We’re a long way from the grease-stained cred (such that it was) of this series’s 2001 originator, a movie with a lunkheaded charm about it. Now most of the stunts are digital and the pleasures are video-game-stupid: Cars pounce like panthers over demolished bridges; they get flattened by a tank; they dangle like tin cans off a just-married bumper (if that bumper were a Russian cargo plane). None of it makes any sense, except within the high-octane logic of blowing stuff up onscreen. And, in case you’re wondering, sometimes that can be entertainment enough: Slack-jawed euphoria shoots like nitro through the film. (Please be careful in the parking lot afterward.)
Is it beside the point to mention there are actual human beings in here as well? Scratch that: They’re sort of human, but buffed to a faintly unrealistic sheen. Dwayne Johnson lugs around that ridiculous upper torso as an international supercop, while the agile Gina Carano trades roundhouse kicks with perpetual sneerer Michelle Rodriguez, her character revived from the dead as an amnesiac. (Don’t worry; no one’s keeping tabs in the audience.) Muscle-teed Vin Diesel remains the criminal gearshifter at the heart of the mayhem, and even though he’s unfairly saddled with a Heat-like verbal showdown about competing “codes” with Furious 6’s terrorist villain (Luke Evans), his grumbly stoicism still gets good mileage. Don’t think too hard about it.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf
Cast and crew