17. Furious 6

Family… my… ass. I mourned Gisele more deeply at the end of Furious 6 than any of her so-called teammates but Han, who takes his grief to the streets and dies in flames. The rest of them barely care.

Sorry. Let’s start over.

Super-villain Owen Shaw is knocking off military convoys, and, as hulking super-cop Hobbes tells his partner, “if you want to catch wolves, you need wolves.” They recruit Dom Toretto, Brian O’Conner, and their multiracial team of good-hearted stunt-diving heisters. We’ve followed this crew of wolves through movie after movie. They call themselves “family,” and their chemistry clicks so finely that you can’t help but buy it.

Furious 6 (2013) is the family in its prime, fighting a ferocious foe. They’re given bad-ass guns and cars in the first 10 minutes, and briefed on their mission: Bring down Shaw, who smokes the streets in a racer that can throw cars back at pursuers. It’s sick! He drives a speeding tank on the freeway, and fires its cannon into traffic. Ba-DOOOOM! He’s the dark opposite of our heroes. “A team is nothing but pieces you switch out until you get the job done,” Shaw growls silkily at Torreto. “It’s efficient. It works. You’re loyal to a fault. Your code is about family. And that’s great in the holidays, but it makes you predictable.”

He might be right, but in the PG-13-action-movie world, karma counts. Good guys win.

But they don’t get to pick my favorite. Toretto and O’Conner get top billing, but Roman and Tej are funnier, and Gisele (subtly embodied by the great Israeli actress Gal Gadot) is the ice-cool warrior. She’s quiet, smart, deadly. Her looks are a weapon, but so are her guns. She’s Steve McQueen.

And she dies! Sacrifices herself, leaping from a speeding plane to shoot the goon about to kill her love Han, who just goes on to die anyway! The team subsequently celebrates Dom getting amnesia-stricken Letty back, but Gisele was way better than Letty! She was my favorite, and they all barely cared.

This flick is awesome, but damn. It’s cold at the end.



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