HOLLYWOOD—“Fast and Furious” the fourth installment in the racing saga completely revitalized the franchise.  “Fast Five” amped the action, dialogue and stunts to new heights making it the best in the series, but wait there’s more.  “Fast & Furious 6” is the new installment in the series that reunites all original members of the first picture with the return of Michelle Rodriguez as the back from the dead Letty Ortiz.

I know what everyone is thinking, Letty bid farewell in that tragic car crash in the fourth picture, but with movie magic she has returned.  This was a storyline I was quite skeptical about at first, but the writers find a way to manifest a storyline that is believable to the audience. The movie opens with our primary players enjoying a happy life.  Dominic (Vin Diesel) is a peace with Elena.  His sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Brian (Paul Walker) are learning the hardships of parenthood with their son.  Gisele and Han are enjoying life in the big city of Tokyo, while Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Chris Bridges) are living the life.

The group finds themselves tackling a new heist when they are recruited by Diplomatic Security agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his colleague Riley (Gina Carrano) to take down a former special forces soldier turned bad, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) who is leading a heist gang.  Evans is indeed a daunting foe for the car enthusiasts who find themselves in life or death situations more than once.  Let’s just saw a massive tank and a huge airplane is involved in stunts that will be talked about for days! The spectator might be screaming at the screen, “How’d they do that?”

Mr. Toretto is skeptical at first, but whenHobbspromises Dominic and his crew full amnesty for their crimes, how could they turn down the offer. The Rock and Diesel are both formidable forces in the picture, providing that extra boost of testosterone that will leave car aficionados on the edge of their seat. The action is high-octane, explosive and edge of your seat thrilling. Carrano and Rodriguez bring the female action star to the picture, which is a nice balance for what many would depict a man’s movie. Director Justin Lin who has helmed the last four pictures in the franchise has a keen eye for staging action and keeping the film moving at a steady pace; I didn’t get bored for a second.

The interesting facet of “Fast & Furious 6” is the audience’s ability to watch these characters grow over the years.  They are not the same individuals we met nearly 12 years ago; they’ve grown quite a bit. Friendships have been tested, relationships have fallen, families have been ripped apart and families have been formed.  The action-flick will not generate Oscars for its work, but it’s perhaps the most fun I’ve had at the movies this summer.

Don’t be so quick to leave the theater after the credits begin to roll, there is post-credits scene that sets up the next installment for the franchise “Fast & Furious 7” which was recently announced a few weeks ago.  Audiences may be surprised by the baddie that Dominic and his crew will face next time around.  I also wonder if we’ll be seeing Ms. Mendez turn up in the next picture, as she was notably MIA in this installment!

By LaDale Anderson