Sunday, May 26, 2013

Movie Review: Fast & Furious 6

I learned to drive when I was in Germany in 1985. I was a Junior in High School. We didn't have driver's ed so the dirty job fell to Mom to teach me how to drive. I had absolutely zero desire to learn to drive. As far as I could tell I didn't NEED to drive. I had chauffeurs that took me places I needed to go and if they weren't willing or able then I would stay home and read. I was okay with that. But Mom felt like being able to drive was one of those life skills a person should have. So, she made me learn to drive. It sounds like I'm exaggerating for comedic effect. I wish I were. I really am not.

You know what happens when you walk and do something clumsy or stupid? You fall. People hurt = 1... maybe. You know what happens when you do something clumsy or stupid while driving people can die. I was living in Germany, home of the Autobahn. Do something stupid there and pile ups of dozens of cars can happen hurting or killing gobs of people. I was scared shitless. No kidding. No exaggeration. I was scared of driving because of what might happen. I've got a really vivid imagination. I can vividly imagine the last few seconds of my life, or someone else's due to my carelessness or someone else's carelessness. I'm looking at YOU Michelle Lizio, driving an old yellow VW bug who ran a stop sign and hit the passenger side quarter-panel of Mom's car while she and dad were out of town! I can't remember the names of the last 10 people I hired at work (not all of them, not ANY of them) but I remember her name! That was my only accident ever and it was in 1986, almost thirty years ago.

Now? Now I love to drive. I'll drive anywhere. Need something taken across the country you cover the gas and the hotels and I'll cover the food myself just for the chance to drive it. I'd rather drive than be a passenger. City size doesn't bug me. Interstates don't but me. Construction doesn't bug me. Rush hour doesn't bug me. Having two people tell me directions bugs me but that's because I normally drive by myself and only have to pay attention to the GPS and it doesn't talk.

So, went to see Fast & Furious 6 tonight. This franchise has some good ones and some really bad ones. None of them are great cinema and this one was no different. It will start with a race. It will end with a race and a fight. In between there will be lots of races, some fist fights, capers, and long odds. They're heist movies with fast cars and excellent green-screen drivers. Leaving the movies I want to leap behind the wheel of a performance vehicle and scream through traffic weaving in and out of other cars, hurling my car around corners and clawing through the gears as the engine roars its frustration at not being able to go faster, further, longer. Even the bad movies in the series make me feel like that.

The movies capture that symbol of car as freedom so well. Not freedom like standing on a hilltop while a gentle breeze wafts the smell of distant lilacs to you on a warming updraft as the afternoon sun paints the wildflowers in their multi-hued colors. It captures the freedom of the eagle soaring through the air. It captures freedom of motion, freedom of unrestrained power pouring from the driver and engine and translating into directed movement. They don't trouble themselves too much with how or why. In the most recent one they were trying to stop some one from stealing a "device" that we didn't even know what was until 9/10ths of the way through the movie. "This 3oz chip is worth more than..." No clue what it does. Don't care. They drove fast and they drove furiously. That's what I go to see them do in these movies and they drove the wheels off their green screen cars and I loved the feeling of it.

Acting? I have no idea. I don't know if there was any acting. While they were talking I was mostly waiting for them to stop talking and start driving. That's the glib answer. The honest answer is they aren't actors. Sure, they have that on their business cards, but all of them play the same roles. They play themselves. They manage to do it woodenly in every movie they "act" in and they did the same here. But again, I don't go for the acting. I went for the races, not even the cars as they don't typically survive to be driven more than once. It's to watch the crazy fake driving. And they drove crazily and fakely. Mission accomplished.
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