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From the very beginning, the Fast & the Furious franchise has always been the very definition of guilty pleasure. High art it ain't, but it's undeniably fun. What has kept the franchise alive, however, has been its willingness to evolve. While the original was essentially a remake of Point Break, by #3 it was focused on the racing, and then starting with the fourth film it took a giant step in reinventing itself - Fast & Furious as a heist franchise. Fast Five was arguably the best in the series so far, with the whole gang back together as well as the addition of Dwayne Johnson.
Fast and Furious 6 (or just "Furious 6" as shown in the film) continues in the vein of the previous film, but cranks up the outrageousness. This works both for and against the film. The action scenes are fun, exciting, and adrenaline-filled, but they grow increasingly more outrageous and at times seriously stretch your ability to suspend disbelief, soliciting more than a couple eyerolls. The involvement of the gang in this mission is questionable from the beginning. They have the knowledge and talent when it comes to cars, but somehow they're also meant to hold their own in gunfights and such against miltary-trained personnel.
The movie balances its lasrge cast very well. Every character has their moments and none feel short-changed in this movie. There's not a weak link in the cast. Well, I guess one... New this time around are Gina Carano as Hobbs' right-hand woman, and Luke Evans as the villain. Evans fits well, and plays his part without going too over-the-top. Carano, on the other hand... well, the woman can certainly fight, but she can't deliver even a single line of dialogue convincingly. I take back everything I ever said about her being a good choice if they ever make that Wonder Woman movie. Beyond that, everything is just as it should be - the action, the humor, the cars, the music... it all adds up to a blast of a movie, even if it is a bit unbelievable.
The ending tag scene left me a bit conflicted. On the one hand, the movie kind of tied up the series nicely and made a nice conclusion, but then they go and open it up for the next sequel (and I imagine not the last). I'm all for more of these movies, but only if they can continue to evolve and stay fresh without just being rehashes.
Where does this rank in the series? I'll have to see it again to be certain, but it's definitely top 3, up there with 1 and 5.