DOM-INANT SPECIES Vin Diesel is back as Dominic Toretto in the heart-punding, adrenaline-pumping sixth edition of the Fast & Furious franchise.
Credit: Universal

Big dumb action movies are a dime a dozen each summer. But really good big dumb action movies — think Predator, Speed, and Independence Day — are rare indeed. So when one of them comes off the Hollywood assembly line and zaps your brain’s less discerning pleasure centers, attention must be paid. Which brings us to Fast & Furious 6 — a borderline ridiculous, over-the-top demolition derby that also happens to be a perfectly constructed low-IQ blast.

I don’t mean to sound dismissive of Justin Lin’s latest entry in the wildly successful F&F franchise. It takes a certain kind of logistical genius to engineer a movie this giddily entertaining, especially six films in. Back in 2001, when Vin Diesel’s chrome-domed ringleader Dom Toretto and Paul Walker’s ex-cop Brian O’Conner first got behind the wheel, no one would’ve guessed that we’d still be invested in a bunch of thrill-seeking grease monkeys more than a decade later. But here we are, happily strapping in for another chapter.

The film kicks off with a tire-screeching chase in the Canary Islands (where Brian and Jordana Brewster’s Mia are new parents) before hopscotching to London and Moscow after the gang is tasked by Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) with nabbing a bad guy named Shaw (Luke Evans) in exchange for pardons. Oh, and one other thing: They’ll also be reunited with the presumed-dead Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who’s risen from the grave (just go with it) and now works for Shaw. Ludacris provides the tech support, Tyrese Gibson the one-liners, Sung Kang and Gal Gadot the sexual tension, and Gina Carano the beatdowns. But let’s be clear: This is the aptly named Diesel’s vehicle all the way. With his croaky foghorn voice that seems to operate on a frequency all its own, he’s the lunkhead heart of the film — especially during its bonkers cargo-plane climax. Trust me, it’s one of the biggest, dumbest, and most electrifying action sequences in ages. Check your brain at the door and fasten your seat belt. B+

Fast and Furious 6
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