This is little more than a straight shot of testosterone. The men have it; the cars have it; even the women have it. Director Justin Lin has a cast of he-men, headed by Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, and Michelle Rodriquez, aided by some wannabe he-men like Ludacris and Paul Walker. Walker, Rodriquez, and Diesel have appeared in the Fast and Furious franchise since the beginning in 2001.
But, let’s be honest here, the stars of all these movies are the cars and they are not treated with love and affection. In fact they are all totaled. It’s estimated that the value of the cars destroyed in this film is an eight digit number.
And that explains to whom these films appeal. Come on, who can sit in a theater for over two hours watching one car after another fly through the air and crash on its nose, or being crushed by a tank? Most action films have a few car chases and crashes, but that’s really all these Fast and Furious films are.
There’s no sex in this for men as the women are just as tough as the men. But there are a lot of huge arms on people like Johnson and Diesel, so women might enjoy that.
The penultimate film in this series (as of today; but don’t hold your breath for finale because these are big money-makers), Fast Five (2011), was actually a pretty good film. But this one reverts to little acting, less story, and more car crashes.
The crashes are interspersed with ridiculous fights in which the combatants hit each other with one hydrogen bomb after another with little or no effect, because the person getting the brunt of it just jumps right back up and continues fighting. It’s this display of physical damage with no consequence that I find most reprehensible about these films. Scenes like these not only desensitize people to violence, but they give impressionable minds the notion that violence has no physical consequence. Fights like these do have consequences. Victims don’t just pop up and walk away. Movies that minimize the damage done by brutal fights don’t get a morality pass by rationalizing that they make a lot of money because of the brutality.
But this movie doesn’t pretend to be Shakespeare or wonderful acting or great story-telling or anything other than a bunch of loud cars racing through London and Tenerife in the Canary Islands.
If that’s what you want, this is a wild ride.