2013-05-24

Fast and Furious 6 – Ridiculous, Fun and Some Sloppy Grace

by Yo Snyder

When you go to a Fast and Furious movie, what do you expect
to see? Well, you expect to see some fast cars doing some furious things. The
Fast and Furious movie franchise has always understood that the cars come first
and the people come second. Well in Fast
and Furious 6
, the people are almost extensions of the cars. What do I mean
by that? I mean they go just as fast and do just as man furious things. They
race, fly through the crash and tumble and get right back up to do it again in
even more spectacular fashion. These aren’t people any more (if they ever
were), they’re cartoons. If Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner chased each other
in cars instead of just running around, they would end up looking exactly like
this movie; which is to say ridiculous…but fun.

These movies have always been over-the-top, however, for
whatever reason, I just felt like this one went past the tipping point. Now,
there’s no denying that the action is impressive and spectacular, but the
cartoonish nature of how nothing ever seemed to harm these characters got to be
a bit much after a while. I was half expecting to see someone get flattened by
a speeding car, peel themselves up off the pavement, re-inflate themselves, and
continue with the chase. There’s a point about mid-way through the movie when
the ridiculousness of what happens to the people just goes too far, and the
rest of the movie is…well, a cartoon from that point on. You’ll know it when
you see it. Instead of cheering for what was obviously supposed to be a moving,
heroic moment, in my screening people were laughing that the ridiculousness of
it all. It’s hard to take anything else seriously after that point, and the
final action set piece loses any sense of danger because by that point you know
that no matter what happens, these characters can’t be killed…unless maybe they’re
Dipped (see Who Framed Roger Rabbit if you don’t understand that reference).

The other problem I had is another one that’s been with the
series from the beginning; the fact that I’m rooting for the bad guys because
even though they’re criminals, they’re basically “good people”. After all, they
have a strong sense of family, they have a code they live by, and they always
pray before a meal. That last element seemed particularly dissonant to me this
time around. We just watch these people ignore any law, saw them put people
into harm’s way, and basically do whatever it was they felt like to get the job
done (without violating they’re so-called code, of course), and then at the end
of it all they sit down and pray because that makes everything ok. Now look, I’m
not denying that God’s grace covers all our sins, all of our law breaking and
living life on our terms. But this display, and the fact that it happens in
every film, is the very definition of “sloppy grace”. It’s the epitome of the
idea that “I can do whatever I want and live the way I want and just ask for
forgiveness later and God’s grace has to take care of it.” Well, Paul had some
interesting things to say about that in Romans. “What shall we say then? Shall
we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” (Romans 6:1-2) The
author of Hebrews tells us that if we accept that God has died for our sins,
but then assume that his grace gives us a free ticket to go on sinning all we
want, “To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting
him to public disgrace.” (Hebrews 6:6) Do you get that? We disgrace Christ when
we take his grace and abuse it by taking advantage of it. We crucify him all
over again. In fact, it’s probably worse than that, “If we deliberately keep on
sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is
left…” (Hebrews 10:26) In other words, God already did everything possible to take
care of sin, but if we keep on living a life of sin even after we acknowledge
that, what else can he do? Now there’s all sort of theological debates we can
get into with all of that, but for this discussion I’ll make it simple. I don’t
think it shows any kind of respect, regard, gratefulness or love to God to the
live the criminal life, be proud of it, and then ask for God’s blessing before
eating. If anything that’s insulting. If anything that’s disregard for God’s
great gift of grace. And it certainly does mean these bad guys, who admittedly
aren’t as bad as the badder guys in the film, are suddenly good guys just
because they like to pray at the end of it all.

To be honest, I really liked Fast 5. It was a fun action romp where no brain activity on the
part of the viewer is required. For the most part, Furious 6 is pretty much more of the same, but even with my brain
turned off, it was still telling me some of the stuff happening was so
ridiculous that even in its off mode it couldn’t accept it as even being
fictionally plausible…unless I was watching a cartoon. I told it I was watching
a cartoon…that just happened to be live-action. That’s really the best way to
approach this film.The REAL stars I still had fun with it, just not as much as I did with Fast 5. Plus, this one does some things
with the franchise’s timeline that makes it more convoluted than the X-Men
Universe in the ‘90s. It’s creative, in its way, how it loops things together
and rewrites some history, some of it to make yet another sequel happen. Fast
and Furious 6 is a film where you should pretty much know what you’re in for
long before you get to the theater. This is one is the most over-the-top,
ridiculous one yet. The action is spectacular, the cars are awesome, and that
makes it fun. This is pretty much what I pictured when I played with my Hot
Wheels in elementary school. Back then it seemed impossibly awesome. However,
seeing played out on the big-screen right in front of me instead of in my
imagination, I have to admit it’s actually a bit silly. Maybe, unlike this
series, I’ve actually grown up a bit in recent years.

Score: 5 of 7 – I was
leaning towards a 4 on this, but I did have fun with it. Silly, fun, but fun
nonetheless. There is some language, lots of cartoonish violence, and some mild
sensuality in a couple spots. Really not for kids. However, all those crashing
cars and crazy stunts certainly reminded me of my Hot Wheels adventures when I
was a kid.