Breaking down ‘Fast & Furious 6’

Fast-Furious-6-Official-Super-Bowl-Spot-2013-Trailer-1080P-Hd“Ride or die, remember?”

Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) poignantly summed up “Fast & Furious 6” with those four words.

In this installment, the crew’s commitment to this motto is tested when a bad man named Owen Shaw makes Toretto’s old — and previously deceased — flame, Letty Ortiz, part of his criminal alliance.

The government is after Shaw because he is one chip away from securing the kind of technology that would make him a real threat to kill everyone on earth.

Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), who is a CIA agent who appears to have been created in a lab, uses the intel about Letty being alive and a member of Shaw’s group to bait Toretto and his gang into working alongside the government.

The story works, but since they’re working together, we don’t get a second part to the Hobbs-Toretto war from “Fast Five.” Had that fight taken place between the actors in real life, it would have lasted about eight seconds.

Toretto’s crew working with law enforcement is another letdown. These guys are supposed to have a code. A part of me wants to say Letty would have chosen death before she allowed them to go back on the ideology that shaped their lives.

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The writers get a little ambitious with the plot, but “Fast & Furious” fans are smart enough to handle it.

In the end, I’m not sure anyone has ever backed up the ride or die motto harder than this crew of gear-heads does in “Fast 6.”

I didn’t come in to “Fast 6” with the highest of expectations. “Fast Five” was our generation’s “Citizen Kane.” At the very least, I wanted number six to fall into the “Apocalypse Now” range. It did.

The clear winner of this film — and life in general — is Vin Diesel. Half of his lines are basically indecipherable. You have to speak Diesel to understand what he’s trying to say. It’s likely intentional but not an act.

If anything, they just took the governor off the Diesel mobile, which allowed him to almost completely eliminate the lines between Vin Diesel and Dom Toretto.

I look forward to hearing more about Diesel’s process for “Fast 6” when he appears on “Inside the Actors Studio.”

While the movies would limp without him, I honestly don’t know how Toretto isn’t dead yet. He should have died around three or four times in this movie. And let’s be real: that isn’t a spoiler. If you were expecting a Toretto death then A) how dare you and B) never.

If the franchise does decide to kill off Toretto, they’re going to have to dedicate a movie to it. You can’t just shoot him a few times in the chest — no one will believe that. It’s going to take advanced weaponry that hasn’t been invented yet to take down Toretto in a semi-conceivable fashion.

Paul Walker’s performance is almost as gripping. He shows range many didn’t know existed, like he’s hitting from 35 feet away from the basket with a hand in his face. Swish.

When Walker comes up in conversation, people always say, “I can’t even name another movie he’s in!” Well, Daniel Day-Lewis isn’t in that many movies either.

Walker has transformed into the Brian O’Connor character. There’s no evidence to support it, but I’m pretty sure he’s method — only for the O’Connor role, though. I’d speculate he does those other low-rent movies to help support his rock star lifestyle.

The Walker-Diesel scenes are powerful, and it’s special to see those two still together after all these years. However, it’s the whole ensemble cast that made it another grand slam in the “Fast & Furious” series.

The movie is tailored to the original fans. There are callbacks and references to the old days that hit home to those of us who were there back when Brian O’Connor was Brian Spilner.

To nail the nostalgia effect, they could have included a “fallen soldiers” scene in the film that honored Jesse and Vince, but 130 minutes isn’t much to work with. This thing could have easily been extended by two or three hours.

At one point, it’s mentioned that the group has come a long way from robbing trucks full of DVD players. Yeah, they have. It’s hard not to get emotional while seeing them dismantling an aircraft with their muscle cars.

After six runs, this franchise remains a 10-second car.

Also, a heads-up: there’s a post-credits scene. It comes quickly and hits you like a bat-to-the-face from Frank Thomas.



**** (4/5 stars)