Presumably, in 1999, an underling at Universal fingered through the Pokémon cards in his chain wallet with fingers attached to hands attached to wrists clasped in studded bracelets and suddenly, struck with inspiration, exclaimed “Godamnit I will make Limp Bizkit’s Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle) a movie!” Two years later The Fast and the Furious came out and 12 years after that I found myself taking in the experience that is Furious Six (per the opening credits) as part of my nationally renowned 2013 Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Initiative. History, am I right?
Aside from potentially forcing myself to watch the first episode of TNT’s The Hero, Furious 6 is, so far as IMDb is concerned, the end of my New Year’s resolution to watch every theatrical release featuring The Rock. And what a finale it was.
Absolutely nothing about Furious Six, or any of its last three counterparts, should ever have worked. Ever. None of it. They shouldn’t even exist. The original film was as awesome as P.O.D.’s “Boom” and earned its Vin Diesel-less sequel, which in turn should have logically been the end of it all, and yet here we are discussing a Fast and Furious franchise. A franchise complete with a cannon comprised of sequels, prequels and interquels. But here we are.
Furious Six picks up almost immediately after the events of Fast Five. That is a sentence that I just wrote and you just read. While Six never quite reaches the masterful heights of the climactic safe sequence or the Dwayne Johnson/Vin Diesel brawl of its predecessor, it maintains enough of the momentum to easily be one of the franchise’s best entries.
The Rock makes good on the promise he made at the end of Fast Five to find Vin Diesel. Again, that is a sentence I just wrote and you just read. And those aren’t even the characters names. Those are the names of the actors. Furious Six. From there Diesel and The Rock broker a deal wherein Diesel and the gang help The Rock take down some British guy, who I don’t recognize from Game of Thrones and who is really good at cars, in return for full pardons so the fast and furious can return home to America and just be fast.
But wait! There’s more! You didn’t think Vin Diesel would do literally the only thing he does ever for “the man” just to pardon all of his DVD player thefts, did you? No, the kick in the butt Diesel’s Dom Toretto gets to undertake one last job after his last one last job is the news that his angry old lover, the deceased Anna Lucia a.k.a. Michelle Rodriguez a.k.a. Letty is still alive.
The Fast and The Furious movies have been a lot of things, but Furious Six marks the first time the film has blasted through the airplane cargo hold of car-based action movies right onto the flaming tarmac of daytime soap operas. Let’s go down the list; a baby, multiple Hispanic women and amnesia. Days of our Fast and Furious Lives.
Of course the car-based action is there in spades and amped up to eleven. Whether it’s the muscle car v. tank bridge-battle turned gravity-defying romantic leap of faith or the two guys v. one guy v. lady v. lady foot chase/fist brawl throughout the London Underground.
Of course the centerpiece of the entire film is undoubtedly the climactic final action sequence in which Dom and the gang use their loudest, fastest, sportiest, most muscly automobiles to bring down a C-130 cargo plane. The sequence is over the top, action packed and easily twenty minutes long. And those NOS fueled twenty minutes are interesting ones, considering that with the plane and cars moving at a consistent minimum of 60 mph the runway would have to be a minimum of a hundred million miles long, a solid 99 million and change miles longer than the worldwide runway average per wherever I would get that statistic.
It’s an impossibly long runway and an epically long action sequence that goes on far longer than it has any right to and against all odds still holds your attention well after it should. But that hasn’t stopped the Fast and Furious franchise before. Sure the runway should have ended about five minutes into the scene, but the Fast and Furious franchise should have ended immediately after the Vin Diesel-less 2 Fast 2 Furious. Sure the plane should have taken off long before the militia of muscle cars managed to harpoon themselves to its wings, but under absolutely no circumstances should there have been a sequel to Fast and Furious 3: Tokyo Drift, a film that couldn’t even lasso the talent of Paul Walker.
But somehow against all odds the ridiculous final set piece to Furious Six just works. And just like the endless climactic runway, the juggernaut speedster franchise has pressed onward and somehow, six entries and over ten years in, just works. Furious Six is so dumb. It is so freaking dumb. And man was it great.
The 2013 Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson initiative has been an emotional roller coaster ride, from the shitty sons of Snitch to the Channing Tatum of G.I. Joe Retaliation to the glorification of horrific real life murderers in Pain and Gain to the glorification of real life fake car thieves is Furious Six, which was easily the greatest cinematic feat The Rock has cooked up this year, due in no small part to his own breathtaking biceps and perpetually perspiration-prone pecks.
If I’ve learned anything from my impressive undertaking of The 2013 Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Initiaitive it’s a secret and I’m not going to tell you. Nice try. Some will say I wasted my time and money seeing all of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s movies. Some will say I am a really cool dude for being so dedicated to such a noble ideal and that in time the rest of America will join me in the sun. I like to think the second one. With the nobles and stuff.
Only time will tell.
God bless you Dwayne Johnson. You did the Lord’s work in 2013.