Brian (Walker) down to tell them they're the only people in the world who can bring down a master criminal in pursuit of some Macguffin explosive device chip (or something).

That means endless budget and resources for them (and Lin to stage it all) while they pursue the bad guys across Europe in a series of increasingly unlikely set pieces that throw any last gasp of realism out the window in favour of thrills. When Dom throws himself across a chasm between two highways on high bridges to catch Lettie (Rodriguez – don't you know that if you don't see a body in a movie they're not really dead?) mid flight, the impact would probably break every bone in their bodies.

It's all balls-to-the-wall (and whipped out to compare measurements) action from one end to the other, with minimal plotting, lots of hot chicks, fast cars and every other bell and whistle you've come to expect. In fact, when the obligatory street race scene appears – complete with girls dancing to rap music everywhere in g-strings, high heels, bikinis and stripper outfits – it's a very quick aside you almost feel like Lin shoehorned in grudgingly, more interested in crashing planes and sending cars careening through the glass lobbies of buildings for the drivers to emerge completely unhurt.

Big dumb fun, upsized to a seam-splitting degree, it's as sweaty, bulging and muscular as Diesel and Johnson's bursting forearms, and has about as much brains.

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