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Latest 'Fast & Furious' speeds past plot

Street-racing gang returns in silly but spectacular sequel

May. 24, 2013 - 07:01AM   |  
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, left, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker reunite for another globe-spanning, high-speed adventure in 'Fast & Furious 6.'
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, left, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker reunite for another globe-spanning, high-speed adventure in 'Fast & Furious 6.' (Universal Pictures)
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There’s a lot of gear grinding, tire squealing and fender shredding going down in “Fast & Furious 6,” which is less a film than a bunch of stunts, fights and car chases thinly stitched together by random plot points.

But then, that could describe any movie in this franchise. The stunts, fights and car chases have always been the whole point — and admittedly, that stuff is off the charts in this installment. In fact, the only thing in this film that’s sicker than the action scenes are Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s biceps, bigger around than most people’s thighs.

Johnson plays Hobbs, an agent with the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service. He and his partner Riley (former MMA star Gina Carano) are in Moscow on the trail of a criminal mastermind named Shaw (Luke Evans). What Shaw is doing is wrapped in impenetrable gobbledygook — something about stealing the parts to build a weapon that can paralyze the information grid of entire nations. Or something.

To thwart this nefarious plan, Hobbs must round up Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and their gang of street-racing pals and sic them on Shaw. Why does Hobbs see this as the best possible crisis response option? If you have even the slightest inclination to ask that question, you’re nowhere near this flick’s target demographic.

Dom, Brian and the gang — Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Han (Sun Kang) and Han’s squeeze Gisele (Gal Gadot) — are scattered across the globe after “F&F 5,” in which they became wanted criminals in the U.S.

Hobbs offers them full pardons in return for their help.

Start your engines.

Everyone seems to be in on the joke as the “story” flits around the world and the stunts get crazier, including a long sequence on an elevated causeway involving a massive battle tank.

Why a tank? WHY NOT?

But some scenes have various cast members trying to, you know, act — and these are the most hilarious moments. The best features Dom and his old flame Letty (Michelle Rodriguez, who must have exited the womb wearing that sneery scowl).

Letty was thought to have died in a blast in the fourth “F&F” — but she was only knocked out and got amnesia. Of course.

After some street-race foreplay, they cruise to a secluded area to stare into each other’s eyes and talk about their feelings. The image that came to my mind was of two bricks rubbing together, scraping off bits of loose mortar.

The big finale features a hulking Russian-made transport that’s trying to take off with Shaw and his henchpeople while Dom, Brian and the gang chase it in their souped-up cars, trying to figure out how to stop it.

The scene goes on for 20 thunderous minutes — with the jet lumbering down a runway the entire time. So that runway is what, about 30 miles long?

Ah, well. It’s futile to get riled about the inanity that infuses the “F&F” films, and you can even give them props for never pretending to be anything but inane.

Naturally, the door is left gaping for “F&F 7.” If you don’t immediately bolt this one when the credits roll, a sneak peek reveals No. 7 will feature a stubbled, deadpan action star whose one-note style is almost too perfect for this franchise.■

Rated PG-13 for outrageous vehicular mayhem.

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