Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2013. Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Original Film, One Race Productions, Dentsu, Fuji Television Network, Universal Studios, F & F VI Productions A.I.E.. Screenplay by Chris Morgan, based on characters created by Gary Scott Thompson. Cinematography by Stephen F. Windon. Produced by Vin Diesel, Neal H. Moritz, Clayton Townsend. Music by Lucas Vidal. Production Design by Jan Roelfs. Costume Design by Sanja Milkovic Hays. Film Editing by Greg D’Auria, Leigh Folsom Boyd, Dylan Highsmith, Kelly Matsumoto, Christian Wagner.
Paradise is everything but exciting, so it’s no surprise when the group that made off with such a huge payload in part 5 are ready to jump back into the hot seat. Vin Diesel is sure that he has nothing to say to DSS hotshot Dwayne Johnson, but when Johnson shows up at his house with photos of Michelle Rodriguez, who has been believed dead for about two sequels, Diesel starts assembling the gang. Now they’re working for the law and not against it, helping the feds track down a former military man turned nasty mercenary (Luke Evans) who is out to steal a computer chip whose tactical importance is a matter of national security (they explain it better in the film, I can’t say that I totally understood what they were talking about, suffice it to say it’s the MacGuffin). The crew agree to do the job in exchange for complete pardons for past crimes, but they have no idea what they are in for when it turns out that Evans can predict their every move and, even more important, they have to go after him carefully given that he has Diesel’s girlfriend as his second in command. The reunion begins in London and goes as far as Spain with a number of car chases in heavily populated cities whose pedestrians all manage to stay home on the nights these guys decide to compete illegally on public roads, but turn your brain off and enjoy every scene before the stunning climax on an airport runway that is the best executed action sequence in the series yet. After a number of spotty adventures that are never indulgently fun enough, director Justin Lin finally gets the flavour right in the best film since the delightful original, smartly letting stars Diesel and Paul Walker handle the plot necessities while leaving all attempts at charisma and charm to their far superior co-stars. Sturdy visual effects and a gleeful abandonment of any semblance of realism also help sell the film as bold escapism, plus it’s nice to have Rodriguez return as hers was a feminine element that Jordana Brewster couldn’t hold up on her own (and which Gal Gadot, who is better than both, is never given enough opportunity to match).