What a ride it has been, what started as a couple of burglars (and a cop) from Los Angeles has morphed into a multinational crew of mercenaries, pulling off the biggest heists with the best vehicles. From Toyotas and Chevys to giant trucks and tanks, the series is bigger, grander, and more, explosive. At this point, every one who sees this should know exactly what to expect. Universal knows the audience well, continuing off what ‘Fast Five’ did for the franchise and cranking the intensity ever so delicately, adding bigger vehicles to the destruction and bringing in more actors to facilitate the evolution of the Furious.
Speaking of new characters, we see the return of Mr. Nobody, played effortlessly by Kurt Russell, as well as Scott Eastwood as the protégé Little Nobody. Honestly, Kurt Russell is the best actor in this movie, never the stranger to cheesy action movies, he plays the role of Mr. Nobody with a wink of his eye and a demeanor that says, “stand back, let me show you how it’s done.” The fact that he is so laid back and cool goes to show he can add a touch of dry wit, lightening the mood and continuing the vibe of joviality lesser franchises lack in favor of edge-overload. Scott Eastwood is without a doubt the replacement Paul Walker, which is fine, his death opened up a roster spot for someone who was not down with the gang’s antics but eventually goes along with the mayhem. The spin on Eastwood is the subversion of the laconic characteristics his dad was known for and instead he looks like a fish out of water, the new guy.
On the topic of new additions, the main antagonist Cipher played by Charlize Theron was, milk-toast. It was an often-Marvel/Suicide Squad villain level of uninteresting. It was not anything Charlize did, it was more of the scenes in the movie where she was supposed to be menacing had to cut to a different shot since it’s PG-13. On the other hand, Jason Statham’s extended appearance gave him ample opportunity to chew scenes with Dwayne Johnson. Their back and forth shenanigans set this movie off in the long line of kooky action movies. Not only that, Deckard (Statham) gets in touch with HIS family as we see mama and brother Shaw round out the plot of ‘Fast and Furious 6’.
One aspect I will give the current run of Furious credit for is the exclusion of the set-up; we do not need to see where the squad came from, or other tertiary scenes of plot that would only bog down the movie with exposition dumps. I noticed this in Fast Five where Brian and Dom roam the streets of Brazil and challenged the other drivers to a race. This allows extended action or, *heartfelt scenes* to continue for as long as needed or desired. A movie like ‘Ghost in the Shell’ spent an obscene amount of time in dialogue with a snippet of action every few minutes, this works within the genre of a character drama, where the action acts as a release to the tension of the scene. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, ‘Dredd’, and ‘The Raid’ are perfect examples of action movies that showed exposition during the talky scenes, and pick up the action immediately; even the opening scenes of ‘Dredd’ and ‘Fury Road’ begin with high octane moments of chase.
In conclusion, I smell another change of scenery in the Furious franchise, while the series has had a revolving door of characters, the main core of the squad were always there to bring them all together. Now that Paul Walker is gone and the squad has no where else to go but space, what is the next move? Will it become Dwayne Johnsons franchise? Regardless, I could live without another Wiz Khalifa song inserted in the beginning or end.