Fast 6: The Mash-Up
A version of this review appeared here, while quoting an article which spoiled a lot of the film. This is the more-detail-less-spoiler version.
Fast 6 is beautifully shot [for the genres it’s in], averagely edited, truly awfully wonderful.
You know how when you finish watching a TV series, you can go to YouTube and find dozens of mashups set to pop music? Well if you don’t want to admit it; trust me, they’re there. The opening credits of Fast 6 is a professionally edited one of those.
First, I loved it. Second, everything from the shots chosen to editing style to the font to the music used (possibly the most obvious choice ever, but it works) shows how well this franchise knows its audience and modern trends.
The movie also understands its place in the age of armchair critics and instant digital sharing. It not only calls out its own shortcuts, such as creating a team of bad guys who match the Fast crew pound-for-pound and melanin-for-melanin, it revels in them. Its payoff moments – such as the trademark jump punches and The Rock shooting a vending machine – are particularly GIFable, the easier for Tumblrs, my dear.
About a third of the way through the movie I realized they’d given up on even the semblance of realism they’d clung to in Fast Five and just said, fuckit, we’re going bigger. Lin directed an action film, superhero flick, disaster porn, and mini-soap all in one film.
It’s fitting the pre-feature trailers were for films like The Wolverine 3D and Roland Emmerich’s latest offering. Fast 6 says to the audience, “You like that unkillable superhero? Well, ours won’t even BLEED. You think seeing New York covered in water is bad? We’ll show you much prettier vistas with an actual color palette, THEN RUN A TANK THROUGH THEM.”
It doesn’t hurt that Fast 6 combines ideas from my two favorite 90s chase flicks. The franchise is hooks the current generation of young whippersnappers with Ludacris and the soundtrack and the quick cuts, but it started twelve years ago with kids raised on Harrison Ford. It knows its original audience; Michelle Rodriguez and the hat-tips to Speed and Air Force One are its way of saying, ‘we’ve evolved into a franchise unlike any other, but we still remember those of you who were with us in the beginning, and we’ll always have something for you, too.’
While the villain does end up following the recent trend of getting caught before finishing execution his plan, it’s actually more believable here than in Skyfall or Star Trek, because the plan doesn’t hinge upon him getting caught, he has simply made contingency plans in case he does.
Last, it’s hardly a feminist masterwork, but the girl dialog is equally as bad as the boy dialog, and girls have just as much opportunity to race, punch, fix, and shoot things. There’s something to be said for that.