It’s not that one expects a David Mamet script in a Fast & Furious movie, it’s just that the previous film was so darn entertaining and fun, one expects its follow up to be at least as fun and interesting. Fast & Furious 6 is a Lamborghini Murciaglo with the engine of a Maruti Alto and the tyres of a Bajaj Chetak – a ghastly contraption that starts last on the grid and gets totalled on the first lap. Director Justin Lin, who made the previous three films returns for his fourth and final stab at the franchise and sadly leaves with a whimper instead of a skirt blowing engine roar. Lin makes the whole gang return - Diesel, Walker, The Rock, Gibson and even Michelle Rodriguez is back from the dead with a plot twist that shames 80’s Hindi cinema. They’re all back, but they have no idea what to do apart from standing around and looking masculine and overtly thoughtful while a thunderstorm of clichés swathes them.
The sixth film picks up a few days after the events of Fast 5. Toretto (Diesel) and his gang of retired criminals are sucked back into lawlessness when his ex-girlfriend is found to be in league with another gang of street racing thieves. Once the masterpiece of a plot is built in the opening scene, precisely fifteen minutes of action is what you get coated with two hours of drama where everyone takes each other seriously. Infuriatingly, every single one of those action sequences have been given away in the trailers, a whole highway chase is already available online and one can’t help but wonder about the size of the doobies that pass around in Hollywood. Even if you somehow managed to avoid seeing the trailers, you’ll be disappointed with the action. Hyper editing, quick cuts and engine noises were cool back in 2001 when the original film came out, to repeat the same shtick for the sixth time without bringing anything new to the table is just lazy filmmaking. There is one fun airborne stunt on a bridge but it has nothing on the drift races in the third film or even the drag races from the original. The previous installment had some badass hand to hand combat between The Rock and Diesel – this time there is a catfight between Gina Carano and Michelle Rodriguez that is so badly choreographed it makes the mitten fight between Monica and Rachel seem more sophisticated and thrilling.
The filmmakers save the worst for the last, a never ending chase scene on an airport runway that could only be 15 kilometers long, as a final lump of cheese on a greasy but tasteless hamburger of a film. Tyrese Gibson provides minor comic relief but most of the jokes range from the elegance of Sajid Khan’s repertorie to the panache of Shirish Kunder’s tweets. The only parts where the film really works is when it wears its stupidity on its sleeve. Although at times it feels like Lin is trolling us – the British special ops honcho is named ROFLS. A slight glimmer of hope is provided by Jason Statham who makes an entry and establishes himself as the antagonist of the 7th film – a bold career move for Statham, seeing as we have never seen him drive, shoot or punch on screen before.
(First published in MiD Day)