BY MICHELLE MEDFORD
Fast & Furious 6 is a movie about fast, shiny cars. If you liked playing with Hot Wheels as a kid making “vroom” sounds, then this may be a movie for you. If you opted for a miniature Barbie doll with your Happy Meal instead, this movie’s got plenty of those too, and they aren’t as stereotypical as Barbie herself.
I see movies like these because my boyfriend likes them and there’s an unspoken understanding that he watches the movies I like with me and I watch the movies he likes with him (but of course, we are happiest when we both agree). Although I didn’t choose this movie, I tried to go in with an open mind. I had already seen the first, second and fifth movies in this series–and maybe the fourth but I don’t remember–and they weren’t bad. But like I said, this movie, like its predecessors, is mostly about fast, shiny cars (because there always so many real-life crime scenarios that require fast, shiny cars to put an end to them, but I digress), so don’t expect much depth. In fact, it seems that this movie and the last have done so well because they have really embraced their lack of depth and focused more on the aforementioned fast, shiny cars, as well as fist fights, explosions and somewhat-witty quips. It’s a good movie, if that’s what you like.
However, one aspect of the movie that surprised me are the female characters. Clearly, the casting prioritized looks over acting ability, however, when looking at the characters themselves, none of them are weak. Yes, that is to say that I did expect them to be weak as I often find they are in action movies that prioritize pretty faces over talent.
I’ll start with the most obvious, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) who is clearly the toughest, most self-assured and equal racing competition to any of the guys in this movie. Then there’s Mia (Jordana Brewster), who is now a mom, but she also still knows how to drive a fast car and handle intense situations well. Then there’s newcomer cop Riley, who often knows more than everyone else and also how to kick ass (Letty is her only true competition, though that being after she knocked down some other guy). There’s also Gisele who is a former special ops agent, so needless to say, she’s pretty sharp and more-than handy with a gun. We also have Vegh on the opponent’s team, who is a key (and deadly) player in chase scenes. Lastly, we have Elena, another cop, who, after her boyfriend Dom leaves her to pursue his first love (we know this early on the film–it’s even in the trailer), doesn’t succumb to weakness but rather lets him leave and stays true to who she is. Although it doesn’t compensate for the film’s lack of depth, it’s a pleasantly surprising and varied cast of female characters.
As far as the rest of the movie goes, I can’t say I laughed when everyone else did and I didn’t “oooh” when someone took at jab at Tyrese (and it happened often), but I can say that in a full auditorium, the audience was very engaged. It was like at a good movie at TIFF, when you know that you’re in a room full of people who are the exact target audience and they are reacting in all the right ways (not that this movie is TIFF-material, but you get what I mean). Although I can’t say that I’ll be watching this movie again, I’m pretty sure that my boyfriend will, right before we head off to see the seventh installment. And after that pretty clever post-credits sequence, I’d bet that everyone who wanted to this movie will be headed to see the next as well.