"Fast & Furious 6," the latest movie-length '90s hip-hop video from director Justin Lin, is exactly the film you're expecting underneath that title. It's the cinematic equivalent of a triple bacon cheddar burger, except gloriously calorie-free — a fever-circus that tingles your eyeballs and then evaporates like midday rain.
There will be no persuading you that this is worthwhile if you're not already of a mind to watch crazy-ass stunts performed at high speeds on crowded, cloistered streets. That's fine. Fast, furious sequels may not be your bag. You may prefer hushed drawing-room dramas in which dowagers with floating chins recite lines that contain more than one meaning. The rest of us will continue being drowned out by explosion noises during our "What the — !?" outbursts as tanks drive over oncoming cars and when pro wrestlers leap from London overpasses onto speeding custom-built armored Formula One roadsters while ... whatever, you get the idea: There is no idea, only mayhem.
The running time, at 130 minutes, may seem long for a live-action rendition of Pixar's "Cars," but surely Vin Diesel's diction alone — like the sound of tectonic plates scraping, delivered at half speed — adds a quarter-hour to the film. He's back as Dom, a crook with a heart of chrome, newly retired with his cronies and family in the Canary Islands and scattered elsewhere, avoiding extradition and blowing the wads of cash they heisted from Brazil in the previous film. In Europe, a villain named Shaw (Luke Evans doing his sinister railroad baron impression) is ripping off some dangerous military doodads. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who has some U.S. government job that allows him to do everything whenever he wants, sizes up the threat and enlists Dom's crew to nab Shaw in exchange for a promise of full pardons.
He also shows Dom fresh pictures of his one-time lady, Letty, played by Michelle Rodriguez, thought to be dead since the fourth "Fast." Turns out she was just hurt! And she lost her memory! And now she's working for Shaw! And so Dom has to save the world along with his lady! So, yes, this series has turned into a soap opera for engine-revving bros. Meanwhile its opening-credits montage of highlights from the previous five "Fast" movies gives it the look of this week's episode of an old-fashioned action serial, a la "The A-Team." It may've taken a half dozen installments, but the "Fast" series has finally morphed into junk TV for all tastes.
Stick around past the end, through the safety warning (hahahahaha) and get a load of the coda that promises a seventh "Fast" (due out in 2014). What lies beyond? Only more furious fastness fastly furying into the horizon, filmed from a helicopter, interspersed with low-angle shots of women in bikinis, sprinkled with wisecracks, peppered with gunfire and police chases, punctuated by at least two ludicrously dangerous urban street races, populated by rappers and models — in all, an offshore tax haven for the rational side of your brain. By now it's all a blur, albeit one made of six smaller blurs.