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Gran Toretto 

The Power and the Glory of Fast & Furious 6

There are going to be jokes about Fast & Furious 6 that go like this: "But if I didn't see Fast Five, will I be able to follow the plot?" Haha, good one! Also: No, you won't, idiot. Because Furious 6 relishes in the kind of meticulous soap opera usually only seen on Mad Men or in Marvel movies. If there were a diagram that delineates all 684 minutes of the Fast & Furious saga, it would be a thing of beauty.

Here's something else beautiful: While Furious 6 boasts an admirably earnest commitment to street races, heists and romances of the past, it also knows exactly why people are still going to these things: AWESOME CAR CHASES! Explosions! Women dancing in slow motion and not very much clothing! Vin Diesel! The Rock! Ludacris, and Tyrese Gibson, and Michelle Rodriguez! MMA fighter Gina Carano is in this one too! And yes, so's Paul Walker, but he isn't as charming as the Rock, or as funny as Ludacris, or as badass as Gina Carano.

This time, the Fast & Furious family—and they are a family, as evidenced by the fact "family" is said 4,000 times during the movie, mostly by Dom Toretto (Diesel), usually looking like he's going to cry when he says it—are reunited to find a member they thought they'd lost, Letty (Rodriguez). Except Letty, who has amnesia, is in league with London thieves! "The crew we're after hit like thunder and disappear like smoke," growls Special Agent Luke Hobbs (the Rock).

Clearly, these problems can only be solved with car chases—though, in keeping with the series' increasingly grandiose, increasingly self-aware aims, it's not long until a supercharged tank, a cargo plane, and the Rock literally throwing people into ceilings come into play. Through it all, director Justin Lin twists logic, plot, physics and geography like pipe cleaners. His resultant—and super awesome—art project conveys not one but two life-affirming messages: (1) family is very important, and (2) just because you're on a plane doesn't mean a car can't hit you.

Highly recommended.

Fast & furious 6

Director: Justin Lin

Opens Fri May 24

Various Theaters

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