As you ponder how to fill your leisure time this weekend, I urge you to spend a couple of hours experiencing one of the greatest artistic achievements of our time: Fast & Furious 6. In fact, when contemplating the most masterful cinematic sagas to ever grace the silver screen, one has no choice but to include Fast & Furious 6 in the discussion. Here is the official updated list of the top movies of all time:
1) Fast & Furious 1 (obviously)
2) The Godfather
3) Fast & Furious 5
4) Citizen Kane
5) Fast & Furious 6
6) Fast & Furious 2
7) Raging Bull
8) Fast & Furious 3
9) Fast & Furious 4
10) Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian
As you can see, the latest installment in this poetic and gripping series easily finds its home amongst the best films ever made. Having only seen the movie three times today, I have not yet fully digested the totality of its meaning and its message. I can tell you that I left the theater shaken, devastated, and inspired. The film challenged me, it changed me, it sent me hurtling into a sort of existential crisis. But when I emerged from the psychological turmoil caused by the indomitable depth of this film, I was a better and wiser person. Much like the first five movies, the plot is complex and layered, and I imagine lesser actors may have been swallowed up by the mature subject matter, difficult themes, allegorical subtexts and controversial social commentaries woven seamlessly into the narrative. Yet the challenge was met handsomely by noted thespians Vin Diesel, the Rock, Tyrese, and Ludicrous. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories of their eccentricities. Much like Daniel Day Lewis or Marlon Brando, these artists utilize a “method acting” strategy, which is fully evident from the raw power of their performances. I’m told, to prepare for the roles, they literally drove to the set in expensive cars every day. That’s the sort of commitment that will make a man into a legend. As a side note, I’m pleased to see how Vin Diesel’s career has hit a prolific stride after its dubious start in a shallow and superficial flop of a movie called Saving Private Ryan.
Should I — mortal that I am — be bold enough to even attempt to dissect the intricate and, in some ways, abstract story line? Before I go further I must warn that there may be some spoilers ahead. The film revolves around a man who, in a startling deviation from common Hollywood devices, is a no-nonsense tough guy outlaw. He is approached by another no-nonsense tough guy to team with other no-nonsense tough guys — mixed in with a few sarcastic and comedic no-nonsense tough guys — to fight another no-nonsense tough guy who is planning to blow something up or kill people or something or whatever. In order to do this, they must drive fast cars quickly. Sometimes, stuff explodes while they’re driving fast. Other times, people shoot guns while they’re driving fast. In one seminal moment, audiences will be no doubt shocked and aghast when the characters drive fast while people shoot guns AND stuff explodes. An audacious twist, but will it pay off? To that I respond in the affirmative, enthusiastically. Some may find the film unsettlingly avante-garde, perhaps too dense and overly impressionistic. Well, admittedly, this movie isn’t made for a mindless and lowbrow crowd. Only learned and intellectual individuals could possibly comprehend it.
Fast & Furious 6, in its trademark fashion, is not afraid to turn familiar narrative constructs on their head, and present something new, something fresh, something that is sure to spark debate and conversation. I found that the film, through its biting cultural critiques and masterful use of symbolism, raised several essential questions: We know that fast cars can drive fast, but can they drive faster? Also, does Paul Walker realize that if not for the Fast and Furious franchise he’d be working as a shift manager at a PacSun? Alas, this is high art, and as such it is interested in posing questions but it leaves you to find the answers on your own.
Through Fast & Furious 6, Hollywood has once again given us something enlightening, engaging and intellectually stimulating. I can’t fathom how they could ever top this. That is, until Fast & Furious 7. I wait breathlessly for its release, which should likely happen within the next 3 months.