I am a bit behind the curve with the ‘Fast and Furious’ series, seeing as how this was the first one I’d watched and it was number 6! I’m tempted to say that it doesn’t matter because they are all the same etc etc, but I think it would have helped me to understand the plot a bit more quickly, in particular the relationships between the gang members and how they came to be living in all quarters of the globe, if I’d seen the first 5. I had to keep asking my co-pilot (teenage son) for background details, which no doubt hampered his enjoyment of the movie more than it did mine.
So the Fast and Furious (which sounds like my old Classics teacher on a fruitless search for my homework!) crew members are recruited by Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to track down a widget in very small, grey metal case. This undefined widget will become the means by which the entire world is obliterated, if it falls into the wrong hands. A hunt develops as Hobbs and the FF gang (lets call them the Goodies) try to catch the other people who have the widget (lets call them the Baddies). As an added complication, a former girlfriend of one of the Goodie gang has somehow become involved with the Baddie gang, but has lost her memory and shoots the guy she used to love. (It turns out she still loves him, but has forgotten). The FF crew will try to get the widget back as long as they are allowed back into the US without being prosecuted; so they must have committed crimes in previous movies.
The main part of the film is then taken up with hunting down the Baddies. The operation is masterminded from a dingy control centre which looks like the cockpit of the Starship Enterprise, even though it is only tracking five individuals, all of whom probably have ‘Find my IPhone’ enabled anyway. There are car chases, fist fights, karate kicks, shooting with bigger and bigger guns, more car chases. It all culminates in a master chase involving people hanging off a Jumbo Jet, ending with the whole thing exploding into flames and someone walking out of the inferno alive and clutching the metal case with the widget inside. I hope I haven’t spoiled the ending.
Special effects and stunts-wise, the movie is extremely accomplished. I couldn’t help paying special attention to Paul Walker though, knowing that he died in a car smash in 2013. He was the passenger in a car which hit a lamppost at over 80 mph. Although movies like ‘Fast and Furious’ provide all-action fun and entertainment, Walker’s appearance is a stark reminder that those metal boxes need to be treated with respect. In real life, people don’t walk away clutching the key to the universe in their hands.